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    October 2013

Who is responsible for headless PSUs?


The Central Vigilance Commission has come under criticism for its “lackadaisical attitude” in dealing with corruption cases. Delay on the part of the anti-graft watchdog in giving vigilance clearance is posing difficulties in top appointments in many PSUs. One such example is the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), which has been headless since December 2011. In the case of many PSUs, the charge of CMDs has been given to Joint Secretaries. So the official of the Ministry supposed to monitor the functioning of a PSU becomes part of the PSU itself, which is a conflict of interest. It is surprising that despite the presence of the PESB and other mechanisms available to the Government for selecting CMDs, Central Public Sector Enterprises continue to work without regular heads for months, and in many cases years. The trend points fingers at vested interests within the Government who want to keep CPSEs headless. In this BT issue, we present an in-depth analysis of the situation. It is high time the CVC developed a mechanism and prioritise its workload so that important PSU files get clearance in a time-bound manner. Also in this issue, our Cover Story scans the role of  Jignesh Shah, the man who brought revolutionary changes in Indias commodity derivatives market. Shah is now in the line of fire because of the Rs 5,400-crore payment crisis at the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL).  Amit Khare, the whistleblower of the multi-crore fodder scam, is the BT Bureaucrat of the Month. He is currently a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Khare, a Bihar cadre IAS officer of the 1985 batch, was the Deputy Commissioner of West Singhbhum District when he stumbled upon the scam in 1996 during a routine follow-up of the orders of then Additional Finance Commissioner S Vijay Raghvan who wanted the DMs to keep an eye on the withdrawal of money from the District Treasury.  Also, the BT editorial team has chosen Prakash Chand, Executive Director of the Heavy Electrical Equipment Plant of  Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Haridwar, as the Technocrat of the month. Chand had initiated several measures to tide over the crisis that had hit the state-run electrical equipment major. Under his leadership, BHEL Haridwar has achieved the highest ever turnover of Rs 6,536 crore this year, up by 20 per cent in comparison to the previous year. The profit before tax (PBT) also rose to an all-time high of Rs 930 crore, up by 25 per cent.  

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