THE CABINET Secretariat has opposed the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s proposal to appoint K G Suresh as Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) on the ground that he lacks “administrative experience”.
Suresh, currently a Senior Consulting Editor with Doordarshan News, served in an honorary capacity as Senior Fellow with New Delhi-based think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). He was the foundation’s editor for website and in-house publications.
The Cabinet Secretariat has informed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) that Suresh should not have been shortlisted for the interview.
The recruitment rules for the top post in IIMC stipulate that non-government candidates must have “minimum 25 years experience in the field of journalism/ film/ media with administrative experience of holding senior positions in academic/ professional institution/ university department/ organisation of national repute”.
The Department of Personnel & Training asked the I&B Ministry to provide details of Suresh’s administrative experience and the ministry’s assessment on whether the experience was sufficient for his selection. The ministry sent a sheet giving an overview of his administrative skills, not experience, and wrote that this was submitted by Suresh at the interview on December 8 last year.
The Cabinet Secretariat felt that due diligence was not carried out in shortlisting the candidates ahead of the interview. “Considering that the document was not available with the screening committee at the time of its meetings held on August 28 and September 30, 2015, it is not clear as to how the committee included his name in the list of eligible candidates,” it informed the ACC.
It said the document submitted by the ministry merely gave an overview of Suresh’s administrative familiarity, but “details regarding the duration of the experience cited have not been indicated therein”.
I&B officials said the ministry is now working on giving Akshay Kumar Rout — an Indian Information Service officer who is currently ADG(News) Doordarshan — additional charge of IIMC. While Rout was MoS Rajyavardhan Rathore’s first choice, the selection process had to go through the search-cum-selection committee route as the DoPT refused to exempt Rout from working in his parent cadre for the mandatory three years.
So far, the NDA government has picked from the VIF its director Ajit Doval as National Security Advisor, executive council member Nripendra Misra as Principal Secretary to the PM, distinguished fellow A Surya Prakash as Prasar Bharati chairman, and former DRDO chief V K Saraswat as full-time Niti Aayog member.