Fast learner Aiyar impresses PSU bosses in meeting

Vol 8, PW 5 (02 Jun 04) People & Policy

Mani Shankar Aiyar is an unknown quantity in industry circles.

On his first day in office he didnt restrict himself to meetings with senior ministry officials. Eager to flaunt his common touch credentials, he asked to meet all employees, down to the drivers of oil ministry cars.

A source that met Aiyar returned with a good impression. He comes across as a very suave and articulate person, he said.

He communicates well and is also a listener. He doesnt seem to have any pre-set agenda.

Adds our source: It feels good to work with somebody who has no pre-conceived notions. The transition from Naik to Aiyar is happening smoothly.

Aiyars passion for local self-government extends to state-owned oil companies. This became clear on 24th May during his first meeting with the chairmen and managing directors of Indian state oil companies.

He said he wanted to give us more autonomy, one chairman tells us. That was music to our ears.

Adds another. This was our first meeting with him.

He seems to be a fast learner. During the interaction he made a couple of very good points.

With his time divided between the oil portfolio and the new Panchayati Raj portfolio, Aiyar will be holding charge of two demanding ministries but will work from one office in Shastri Bhawan. To get familiar with the oil sector, he is hearing business presentations from oil companies under his charge.

Aiyar will carry forward much unfinished work from his predecessor. The most important is to enact the long-pending Petroleum Regulatory Board Bill.

Also pending is finalisation of the draft national policy on gas pipelines. Aiyar must also deal with the issue of domestic gas prices, which were to be deregulated in October last year.

Hell also oversee NELP-IV (the next exploration licensing round), which was held up because of elections.