In a significant amendment to existing norms, a Ministry will no longer need to seek approval of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) or the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) if it wants to appoint a board-level officer in a PSU via the search-cum-selection route (which opens the door to private sector applicants as well). All it needs to do now is to get clearance of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
As per the current system, for a board-level officer — chairperson, MD or director — the concurrence of the DPE and the PESB, a committee of retired bureaucrats, was required for an exemption from the regular procedure which entailed an advertisement for the vacancy, followed by shortlisting of candidates from among the applicants and an hour-long interview by PESB members.
“Prior concurrence of the DPE and PESB in order to fill up a board level post by the Search-cum-Selection Procedure mode instead of the standard PESB route to be dispensed with,” says the November 14 office memorandum from the DPE.
“Such proposals for exemption (from the PESB route) may be considered directly by the ACC without routing them through DPE and/or PESB provided that the concerned administrative ministry records the reasons in writing with the approval of the Minister-in-charge as to why such exemption is being proposed,” it adds.
The present government has been using the Search-cum-Selection route for most chairman level posts where the committee — which has the PESB chairman as a member — has the option to select a person who has not even applied for the job.
Officials said the DPE memo was merely to cut down on time as the PESB has never objected to the Search-cum-Selection Process.
The PESB has now been reduced to a single member, Madhusudan Prasad, after acting PESB chairman Gauri Kumar retired last month.
The four-member board (including chairman) became headless after Sanjay Kothari was appointed Secretary to the President of India in July 2017.