Shorter tenures at DGH won't work, says ministry

Vol 17, PW 5 (03 Oct 13) People & Policy

You can't stop DGH officers bending the rules - not even by limiting their tenure to just five years, according to a senior oil ministry source responding to suggestions in the last issue of PETROWATCH that internal reforms could improve the DGH’s performance before new boss BN Talukdar takes charge.

The DGH, which provides key technical advice and support to the oil ministry, is manned by staff from mainly state-owned ONGC and Oil India. “Unlike the civil service the DGH is a technical organisation that needs ‘institutional memory’," says our ministry source.

"Throwing people out after a fixed tenure will create a total disconnect and ‘institutional memory’ will be killed.” He adds that if long tenures promote corruption then managers can turn to vigilance officers within their company, trained to root out corruption.

“Companies aren't helpless individuals like you or I," he says. "If they choose not to complain it speaks volumes about their own ethics.

” One disadvantage of shorter terms for DGH workers is they would lack experience and be more prone to manipulation. "Unscrupulous contractors and agents will have a field day,” he adds.

Large contractors and oil companies must also take responsibility for trying to unduly influence decision making and seek changes to the PSC. "Those with direct access to the oil minister and the PMO already hound ministry bureaucrats," we hear.

"Now they want to target the DGH also.”