Amar Nath heads for Houston

Vol 19, PW 22 (14 Jul 16) News in Brief

Amar Nath, the oil ministry's newly appointed joint secretary in charge of exploration, has gone on his first official foreign trip.

On July 13, Nath, who took charge on June 1, left for Houston to attend the roadshow to promote the Discovered Small Fields bidding round scheduled for July 14 and 15. "Nath will also go to Calgary for the roadshow on July 18 and 19," we hear.

Oil ministry sources say Nath's appointment is political: a reward for standing up to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi in his last post as principal secretary in the Delhi state government's health department. Nath went on a two-month 'protest leave' in February 2016 following disagreements with Delhi's health minister Satyendra Kumar Jain.

This will have pleased Narendra Modi whose relationship with Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal is at best frosty. An oil ministry source says it's too early to comment on Nath's personality.

"Give him time to settle in," he says. Nath joined the IAS in 1994.