By the way : Questionable actions of Vinod Rai!

Recall Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and Secretary Banking. He opened the Pandora box of the 2G scam as CAG of India. When the CAG report on granting 2G spectrum licenses was first leaked in 2010, the entire country had hailed Vinod Rai as a crusader against corruption. The verdict in the multi-crore 2G scam has shocked the nation. After all, how come the special CBI court acquitted 19 accused of all charges in a scam where notional losses to the tune of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore were made? Was Rai acting at the instance of Airtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal, TKA Nair or P Chidambaram? Vinod Rai doesn’t have any answers. And his clout is intact as the Supreme Court has appointed Rai as the interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who reportedly poses faith in the capability of Rai, had to go and dig out the file of the bankrupt Dabhol Power Project Company. IDBI had the maximum exposure of Rs. 1,900 crore (Rs. 19 billion) in the Dabhol project, followed by State Bank of India Rs. 1,700 crore (Rs. 17 billion), ICICI Bank Rs. 1,300 crore (Rs. 13 billion), IFCI Rs. 600 crore (Rs. 6 billion) and Canara Bank Rs. 350 crore (Rs. 3.5 billion). If the file is investigated thoroughly, one will be surprised to know how Vinod Rai reportedly tried to convince banks to write off the huge outstandings. Good sense prevailed, and fortunately, the power ministry turned down the proposal. This is Vinod Rai!

http://www.gfilesindia.com/questionable-actions-of-vinod-rai/

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By the way : DD in doldrums

When Prime Minister Modi started ‘Man ki Baat’ on AIR, the officials presumed that the condition of Prasar Bharati would improve. But the PMO has restricted itself to broadcast and telecast of ‘Man ki Baat’. Both Doordarshan and All India Radio are actually in a precarious situation. Prasar Bharti Chairman, A Surya Prakash, an old RSS associate, does not know how to move in a no-money syndrome organisation. The once glowing Doordarshan office at Mandi House used to be flooded with visitors but now it’s deserted. There are no new programmes being sanctioned as there is no budget; even salaries are paid out of the interest of fixed deposits. The day one retires from Doordarshan or AIR, the very next day, one joins as an ad hoc employee. There have been no permanent new recruitments in any category of staff in Prasar Bharati for the last 25 years. Most of the staff is working on contractual basis. It has become den of retired people and nepotism is at its peak. The mess has percolated so deep that most of the time DD is repeating one programme many times in a day. The situation is so pathetic that the contractor of the parking lot outside DD is desperate to run away from the contract as it is perpetually deserted.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/dd-in-doldrums/

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By the way : Finally Jaishankar joins Tatas

Everybody in the government is bemused about S Jaishankar, former Foreign Secretary who had also served as India’s Ambassador to China and then USA, being roped in by Tata Sons as its new President, Global Corporate Affairs. Jaishankar, a 1977 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, will report to N Chandrasekaran, executive chairman of Tata Sons. His remunerations and associated perks are not known as yet, but as the former IFS has not completed a year of his retirement – he retired on January 28 this year – he needed to take special permission from the government to join a private entity. Generally, a retired civil servant can join outside the government only two years after retirement. Given the clout Jaishankar enjoys in South Block, getting permission would not have been an issue. One, why was the rule waived off. Two, why is Jaishankar so desperate to join the Tatas. Insiders reveal that Jaishanker was certain after observing the present setup in the Prime Minister’s Office that he will not be awarded any post retirement plump posting. Tata Sons Executive Chairman Chandrasekaran said that Jaishankar’s extensive experience and knowledge on international affairs would be highly valuable to the group as “we work to reinforce our brand and leadership globally”, according to a statement issued by the salt-to-software conglomerate. Here is what Jaishankar had to say: “The Tata group is an iconic institution known for its value-based leadership as well as India’s most respected brand globally. I look forward to being part of the Tata group and working with key stakeholders to make an impact.” The former Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar has also joined the Tatas as Director.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/finally-jaishankar-joins-tatas/

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By the way : Another year for Sinha

The term of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, a 1977-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been extended for one year more. This news was almost confirmed at the celebrations of Civil Services Day. Most of the civil servants were whispering that Sinha will get another year as a cabinet secretary; they also observed the confidence of PK Sinha at the function. It was quite indicative that the he is sure to get an extension. For over a decade, the practice has been to appoint a Cab Sec for a fixed two-year term. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to be a believer of continuity in governance. When he took over as Prime Minister in May 2014, AK Seth was serving as Cab Sec and there was strong opinion that a new Cab Sec will be appointed in June 2014 but Modi surprised everybody when he ordered an extension for Seth. Insiders inform that Seth who had an impeccable track record made Modi comfortable at crucial time of transition of power from Congress to BJP. 2019 will be the election year and in the given scenario a new face in the Cabinet Secretariat would have taken time to acclimatise as the Cab Sec has to deal with a new subject every 15 minutes and different ministries. Sinha’s track record indicates that he is a fast-paced performer and he has synchronised Cab Sec office with the working style of the Prime Minister. The Cab Sec and PM relationship is a very delicate and indispensable bond between two individuals and institutions. Even Manmohan Singh did not change his Cab Secs, KM Chandrasekhar and BK Chaturvedi.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/another-year-for-sinha/

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Bric a Brac : North Block adrift

Anew grapevine has taken root in the Finance Ministry since the news of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley kidney problems appeared in the media. Arun Jaitley himself tweeted about his health, “am being treated for kidney related problems & certain infections that I have contracted. I am therefore currently working from controlled environment at home. The future course of my treatment would be determined by the doctors treating me.” Jaitley’s sickness has created a different scenario in North Avenue. North Block is a busy zone and the scenario seems much the same. The same cannot be said of the Finance Minister’s office. Generally, the visitor room of the Finance Minister is full whenever the Minister is in his office. Now there are less public visitors. Business leaders are not seen though their heads of corporate affairs are seen meeting civil servants for pushing their files. The really worrisome situation is the absence of babus. Though they reach office in time due to the biometric attendance system but most of the day, they are not sitting in their rooms. The jurnos who visit the North Block after lunch find it difficult to locate anybody to get some inkling of what is happening in the ministry. Importantly, nobody dares talk about a change of Finance Minister as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unflinching faith in the capacity and capability of his minister.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/north-block-adrift/

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