EXCLUSIVE NEWS

lng-petronet-top-post-iocl-candidate-leads-the-race-

LNG Petronet top post: IOCL candidate leads the race?

Indianmandarins has learned that the selection committee may interview 11 candidates on 31 October for the post of MD & CEO of LNG Petronet that fell vacant after Prabhat Singh completed his term. However, invisible hands are feared to be working to push the candidature of one particular candidate.

The eleven candidates shortlisted for the interview are S N Pandey (CPCL), Subhash Kumar (ONGC), Vivekanand (OVL), A K Garg (IGL), A K Tiwari (GAIL), ES Ranganathan (GAIL), A K Singh (IOCL), A K Jana (IGL), V K Mishra (PLL), B Roy (OIL), and Gurmeet Singh (IOCL).

Sources say that the IOCL candidate may be leading the trail as one former Chairman of IOCL is said to have put his weight behind him.

22 Oct 2020
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IFS officer takes VRS, tipped as Chairman, HPCS

Indianmandarins has reliably learned that the 1989 batch officer belonging to Indian Forest Service may be named as Chairman of the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC). The speculations started doing rounds after he moved papers seeking VRS.

If some well-placed sources are to be believed Haryana CM Manoharlal Khattar is said to be inclined to appoint Alok Verma (IFS:1989:HY)  as Chairman of Haryana Public Service Commission (HP). Presently, he is posted as Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Principal Secretary, Environment & Forest and Tourism, Govt of Haryana

22 Oct 2020
lng-petronet-top-post-iocl-candidate-leads-the-race-

LNG Petronet top post: IOCL candidate leads the race?

By IndianMandarins 22 Oct 2020

Indianmandarins has learned that the selection committee may interview 11 candidates on 31 October for the post of MD & CEO of LNG Petronet that fell vacant after Prabhat Singh completed his term. However, invisible hands are feared to be working to push the candidature of one particular candidate.

The eleven candidates shortlisted for the interview are S N Pandey (CPCL), Subhash Kumar (ONGC), Vivekanand (OVL), A K Garg (IGL), A K Tiwari (GAIL), ES Ranganathan (GAIL), A K Singh (IOCL), A K Jana (IGL), V K Mishra (PLL), B Roy (OIL), and Gurmeet Singh (IOCL).

Sources say that the IOCL candidate may be leading the trail as one former Chairman of IOCL is said to have put his weight behind him.

ifs-officer-takes-vrs-tipped-as-chairman-hpcs

IFS officer takes VRS, tipped as Chairman, HPCS

By IndianMandarins 22 Oct 2020

Indianmandarins has reliably learned that the 1989 batch officer belonging to Indian Forest Service may be named as Chairman of the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC). The speculations started doing rounds after he moved papers seeking VRS.

If some well-placed sources are to be believed Haryana CM Manoharlal Khattar is said to be inclined to appoint Alok Verma (IFS:1989:HY)  as Chairman of Haryana Public Service Commission (HP). Presently, he is posted as Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Principal Secretary, Environment & Forest and Tourism, Govt of Haryana

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RERA, unscrupulous Developers & poor-homebuyers: High on hype, low on substance?

By Vishal Duggal 18 Oct 2020

The second-largest employment generator in India after agriculture, the real estate sector has a vital role to play in the growth of the Indian economy as it contributes around 6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year. The sector embarked upon the journey of rapid transformation by embracing professional standards and evolving into an organized mode thanks to the implementation of RERA – Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016.

RERA aims to usher in ethical practices in the real estate sector, bringing immense relief to millions of property buyers who are largely taken for a ride by unscrupulous developers. It can be described as a crucial reform measure in the hitherto unorganized real estate sector as it establishes a Real Estate Regulatory Authority that has jurisdiction over both residential and commercial real estate transactions.

RERA claims to protect the interests of consumers by promoting transparency, fair play, and accountability in real estate transactions. With the targeted execution of projects and a uniform regulatory environment for speedy adjudication of disputes, it is supposed to pave the way for the sustained growth of the real estate sector.

Has RERA brought much-needed transparency or simply added to bureaucratic layers over the past four years?

What looks definite is the market sentiment and the faith of homebuyers is still tragically low. The introduction of the RERA, along with GST, did try to improve the situation. However, buying a property still turns out to be a nightmarish experience for consumers, given the ambiguities and complexities surrounding the real estate sector and ineffective implementation of the regulation. More often than not, it is found that a real estate consumer lands into trouble while buying a property, be it for end-use or investment purpose.

As the process of urbanization and industrial growth gains momentum necessitating the availability of real estate on a big scale, the very process of property purchase has become a highly contentious issue, involving development authorities, real estate companies, and property buyers in protracted legal battles.

Eventually, the end-users are taking the final hit because they invest their hard-earned money, apart from taking loans. They have to pay their current rental, besides the EMI against the loans borrowed, which add to their trauma. With the elusive promise of delivery, non-adherence of any time frame on completion of construction, insufficient details available on the track record of the developer, the real estate investment often turns into a non-performing asset.

Going by the increasing incidents in which home-buyers of real estate today have had no way out but to repeatedly knock on the doors of the judiciary, one can imagine the extent to which people have been exploited by developers.

Buyers put their life savings into buying a house but its possession turns out to be a distant dream. The allurement to make more on devious grounds has led us to the juncture wherein a majority of developers are looked upon with suspicion. A lot of effort will have to be put in to clear the pond which can commence only after RERA orders are implemented in letter and spirit, which, sadly, does not prevail on the ground. Clearly, as proof of the pudding lies in the eating, the real impact of RERA lies in its execution on which point it has not fared well across the country. RERA has, by and large, failed to ensure that malpractices in the sector are curbed and all processes are streamlined.

Though RERA was enacted by Parliament to bring cheer to homebuyers, and pave the way for protection from unscrupulous activities, the legal tussles between property buyers and developers due to delay and default in project completion have not come down but rather increased post-RERA establishment.

Despite punitive provisions against errant developers, the Act has largely failed to ensure ethical practices, adherence to quality control measures, timely completion of projects, clear titles, and transparent documentation, strengthening the trust and confidence of investors which in turn would have resulted in market buoyancy. The law is yet to forge a bond of trust between developers and consumers and instill confidence among investors. Against the backdrop of only a few focused and dedicated players following good practices, the regulation has not helped curb manipulations and abuse of law.

The implementation of RERA has definitely been a challenge given its inability to overcome bureaucratic hurdles. In fact, RERA has not led to an image makeover of the real estate sector on the back of much-needed transparency and professionalism. Currently, the delivery of real estate projects is a mirage in India, with RERA holding an abysmal record on the front of execution of its own orders and actual deliverance of justice to property buyers.

(By Vishal Duggal)

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A case of communication gap or usual sloppiness

By M K Shukla 18 Oct 2020

A crucial gap in communication has been nagging and disturbing senior government officials.

While it was decided in February/March to turn rotting cereals and grains in the state-owned stocks and godowns into biofuel for mixing with fossil fuels to reduce the country's dependence on the latter and save on huge imports bill, the implementation of the idea and plan has been inordinately delayed because the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG) could not sort out the issue of pricing of biofuels.

It is stated that this task of fixing the biofuel prices was not a difficult one. It merely required consultations between MoP&NG officials and oil marketing PSUs executives. A few rounds of consultations would have cleared the path for devising the price-mechanism and fixing biofuel prices at a profitable level for oil marketing PSUs. This would have also opened the path for FCI to dispose of off its rotten grains to distillers. In the process, both FCI and distillers, too, would have made profits, besides employing people in these hard days.

The concern among senior officials is that such a good idea and plan was stuck in the MoP&NG for no rhyme or reason till mid-October until the top authority on 13 October expressed displeasure over the inordinate delay.  

Officials aware of the nitty-gritty of the issue are not willing to accept the 'excuse' of change of guard at the secretary level in the Ministry of P&NG. It is pointed out that in the three-month period between March-June, the issue could have been easily resolved. "No rocket science was involved".

Officials have been, therefore, wondering whether the whole episode was one of 'communication gap' or 'usual sloppiness' that marks out Indians from others.

(By M K Shukla)

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Cost of endearment turning too high for officials

By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan 15 Oct 2020

Every senior official is aware of the cost involved in endearing oneself to a particular political dispensation. And there is no reason to believe that Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh (IPS:1988:MH) has been unaware of it. He's smart. So he must have thought that he could manage the cost involved in his popularity with Congress-NCP leaders. And he did indeed succeed through his career and harvested a rich reward from his political benefactors by getting the current job at the cost of his more competent competitors. 

Everything was indeed working his ways till he stepped on the TRP landmine. And the consequent media blast has exposed his deep connection with NCP-Congress whom he gave a clean chit in the notorious Maharashtra irrigation scam involving Ajit Pawar and others and the favors conferred on his wife, Savita Singh, by famous corporate houses of Mumbai. Though she holds merely MA, LLB degree, which many millions may be holding in this country, she has done extraordinarily well for herself by being on the boards of various companies. 

In the given situation, even if the TRP investigation keeps rolling and may finally lead to nowhere as happen in most of the cases, the Mumbai Police Commissioner may be in for the harshest investigation into his personal and private domain and will face cyclonic political headwinds originating from the central government.

Will he be able to save himself is the question that must be haunting his mind now?

Precedents don't suggest that he will have smooth sailing henceforth.

One may recall how some time ago,  Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar (IPS:1991:WB) landed himself in an inextricable situation for months, had to appear before the CBI, and now finds himself languishing in some corner of West Bengal - just because of what he might have done and what he did to endear himself to the state TMC government and its pugnacious and mercurial CM Mamta Banerjee.

Rajeev Kumar's is not the sole example. Ex-Commissioner in the Central Election Commission Ashok Lavasa and Ex CBI Director Alok Varma, too, had to pay the cost when they thought that they could game the system. They were made to eat humble pie because there were too many chinks in their armor, of which they became too painfully aware when they were hit back. 

With temptations galore and lurking in every corner, officials have found it difficult to internalize the dictum that professional neutrality is the best path to an honorable career, if not a shining and enduring career that entails damage to self-respect and dignity. 

They have been aware of it since the late sixties-early seventies when the Indian polity started shedding off its proclivity for the single-party rule at the centre and the states and decisively moved towards multi-party systems in the states. While in the fifties, Kerala was the only state where a non-Congress Communist government ruled for a while, much of North India - with Bihar leading the example through Samyukta Vidhayak Dal government in the late sixties - slipped into the hands of the non-Congress formations.

As the political churning continued through the seventies, eighties, and nineties and thereafter, IAS and IPS officers found themselves overwhelmed by political realities. They found it rather difficult to stick to the path of their professional neutrality, and many of them set out into the path of endearing themselves both at their cadre states as well as at the centre. Some of them succeeded, but many found themselves left by the roadside of politics.

The advent of NDA 2.0 in 2014 and its continuity as 3.0 at the centre has made things more difficult for scavengers of the bureaucracy to eat the cake and have it too. Param Bir Singh may soon realize that he might have bitten more than he can chew by opening up the Pandora's box of TRP ratings and that no Pawar and his ilk could save him from the fallout of his past Karma - because he didn't stick to the path of professional neutrality in his career ever. 

As politics turn more competitive and complex, because of an interplay between the differing and conflicting ideologies, officials may help their career by blindly following the path of professional neutrality. In this regard, they may be advised to take the Twitter advice of their senior and Ex-HRD Secretary Anil Swarup proffered in reference to the Hathras case. "Huge lesson for civil servants in the suspension of DM and SP Hathras. In case of crime and law and order go strictly by the law. Each officer should know that except ‘honourable’ exceptions overindulgence to please someone does not pay in the long run perhaps in the short-term as well”.

(By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan)

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Headless departments' list growing

By Rakesh Ranjan 13 Oct 2020

The list of headless departments/organizations has been expanding of late. One may call it a usual sloppiness in filling the vacancies or a deliberate decision but it can not be given a discount on the pretext of COVId impact.

By any means, this sort of drift is never conducive to governance or fostering quality administration, much less for the image of the government.

The Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has been headless for more than a month; National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) for over seven months; Central Information Commissioner (CIC) for a long time; and DG (Investigation), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for over a month.

The Doordarshan (DD) has been headless after Ms. Supriya Sahu (IAS:1991:TN) repatriated to her cadre state in early this year. The same is the fate of All India Radio, Prasar Bharti, and Satyajeet Ray Film Institute.

At least six ministries & departments are awaiting regular secretaries. National Security Guard (NSG) fell vacant a few days back whereas the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is running headless for over a year. Dozens of Board level positions in various Central PSUs are lying vacant amid no signs of hope very soon. If some well-placed sources are to be believed over four hundred posts of the independent directors are lying vacant some of them do not have even a single Independent Director.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)


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Dr Jitendra Singh: A hallmark of excellence and hard work

By Rakesh Ranjan 10 Oct 2020

There are only a few ministers in the current regime who enjoy the indulgence of the PM. Considered a shadow of PM Modi and a sort of link between North-West (J&K) and North East, Dr Jitendra Singh is known to have worked consistently to earn the affection of the PM. His contributions reflect in the government policies on the Northeast and Northwest. Even though he deals with a number of portfolios that include the PMO, Personnel, and DONER, his work carries his signature of accomplishment. Naturally, this has put Dr. Singh's stars in ascendance in J&K and at Centre.

People in J&K attribute his rise to his political acumen and maturity. Of course, his successes have also triggered jealousies among his rivals in his home state.

In J&K, post 370 abrogations, while most of the political stalwarts and so-called ‘nationalist’ ( a misnomer for separatist leaders) were under house arrest followed by COVID lockdown, Dr Singh remained an effective communication channel and help for the people of the state.

There are several instances of Singh's yeoman service to the people of his state in these difficult times. But it is his humility that he credits officials for what he has been able to achieve for the troubled state. He has been extremely generous in appreciating the efforts of officers who helped him in resolving the problems of the people.

Senior J&K officials told Indianmandarins that his proactive efforts have bridged the difference between him and the J&K administration and both are indeed very close now.

Because of his rapport with officials and proactive approach, Dr. Singh has been able to set up 3 medical colleges and 12 new degree colleges for his constituency, the Kiru Power project, the Devika Project worth 190 Crs, the Delhi-Katra Expressway, the first major FDI in UT of J&K (India’s first Cannabis Medicine Plant with Canadian collaboration at IIM Jammu), Keediyan Gandiyal Bridge (70 yrs old demand), bamboo promotion in Kathua, Hiranagar sports stadium, etc.

His administrative acumen is also highly appreciated in the central government. Officials point out that though personnel matters related to the UT cadre is solely MHA’s call, yet during the UT Cadre review, Dr. Singh is always asked to co-chair the meeting along with the MoS Home G Kishan Reddy. Officials say that this couldn't have been possible without nods from the PM or from HM or both. In any administration, these things matter.

Not for nothing, he is entrusted with dealing with a host of sensitive issues. His oratorical skill, educational qualification, clean image, and persona shine his performance in Parliament, while his handling of the Northeast portfolio, with its emphasis on Act East, has earned him laurels. Over a period of time, he is seen as PM Modi's point man for acting as a bridge between North West and North East - a job he has been doing with distinction.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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NITI or ADB: What next for Srivastava?

By Rakesh Ranjan 06 Oct 2020

Post-retirement assignments are not easy to get in the current regime. They are indeed rare and limited to a handful of cases. Take the case of 1985 batch IAS officer who on 9 Sept completed his third extended tenure as Principal adviser with NITI Aayog. Reportedly, the proposal for granting him another extension was initiated but it was stuck in the office of the Financial Adviser who could not endorse it despite his willingness.

However, it is learned that efforts for granting Srivastava another extension have not ended yet.

Even if he exits the doors of NITI, it is said his association with NITI, in all likelihood, may continue via the ADB route. 

That's because the UN-Energy funding for e-mobility routed through Asian Development Bank appears to have opened up opportunities for some officers, which may benefit Srivastava. So even though he may cease to be on the payroll of Govt of India, he may still be associated with it in a different capacity.

It may further be underlined that NITI Aayog is supposed to participate in ADB and UNEP-led GEF projects which are mandated to promote the faster transformation to E-vehicles in India.

Top sources say NITI Aayog had nominated Anil Srivastava (Retd IAS:1985:MP) for leading the implementation of the GEF project. Apparently, ADB has given its consent. His engagement would be subject to a formal agreement with ADB which is yet to be signed.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)


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