The recent proposal from the Union ministry of steel to extend the tenure of the current CMD of National Mineral Development Corporation, Sumit Deb, has brought attention to the issue of extension of service for incumbents at the board level in central public service enterprises. While the proposal seeks an extension of one year beyond Mr Deb’s retirement date, the ministry of personnel has raised concerns about the legality and appropriateness of such an extension.
Sources have informed DKB that the ministry of personnel has noted, rules generally do not permit extension in service, the exception being board-level incumbents of sick CPSEs who contributed exceptionally well to the turnaround of that CPSE. Since NMDC is not a sick CPSE, the proposal raises questions about the justification for an extension in Mr Deb’s case. Concern has been expressed about the delay in advertising the vacancy to fill the post of CMD for NMDC.
Could the proposed extension for Mr Deb be an attempt to circumvent the selection process? The view of the personnel ministry seems to hint at this, with the steel ministry’s failure to follow the prescribed timeline approved by the appointments committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for advertising and filling up the vacancy being seen as particularly troubling.
The ball is now back in the court of the steel ministry. It has one-and-a-half months left before Mr Deb retires as NMDC CMD.
Ex-babus in Karnataka eye political careers
Retired bureaucrats in India have long tried their luck in politics, and this trend appears to continue in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections. It is not surprising that many retired babus are seeking tickets from all major political parties, including the BJP, Congress and AAP.
Sources have informed DKB that former IPS officer Bhaskar Rao has dumped the khaki and embraced khadi by joining the Aam Aadmi Party, andis likely to contest from the Basavanagudi constituency. Retired information commissioner and IRS officer Sudham Das, too, has resigned and is seeking a Congress ticket from the Nelamangala constituency. Interestingly, his predecessor L. Krishnamurthy is also aspiring for a ticket from the same constituency. There are many more serving babus who are knocking at the doors of major political parties and are ready to resign from the service once the party ticket is confirmed.
Still, not every babu who was successful in the administrative world has been able to translate their success into politics. While some retired babus have been successful in their post-retirement political careers, many others have failed to make a mark. Political success requires more than administrative experience; a strong political acumen and the ability to connect with voters are equally important. Ambitious babus itching to become netas will need to remember this before taking the plunge.
Politics behind WB Raj Bhavan’s removal of senior IAS officer
As predicted by some babu watchers, West Bengal governor C.V. Ananda Bose has relieved his principal secretary Nandini Chakravorty of her duties. The state’s governors have typically formed their own team of babus. Notably, former West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar (elevated to Vice-President of India) whose tenure was marred by multiple clashes with the Mamata Banerjee government over a variety of issues had similarly assembled a team of his choice at Raj Bhavan.
Sources have informed DKB that the state unit of the BJP had been pressing Mr Ananda Bose for Ms Chakravorty’s removal and alleged that the senior babu was “misleading” the governor and making him go soft on the state government. Mamata has, so far, enjoyed cordial ties with Mr Ananda Bose, but this could change if she believes that the BJP is trying to control activities at the Raj Bhavan. A fresh outbreak of hostilities is not unexpected, given the recent history of the TMC government and the state’s governors, and Ms Chakravorty’s removal from the governor’s office could become the most likely trigger.
Ms Chakravorty, a 1994-batch IAS officer, was appointed as principal secretary to governor La. Ganesan in August last year and retained the post when Mr Ananda Bose replaced him as governor. Before being appointed as the principal secretary to the governor, Ms Nandini Chakravorty was looking after the state's non-conventional and renewable energy sources department.