B.K Chaturvedi has much to learn in the oil ministry

Vol 6, PW 3 (10 Apr 02) People & Policy

GET USED to a new face in the oil ministry: B.

K Chaturvedi, the former human resources development secretary, has been appointed secretary - the sixth in four years. He has no experience in the oil sector, but is known as "quiet, well-educated, with a propensity to read up a lot." Within Shastri Bhawan, there's little excitement over his appointment, mainly because of his inexperience and the fact that he's the latest in a long line of secretaries parachuted into the job, only to leave when they have settled in.

His predecessor Vijayendra Kaul held the job for nine months before being promoted to the coveted job of Comptroller and Auditor General of India. "The government is making a mockery of the oil ministry," reveals an industry source.

"Why don't they change Ram Naik instead He has such rigid ideas against privatisation." Chaturvedi was a surprise appointment: S.B Mohapatra, textiles secretary was widely expected to get the job because of his decades-old ties with prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

But Chaturvedi's previous boss, human resources development minister and top BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi lobbied in his favour. "Chaturvedi and Joshi both belong to Uttar Pradesh," adds an insider.

"He worked with Joshi in three departments but the oil ministry job is more glamorous and Joshi wanted to reward him." An industry source sarcastically points out: "Now all the oil PSU chiefs will sit around him and begin educating him about the difference between SKO and HSD. By the time he gets a hang of the job he will be pushed out."Born on 9th July 1944, Chaturvedi joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1966 from Uttar Pradesh and is due to retire in July 2004.

Before human resources, he held posts in the finance and commerce ministries.