SUNIL Gavaskar’s long-time opening partner and two-time BJP MP, Chetan Chauhan, is now the chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).
Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday, Chauhan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for his appointment, and said that he had already held “a few informal meetings” at his new office.
According to the NIFT Act 2006, the chairperson of the Board of Governors (BoG) is expected to be “an eminent academician, scientist or technologist or professional, to be nominated by the Visitor” of the institute, which is the President. The term of the appointment is three years.
Chauhan, who is the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) vice-president and a senior BCCI official, runs a cricket academy and owns a newsprint business. The 68-year-old, however, said he will “have time for all my roles”.
“This is a Government of India appointment. The names (for the post of chairman) are sent by the Ministry of Textiles… preference is given to people in the party (BJP),” he said.
Chauhan, who played 40 Tests and has 11,000-plus first-class runs, said he got the job at the reputed fashion institute because of his cricketing and banking experience.
“They examined many names and ultimately chose me because I am an international sportsman and have experience in banking. I worked with the Bank of Baroda as a Scale-4 officer based in Delhi. For 23 years, I spent quality time in banking,” he said.
An official mail sent to the Information Officer, Ministry of Textiles, seeking details about the appointment process and the latest appointment did not elicit any response.
Chauhan, however, said he was excited about his new innings, and added that he didn’t need to be at NIFT every day. “Whenever an urgent matter is required to be addressed, I will be there. I will be going there once in week. I will have an office there, but I think I will be spending more time at DDCA. I will have to devote some time to my company (Coral Newsprint), too,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of his work schedule, Chauhan said: “I will spend 60 per cent of the time in DDCA, 20 per cent at NIFT and 20 per cent in my business.”
Asked about the nature of his new job, Chauhan said, “We have a Board of Governors and a senate, which includes directors and chairpersons. The supreme body is the Board of Governors, of which I am the chairman. All major decisions are taken in the Board meeting, and I call that meeting. There are three MPs also on the Board.”
On the informal meetings he has already held, Chauhan said, “I met the members and briefed them and advised them that we should come up with solutions in the interest of the institution. The term is for three years.”
Having played most of his cricket in the 1970s — an era known for charismatic characters like Tiger Pataudi, Farokh Engineer and Salim Durrani — Chauhan wasn’t known to be among the team’s flashy dressers.
”My fashion sense is not being flamboyant but well dressed. I am not dashing fashion-oriented because I have to go with what suits my age. But I like to dress up smartly and well,” he said.
The appointment of the chairman and non-official members of the Board of Governors of the NIFT — a statutory body under the Ministry of Textiles — is accorded by the President.
Whenever the Board is reconstituted, the names of the chairman and non-official members are proposed by the Union Textiles Minister and approved by the President’s office. BJP leader Santosh Gangwar is the current Textiles Minister.
The Board of Governors of NIFT is the apex authority for administrative and financial decisions of the institute, while the implementation of decisions is delegated to three sub-committees.
Of these, the Standing Committee on Establishment Matters is directly headed by the chairman, BOG. The other two sub-committees, though, have different heads.
The Finance and Audit Committee is headed by the Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor of the Textile Ministry and looks into finance and accounts, purchase and building projects. The important Academic Affairs Committee, headed by the director-general, NIFT, looks into all matters concerning academics and other related matters.
The chairman of the BoG, however, is part of the reviewing authority for a number of senior academic and administrative positions at the institute.
Kiran Dhingra, a retired IAS officer, was the previous chairperson of the NIFT BoG. In March 2010, when Dayanidhi Maran was the Textiles Minister in the UPA government, the BoG of NIFT was reconstituted and Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motor Co and managing director of Sundaram Clayton Ltd, was appointed chairman.
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