Expect major PESB shake-up by K. Srinivas

Vol 20, PW 18 (01 Jun 17) People & Policy

Expect major changes at the government's slow-moving PESB recruitment arm following the appointment of Gujarat bureaucrat and former Narendra Modi aide K.

Srinivas to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) as joint secretary on May 18. It's believed Srinivas - who received his five-year appointment letter on May 1 - was selected because of his successful overhaul of the Gujarat state government's general administration department from 2012 to 2015.

He impressed Modi by introducing greater transparency into the opaque promotion process by introducing a 10-year recruitment plan to ensure vacancies are filled promptly, not on an ad hoc basis as often happens, with officials scrambling to select candidates after somebody retires. One of Srinivas's first priorities will be to ensure the PESB selects a new ONGC chairman in time before DK Sarraf retires on September 30, 2017.

Srinivas, we hear, would never have tolerated the current situation where vacancies for high-level PSU positions are left unfilled for months. Srinivas has also been associated with some of Modi's more far-fetched ventures: like the statue of unity (vanity) project that will see a huge unnecessary monument to Gujarat-born independence leader Vallabhai Patel constructed on an island facing the Narmada dam for an arguably wasteful Rs2989cr ($460m); or the GIFT city project that will supposedly see the construction of a high-tech business district between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

Most recently Srinivas was principal secretary in the Gujarat revenue department.