U-Turn: Politicians to hold Chairman’s posts in Tea, Coffee, Rubber & Tobaco Boards  

Coffee Board, Rubber Board, Tea Board, Tobaco Board, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministry of Commerce, Political Posts
In February 2015, the NaMo administration set an example by merging the posts of Chairman & MD in ITDC in line with his poll promise of ‘minimum Government and maximum governance’. It was contrary to UPA’s approach which used many posts fo political purposes. In June 2012 UPA-II had split the post of CMD into two just to accommodate Shankar Sinh Vaghela as ITDC Chairman. The move was designed for keeping Vaghela away from the Gujarat assembly elections.
However, times change, and so the ways of governments. Indianmandarins has reliably learnt that the Govt make a U-Turn on NaMo’s poll promise. The Union Ministry of Commerce has is believed to have decided to fill top posts in Tea Board, Coffee Board, Rubber Board, Silk, and Tobacco Board with political persons as Chairmen. Until now these boards are headed by  Joint Secretary rank officers but under a new scheme, Chairmen (political persons or politician or political appointees) will lead the board whereas a Joint Secretary rank officer will function as ED – the executive head of the board.
Contrary to these five boards, APEDA and MPEDA will continue to enjoy the earlier status of having Jt Secretary rank officers as Chairmen.
Currently, A Ajith Kumar (IAS:1994:KL) is heading the Rubber Board as Chairman, Dr. M K Shanmuga Sundaram (IAS) is the Chairman & CEO of Coffee Board since May 2016 whereas Tea Board and Tobacco Board is waiting to find a regular Chairman. In all likelihood, the Chairman posts in rest of the boards, except APEDA & MPEDA, will shortly be filled with political appointees. Though the Govt had made an indication of political appointments in boards by appointing K M Hanumantharayappa as Chairman of the Central Silk Board in August this year. It was then perceived as an exception but what used to be exception will now become a norm.
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