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  Opinion   Columnists  20 Dec 2022  Dilip Cherian | Sidelined after pandemic, former Mumbai babu will now get new role

Dilip Cherian | Sidelined after pandemic, former Mumbai babu will now get new role

Love them, hate them ignore them at national peril, is the babu guarantee and Dilip’s belief. Share significant babu escapades dilipcherian@hotmail.com
Published : Dec 21, 2022, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Dec 21, 2022, 12:00 am IST

Sources say that it seems that the retired babu’s rehabilitation is well underway

Former Mumbai municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. (Photo: ANI)
 Former Mumbai municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. (Photo: ANI)

Retired 1985-batch IAS officer and former Mumbai municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi who, during the worst months of the coronavirus pandemic, led the civic body’s efforts to create Covid treatment facilities, is reportedly being brought back as the new CEO of the Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA), which is the state’s equivalent of the Niti Aayog. The buzz is that chief minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis both are favouring Mr Pardeshi’s candidature. While the Niti Aayog has the Prime Minister as its head, MITRA will have the chief minister as its head.

Mr Pardeshi had reportedly fallen out with his seniors during his stint as municipal commissioner and transferred abruptly as additional chief secretary (urban development) but he refused to join. Instead, the babu chose a deputation to the UN. After losing his chance to become the state chief secretary in February last year, he voluntarily resigned from the service and was then brought in as a member (administration) of the National Capacity Building Commission.

Sources say that it seems that the retired babu’s rehabilitation is well underway.

Punjab-Haryana turf war embroils UT administrator

The sudden repatriation of Punjab cadre IPS officer K.S. Chahal and his replacement by Haryana cadre IPS officer Manisha Chaudhary has triggered a Punjab vs Haryana turf battle. When Punjab governor and Chandigarh administrator Banwari Lal Purohit appointed Ms Chaudhary, objections from Punjab were expected given that in the existing administrative arrangements in Chandigarh where the posts of the home secretary and deputy commissioner were earmarked for Haryana cadre officers while finance secretary and SSP posts were allotted for Punjab cadre officers. Appointing Ms Chaudhary to a post earmarked for Punjab naturally led to a puzzled reaction. Had Mr Chahal been replaced by a Punjab cadre officer, perhaps it would have been seen as another regular reshuffle. But Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann jumped into the fray, accusing the action as “provocative” and breaking a decades-old arrangement between Punjab and Haryana.

Mr Mann’s accusation, sources have informed DKB, has forced the governor to clarify that Mr Chahal’s repatriation was due to the babu’s alleged misconduct and with the Punjab chief secretary V.K. Janjua well in the loop. But Mr Mann is not letting go. Sources say that the AAP-ruled Punjab government has not only protested to the governor but is also sending a panel of three IPS officers for the governor to choose from for the Chandigarh SSP post. Will Mr Mann prevail with these aggressive tactics?


Delays in PSU appointments causing concern

As reported earlier in this column, after a long delay that has not been sufficiently explained, the government recently appointed Arun Kumar Singh, the former CMD of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) as the new chairperson of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). So far, so good. But there are still as many as 72 posts of CMD, MD and whole-time directors lying vacant in PSUs still. This is an alarming number of key vacancies that ideally should not be allowed to stay open for long.

If we accept minister of state for finance Dr Bhagwat Krishnarao Karao’s statement in Parliament that the selection process is continuous and ongoing, it does raise questions about the efficacy of the selection process which regularly delays these appointments. Those in the know are saying that the absence of full-time leadership in key PSUs is hurting the economy.

Ironically, government ministers are often heard deploring the lack of good leadership in these companies without acknowledging that perhaps the solution lies in studying the practice of top appointments in some key sectors such as power and energy. Various ministries have different stipulations for these posts. The finance ministry, for one, has decided that the chairperson of a state-owned company should have a five-year tenure, extendable to 10 years, for the 12 state-owned banks. The petroleum and natural gas ministry has settled for a three-year term for the companies under its purview, while the Power Ministry apparently is yet to take a call.

These fundamental decisions, besides the selection process itself, need to be sorted quickly to avoid these unwanted delays in key top PSU appointments.


Tags: eknath shinde, niti aayog, praveen pardeshi, coronavirus pandemic