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  Opinion   Columnists  13 Sep 2023  Dilip Cherian | Khattar’s whiplash: U-turn on appointment raises eyebrows

Dilip Cherian | Khattar’s whiplash: U-turn on appointment raises eyebrows

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Published : Sep 14, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Sep 14, 2023, 12:05 am IST

The recent abrupt reversal of a key appointment by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar raises questions about its decision-making process

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Photo: PTI)
 Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Photo: PTI)

Consistency in government decisions is a fundamental principle of responsible governance. Each decision of the government is presupposed to have been taken after careful consideration and thereby carries significant weight. However, the recent abrupt reversal of a key appointment by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar raises questions about its decision-making process.

The state government officially announced the appointment of Sudhir Rajpal as additional chief secretary for several critical departments, including home, jail, criminal investigation and administration of justice. But within a few hours, it reversed the order and issued a new order appointing Mr Rajpal as additional chief secretary of the school education department and cooperation department. Another IAS officer T.V.S.N. Prasad assumed the role of ACS for home.

Observers have noted that the Haryana government has been besieged by a litany of administrative challenges, which conceivably may have prompted the reversal of Mr Rajpal’s appointment. This sudden reversal has left many wondering about the underlying reasons, inevitably fuelling suspicions of political manoeuvring. It’s essential for Mr Khattar to maintain credibility and trust, and such swift reversals can end up eroding that trust, especially in the fast-nearing election season.

Sherpas who scaled G-20 summit

The recently concluded G-20 summit in New Delhi will be remembered as a watershed moment in India’s diplomatic victory, with the unanimous adoption of the Delhi Declaration, said to be the first time that a G-20 meeting has concluded with all members on the same page. Among the key figures who played a pivotal role in this, Amitabh Kant, India’s G-20 sherpa stands out as the true orchestrator of diplomatic excellence. His impressive track record as a civil servant and Niti Aayog top honcho made him the ideal candidate to represent India’s interests and ensure a cohesive strategy, which he delivered splendidly.

Obviously, this achievement is attributable not only to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar but also to several dedicated babus, as Mr Kant himself has noted. A formidable coalition of IAS, IFS and IIS officials worked through more than 200 hours of relentless negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings and 15 draft revisions towards a common goal. Besides Mr Kant, there were former foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and officers like Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, Eenam Gambhir, Ashish Kumar Sinha, Lily Pandeya and Abhay Thakur, among others.

As India continues to assert its role on the global stage, it will be officials such as Mr Kant whose ability to harness bureaucratic talent, navigate complex geopolitics and address global security concerns will determine the path to the future. These sherpas successfully scaled the peak of Indian diplomacy.

PESB revives board-level selection drive

After a month-long lull, the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has resumed the selection interviews for board-level positions in various Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). The last recommendation PESB made for a board-level position was that of director (technical) at Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers on August 9, 2023.

According to sources, interviews slated for this month include the position of director (R&D) in Indian Oil, CMD in Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., and CMD of Power Grid Corporation (PGCIL). This last appointment is significant as the current chief, K. Sreekant, is retiring on December 31, 2023.

August saw only three selection interviews for board-level positions, marking the lowest number of selections this year. This lull was an anomaly in a year that otherwise witnessed a consistent flow of leadership selections. In all, PESB has held 73 selection interviews for board-level positions this year, with the highest numbers in February (13) and March (14), followed closely by April (9), May and June (10 each). In contrast, January had six, while August had the lowest three selection interviews.

As the selection process gains momentum once again, it is hoped that this is a sign of something more than a routine administrative process.

Tags: cm manohar lal khattar, dilip cherian, g20 summit in india