A week after moving out Smriti Irani from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected her selection of the chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and taken the entire process out of the ministry’s realm.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), of which the Prime Minister is the deciding authority, rejected the name of Dr Sarvendra Vikram Bahadur Singh as the next CBSE chief.
A letter received by the HRD Ministry Tuesday from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) stated: “While considering the proposal, the competent authority in the ACC has conveyed that the post be filled under Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) by keeping the recruitment rules in abeyance.”
The CBSE has been without a regular full-time chairman since December 2014. The post requires an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary with recruitment rules specifying that he/she must have at least three years experience in educational administration.
However, under CSS, names are sought from states and the cadre controlling authority for posts that require officers of the rank of Deputy Secretary and above. An ‘offer list’ is prepared out of these names which is then considered by the Civil Services Board (CSB) headed by the Cabinet Secretary for a particular post.
The name selected by the CSB is sent to the ACC for approval.
Though last in the panel of three names suggested by a search-cum-selection which interviewed the candidates on March 15, Singh was Irani’s top choice in the letter sent to DoPT on June 15. Currently, director of State Council of Educational Research & Training, Singh belongs to the Uttar Pradesh Education Service.
The first two in the panel were Kamalakanta Biswal, professor at National University of Educational Planning and Administration, and Khurram Shahzad Noor, additional principal director in the education wing of the Indian Navy.
This is the second instance of Irani’s choice of CBSE chief being rejected. In August 2015, the ACC rejected her pick of Satbir Bedi from the search-cum-selection committee’s panel on grounds that she did not fulfil the basic qualification of having been education administrator for three years.
The ACC scrapped the entire panel recommended by the committee and directed the ministry to complete the selection process within two months and submit its proposal to the ACC for consideration before October 31.
The ACC in August 2015 entrusted Y S K Seshu Kumar, a Joint Secretary in the ministry, with additional charge of CBSE chairman. He was recently given an extension of six months.
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