Some eddy currents surround the appointment of dark-horse Shashi Shekhar Vempati as the new CEO of Prasar Bharati.
To speed up investigation of corruption cases involving government officials, the Centre has changed a 50-year-old rule and set a deadline of six months to complete the probe. An extension for a period not exceeding six months at a time may be allowed for any good and sufficient reasons to be recorded in writing by the disciplinary authority. It’s not surprising to learn that until now there was no time frame to complete an inquiry. According to a study conducted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) last year, the average time taken by the administrative authorities in finalisation of disciplinary proceedings is more than two years, the maximum time taken in a particular case was eight years and at least in 22 per cent cases the inquiry took more than two years.
This amendment of rules comes after the CVC noted that administrative authorities are not adhering to the time-schedule prescribed for completion of disciplinary proceedings. The new rules are applicable to all category of employees excluding those in all-India services — Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) — and a few other categories of officers.
Non-IAS CEO for Prasar Bharati
Some eddy currents surround the appointment of dark-horse Shashi Shekhar Vempati as the new CEO of Prasar Bharati. Though his name was approved by a three-member committee chaired by the vice-president of India M. Hamid Ansari, and includes the chairman and secretary of the Prasar Bharati Board, whispers in government corridors seem to suggest that some elements of “proper procedure” were not followed. Apparently, the “proper” procedure merely meant informing the current incumbent Rajeev Singh about his successor and waiting until he returned from an official tour.
However, it’s just possible that the reason for the controversy could be the fact that Mr Vempati, a technocrat, does not belong to the IAS club. While he may get some satisfaction from being the first non-IAS officer to become CEO of Prasar Bharati, the “heaven-born” feel that another plum position has been wrested from them. In the days of the Modi sarkar, the government has been freer about appointing non-IAS officers in key positions. This is just another one and will be worth keeping an eye on.
New rules for IPS promotions
With the aim of improving policing, the Union home ministry has finalised a proposal for IPS officers, linking promotions to senior positions to specialisation in one domain. Under the proposal, IPS officers will have to undergo training in one of the areas, such as counterinsurgency, anti-terrorism and cyber crime, before being promoted as deputy-inspector-general (DIG), inspector-general (IG) and additional-director-general (ADG). The area of specialisation will be listed in officers’ performance appraisal reports.
The proposal has recently been sent to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which reports to the Prime Minister’s Office, for the final nod.
Apparently, the proposal to link IPS promotions to domain expertise was initially discussed in November last year at an annual conference of top officers in Hyderabad, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh in attendance. The IPS Association has welcomed the move but is hoping that officers will be given freedom to choose a domain of training based on their interest. Apparently, the government is considering a similar proposal for other all-India services too. This should put an end to the generalist versus specialist debate that has been going on in the government.