Former oil secretary Tarun Kapoor’s appointment as chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has been noted with considerable interest by industry watchers. If a regulator comes from many years in the industry, he has a vested interest in this and that is what the players in the oil sector are worrying about. Those involved in the business are concerned whether their original regulator will now be a super-regulator and, will they see the influx of some fresh thinking on the sector and its issues, especially since there hasn’t been much movement on the proposed sale of BPCL?
But more than anything else, seeing the strategic importance of the oil companies and the regulator to the nation, most players and investors would like to see Mr Kapoor infuse stability of business operations.
Mr Kapoor was selected in response to the government re-advertising the post of chairman PNGRB last November from among 13 candidates, including former ONGC chairmen Subhash Kumar and Shashi Shankar, and former director of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) G.K. Satish, among other big names.
The post had been vacant since December 2020 since Dinesh K. Sarraf completed his three-year term. Interestingly, the selection committee had picked former power secretary S.N. Sahai for the post, but the government did not confirm the appointment and the post was consequently re-advertised.
MHA to revamp IB cadre
Nearly two years after it was first recommended, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has given the go-ahead for restructuring the Intelligence Bureau (IB) cadre. Sources inform DKB that the intention here is to help increase promotions within the cadre and streamline operations.
The ministry has reportedly approved the reduction in the entry-level, assistant central intelligence officer-II (ACIO-II), from 7,898 to 5,898, the posts of ACIO-I, deputy central intelligence officer, assistant directors, joint deputy directors and additional deputy directors have been increased to 1,558. Besides, the number of special assistants has also been increased from 3,848 to 4,290.
Undoubtedly, the restructuring is aimed at strengthening the resilience of the internal security apparatus in the face of the fast-changing environment. Perhaps no other agency in the country undertakes the wide-ranging internal intelligence collection as the IB. Since it is attached to MHA, it is entrusted with counter-terrorism intelligence as well as monitoring political and social developments and has often, therefore, been accused by political rivals of the government of following the whims and fancies of their political masters of the moment. Will the restructuring of its cadre to make the IB a better and more efficient outfit, remains to be seen. But the IB sleuths might welcome the new energy created by this shake-up.
No govt housing for ex-babus in Maharashtra
The Maharashtra government is clamping down on the tendency of retired babus, especially those on an extension, to hold on to their government accommodation. Acknowledging the acute shortage of housing for officers in the state, the general administration department (GAD) has decided not to provide accommodation to exiting babus even if they manage a post-retirement government assignment. GAD deputy secretary D.P. Deshmukh has conveyed the decision to the housing department.
Sources have informed DKB that the decision has already affected at least two senior babus K. Shivaji and S.R. Jagtap, who superannuated recently but were appointed members of the MahaRera appellate tribunal. The government has taken the line that since the housing department appointed them, it can provide accommodation to them asl well. According to Mr Deshmukh, more than 70 senior transferred or retired babus have not vacated their official residences, denying serving babus their right. In many cases, the babus owe rent to the government and the GAD has not been very successful in recovering the dues. Will it be different this time around?...