Appointment of chief executives of autonomous bodies, including that of various commissions working under different ministries, will no more be done by ministers, according to an office memorandum accessed by dna.The office memorandum issued by the department of personnel and training under the prime minister has reminded all ministries and departments that appointment of heads of all such bodies will be done by the two-member appointments committee of cabinet that includes the prime minister and home minister Raj Nath Singh. Though ministers were divested of such powers way back in 2006, they continued to appoint or recommend their favourites to head these organisations which, in many cases, are considered lucrative postings.The ministers have been reminded that they can have say only in cases where additional charge of the posts are assigned for a maximum period of one year with effect the date of occurrence of the vacancy, but other than that of chief executives.Nearly 300 autonomous institutions such as National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, National Thermal Power Corporation, Central Institute of Indian Languages and 97 commissions including Atomic Energy Commission, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Competition Commission of India and others are working under the operational control of different central ministries.In case of additional charge arrangement for heads of organisations, the ministers have been asked to proceed in accordance with the procedures which include seeking approval of ACC for anticipated vacancies. In case of unanticipated vacancies arising out of death, resignation etc, the minister-in-charge can assign the additional charge for the initial six months, provided the officer to whom the change is to be assigned is the senior most and clear from the vigilance angle. “The minister in such cases shall ensure that the additional charge is assigned to an officer in the same station, as far as possible, in which the post has fallen vacant,” the order states. It has been observed that in many cases, ministers while making such appointments transfer these officials to work in their secretariat either in office or at their homes. That means while working for the minister’s personal staff, they draw salaries form these autonomous organisations.Even in such cases, where ministers have been given powers to assign additional charge in unanticipated vacancies, they have been directed that in case the officer is holding a post two or more scales below the pay scale of the vacant post, the department or the ministry is required to obtain the approval of the ACC, even for the initial six months of additional charge arrangement. For the extension of charge beyond six months as well, the approval of ACC has been made mandatory.Earlier soon after coming to power prime minister Narendra Modi’s office had put on hold the appointments of private secretaries to ministers. He had also directed the ministers not to appoint private secretaries who had worked under the preveious UPA Government ministers. There is an iron ring around cabinet ministers to keep tabs on them through private secretaries and the ministers of state to make them accountable.
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