Srinivasan transfer rumours gaining ground once again

Vol 11, PW 2 (31 May 07) People & Policy

Rumours are again swirling around about the imminent transfer of oil secretary MS Srinivasan, the most powerful bureaucrat in the Indian oil industry.

“A decision is likely to be taken very soon,â€‌ says a well-placed source. “You will not know where he is going or who is going to replace him until the last minute.

â€‌ Uncertainty over Srinivasan’s future is causing concern among companies who need his approval on critical project files. “Our file is with Srinivasan,â€‌ says one foreign operator.

“But we’ve heard he’s about to move to the finance ministry so we’re not sure when it will be approved.â€‌ Opinion is divided over whether Srinivasan will become revenue secretary, or take over as finance secretary, a more prestigious post.

PETROWATCH first reported speculation about Srinivasan’s imminent transfer in February when rumours surfaced that he would replace Ashok Jha as finance secretary, when Jha retired on 31st March. A source in the finance ministry confirms: “The position of finance secretary is still vacant.

â€‌ Another source tells us finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram wants Srinivasan as finance secretary but that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prefers HC Gupta, secretary in the coal ministry. Gupta and Srinivasan are today at loggerheads over control of the country’s CBM resources.

Is it the oil ministry or the coal ministry Interestingly, Gupta was joint secretary marketing in the oil ministry from 1991 to 1996. Another name mentioned as a possible future finance secretary is Dr.

Subba Rao, whose main job is secretary in the department of economic affairs but who holds additional charge as revenue secretary following the announcement that KM Chandrasekhar, who was revenue secretary till now, will replace BK Chaturvedi as cabinet secretary.