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Parliamentary Standing Committee miffed over vacancies in PESB

By By MK Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan- 27 Mar 2021
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New Delhi (27.03.2021): Let alone the wide-spread frustration prevalent in the public sector on key appointments, even the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 106th report on Demands for Grants (2021-2022) of the Ministry has been unable and unwilling in restraining itself from passing adverse comment on the NDA administrations' visible failure in manning the top posts of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).

In a report tabled in Parliament recently, the committee observed that it “is unable to understand as to how PESB is functioning without the chairperson and a member.”

As Indianmandarins has reported, the post of the PESB chairman, which is a critical position for searching and selecting board-level and other senior personnel for CPSUs, has been lying vacant since September 2020 when its then chairman Rajiv Kumar was moved to the election commission. It's also reported that the post of one member, out of three, has also been vacant for a long time.

Will the committee's observation prompt the government to fill the PESB critical manpower gaps?

The committee has directed the PESB to report back to it within three months about the number of vacancies pending the CPSUs, and the reasons thereof.

According to the list displayed on the PESB website and updated till 25 March 2021, there are as many as 135 posts of directors and CMDs vacancies have been lying vacant for more than a year to six months. As time progresses, the pending list may get longer and longer. For several CPSUs, 2021 may be critical to recovering their lost Covid productivity and for that, they would baldy need their CMDs, many of whom are set to retire in the course of 2021.

The committee has also expressed its anguish over the fact that the women's representation in top managerial posts in CPSUs has been disappointing. It has directed the PESB to report back whether the women's representation was caused by the scarcity of competent women aspirants or the glass ceiling effect.

"The Committee is of the considered opinion that there is a need to build an equitable workplace for women and PESB must make an endeavor in this regard,” it said.

The committee's report revealed that the PESB had recommended only 2.4 percent, female candidates, in 2016, 7.69 percent in 2017, 3.8 percent in 2018, 2.75 percent in 2019, and 6.89 percent in 2020. 

(By MK Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)

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