UDCO, the premier government housing financing corporation, has been without a regular chairman and managing director since September 2019, when Dr M Ravi Kanth resigned from the IAS after an extended tenure. Strangely, the government has been content with temporary CMDs by appointing assorted IAS officers from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which controls HUDCO.
Three ad hoc CMDs were appointed to keep the corporation ticking but this cannot be mistaken for steering it past the many challenges that it faces. They included the corporation’s Director for Corporate Planning, M Nagaraj, Shiv Das Meena and Kamran Rizvi, both additional secretaries at the ministry.
The government’s inability to fill the position has, not surprisingly, given rise to rumours and conspiracy theories with some babus convinced that the babus in the ministry are deliberately delaying the appointment, although no one is willing to stick their neck out and go beyond the speculation.
Sources say that the leaderless corporation has performed poorly in the past year despite its IPO having been oversubscribed by 80 times, certainly a first for a public sector company. It is widely believed that it could have built on investor confidence but has chosen to forego its gains for reasons no one seems to know.
A big win for the RS cadre
Dr Parasaram PK Ramacharyu is the first officer of the Rajya Sabha cadre to be appointed as the Secretary-General of the Upper House of Parliament. He succeeds Deepak Verma, who was an IAS officer as were those that preceded him.
This is good news for the RS cadre officers for they had long resigned themselves to be led by the mighty “heaven-born”. But curiously Ramacharyu’s appointment letter does not define his tenure. This appointment notification issued by the office of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha states that the appointment is on a contractual basis “until further orders”, leaving it open-ended. Babus are wondering whether this implies that Ramacharyu will continue in the post so long as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu remains the chairman of the Rajya Sabha? Or is the Modi sarkar trying to wrest another post from the tight clutches of the IAS?
DKB has learnt that Ramacharyu’s candidature was helped immensely by the backing of the Vice President who, reportedly, refused to consider any other person for the post. Apparently, some in the government were keen to retain Desh Deepak for another term, but Naidu managed to prevail.
So while the elevation of a Rajya Sabha cadre officer to the top post is a historic step, the government could do well to clarify doubts about the length of his tenure.
Hunt on for new ED chief
A belief is gaining ground within some babu circles in Dilli that the successor to the outgoing chief of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) SK Mishra will not be an IAS officer but someone from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) or even the Indian Police Service (IPS). But, as we have come to know, decisions on such key appointments are usually made by the PMO+1, and that combo may spring a surprise. So watch this space for updates.
SK Mishra is slated to retire in mid-November and, for once, the government has not left the appointment until the last minute and is visibly and actively scouting for his replacement. Some names are already being talked about as likely contenders for the top post in ED. Among them is senior IRS officer Seemanchal Das, for whom, it is pointed out that a post of Principal Special Director was created within ED, courtesy of the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He is said to enjoy the confidence of those who matter in the government.
But there are others too in the fray including Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer and currently Special Director in CBI. He briefly officiated as CBI chief. SM Sahai of the UT (formerly of J&K) cadre is also said to be a frontrunner. Another IRS officer Balesh Kumar is now said to be out of the running since he has been appointed as a Member of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, but his hat may still be in the ring, observers note.
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