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PM's letter to ministers: PSU appointments

A Special Correspondent in New Delhi | August 13, 2004

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh means business.

On August 9, he shot off a curt letter (reproduced below) to his ministerial team to ensure that the ministers strictly follow the guidelines laid down for the selection and appointment of directors of public sector undertakings.

Many ministers of the previous National Democratic Alliance government are alleged to have interfered with the professional functioning of the PSUs.

Chief Vigilance Commissioner P Shankar had reportedly complained against it too.

Now, T K A Nair, the prime minister's principal secretary, is apparently experiencing political interference in management of the PSUs. It is believed that following this 'interference,' he had an extensive interaction with the prime minister, leading to Dr Singh's letter to his ministers.

Nair earlier served as chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board.

The prime minister's letter indicates his concern over political intrusion in the function of PSUs.

Dear Minister,

As you would readily appreciate the proper and efficient functioning of the public sector enterprises is critical to fulfilment of many commitments of the National Common Minimum Programme which aims at the overall growth of economy.

Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that guidelines and policies evolved by the Union government with respect to the structure, composition, selection, appointment and service conditions of the board of directors and senior management personnel are strictly followed.

There are standing instructions and guidelines on these matters and have been approved by the Appointments committee of the Union Cabinet and Department of Personnel and Training from time to time.

While requesting you to ensure that there are no deviations from these guidelines and standing instructions, I am directing the Cabinet Secretary to closely monitor the compliance.

Needless to stress that delays and deviations are detrimental to the efficient functioning of public sector undertakings.

Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister

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