Wednesday, December 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Follow guidelines, PM tells ministers
Appointment of top-level PSU management
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
Taking exception to certain Union Ministers seeking to sidestep definitive rules in appointment to public sector undertakings, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has impressed upon all his ministerial colleagues to “strictly comply with relevant guidelines and instructions.”

Clearly, Mr Vajpayee is drawing pointed attention to instances of some Cabinet ministers giving a go-by to the established process of empanelling names and going through the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for top-level management appointments.

There is an element of disquiet in the higher echelons of the political leadership that certain ministers, in gross violation of the guidelines, had gone ahead with making important top-level appointments in PSUs under their charge. This has led to an avoidable controversy and the person so appointed in an ad hoc manner has had to make an ignominious exit.

In an effort to rein in ministers seeking to use their discretionary powers, Mr Vajpayee has written a letter to all his ministerial colleagues, imploring them to desist from making such irregular appointments.

The Prime Minister said in his communication of December 5 that “if in very exceptional circumstances, any deviations are required, prior approval of the competent authority is obtained following the procedure prescribed for the purpose. While seeking your cooperation for ensuring compliance, I am also advising the Cabinet Secretary to closely monitor and bring instances of infringement and non-compliance to my notice,” Mr Vajpayee observed.

He said during the recent past, “some instances of violation and non-compliance of policy guidelines and instructions have come to my notice. Needless to stress, violations include delays in compliance, whether willful or otherwise, are avoidable as they tend to undermine the functional autonomy of the undertakings and ultimately lead to their inefficient management detrimental to the economy of the country. Besides, such aberrations attract judicial intervention and adverse publicity to the government as a whole.”

He stressed that based on the recommendations of the Committee on Public Undertakings and several expert committees, the Central Government had evolved policy guidelines for ensuring proper functioning of the public sector enterprises.

These guidelines, the Prime Minister said, included instructions on the structure and composition of the PSEs Board of Directors and matters relating to the selection, appointment and service conditions of the top management personnel. These instructions, issued with the approval of the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) by the Department of Personnel and Department of Public Enterprises, are binding on the administrative ministries and PSUs, Mr Vajpayee added in his letter.

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