Mrs R. Borah inches towards Oil India CMD seat

Vol 18, PW 19 (21 May 15) People & Policy

Rupshikha Saikia Borah is inching closer to becoming the first woman to head a state-owned upstream oil company in India.

Borah, selected on February 10 to become the next head of Oil India, is likely to get her appointment letter well in time to replace SK Srivastava when he retires on June 30. “We sent Borah’s file to the DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training) on May 14 after it was approved by the oil minister (Dharmendra Pradhan),” confirms a ministry source.

From the DoPT, Borah’s file will travel to the cabinet secretary and home ministry before it reaches the PMO for final approval. Borah secured anti-corruption clearance from the CVC end-April.

Some wonder at Borah’s selection because of her finance background. Oil India, they say, needs an experienced exploration person at the helm to revive flagging production which was just 3.502m t/y in 2013-14 against 3.701m t/y in 2012-13.

Others believe Borah’s appointment is politically motivated as she is the only candidate from Assam and the wife of former chairman NM Borah. “Politically the BJP can't afford to bring in a non-Assamese candidate,” says a source.

“Assamese are sensitive about this.” He reminds us the previous government faced criticism for appointing Srivastava as chairman.

Oil India’s offices in Assam were hit by protests when Srivastava, from Lucknow, took charge as CMD on May 1, 2012.