The position of member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been vacant since June this year, after the retirement of former CBI director P.C. Sharma. But suddenly babudom is abuzz with murmurs that the just retired CBI director A.P. Singh is likely to be appointed to the post. However, observers say that Singh is not the only contender; there are suddenly other heavyweights too in the fray. So far, the Government has trimmed the list of original 23 contenders down to seven. The final choice will be known once the Union Home Ministry has processed the shortlist.
While Singh’s name is being mentioned since he just retired, sources say, former Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, former Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta, former Land Resources Secretary Anita Chaudhary, former NHRC Secretary General Rajiv Sharma and Special Director in CBI Vineet Gupta have strong claims. It remains to be seen who the appointment committee comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Sushil Shinde, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari decides to go for. BJP may show some resistance regarding the appointment of Gupta since he has been associated with the NHRC in the past. Another contender who may have thin chances is former Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta since the Baba Ramdev controversy and lathicharge happened under his administration.
Blurring the lines
Often it is bureaucrats themselves who get
so tangled in their rules and systems that they forget some necessary distinctions, especially when it comes to hierarchies. Apparently police officers in Bihar were taken aback when the Director General of Police Abhayanand was addressed as Commissioner by Prashant Nikam, a rather senior ranked IAS officer from the Union Home Ministry. Clearly the babu forgot that Bihar does not have the commissionerate system!
Unfortunately for Nikam, he had marked his letter also to the State Chief Secretary Ashok Sinha and Home Secretary Amir Subhani. But rather than dismiss it as a trifling oversight on part of the babu, the Bihar Government has reportedly taken up issue with the Centre!
Ray of hope?
Many babu-watchers bemoan the obvious shortage of talent to head large public sector undertakings. Why else would the Government have C.S. Verma, Chairman of Steel Authority of India also head National Mineral Development Corporation? Votaries of the private sector never tire of arguing that the Government needs to open the doors to private sector honchos. And now it seems there is a sliver of hope.
The Government has decided to allow private sector CEOs to apply for the post of member, Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), the organisation which selects the top management at PSUs. So far, this position has been the domain of the IAS. Observers believe that this is just the first step towards opening up top PSU positions for applicants from the private sector. But the question is whether private sector honchos are actually interested in sarkari naukri?