Private sector executives, technocrats and top economists may soon find their way to coveted slots in public sector units and government departments.
Official sources said a new policy is being framed by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) following instructions from the PMO to rope in professionals and private sector heavyweights with sound managerial experience in government-run institutions and offices including crucial economic and technology-focused ministries.
“While bringing in experience, the move is also aimed at reducing corruption,” the official said.
In a recent interview to HT, Piyush Goyal, minister of power, coal and renewable energy, had voiced similar intentions of widening the selection criteria to get professionals and management gurus from the private sector.
Sectoral expertise may not be considered as the only criteria for such appointments. “There is no need to have a mining expert as the chairman of Coal India... rather a person with managerial skills and a decent knowledge of mining could prove to be a best fit for the post,” another senior government official said.
It is not an unusual practice to hire corporate heavyweights and even the guidelines of Public Enterprises Selection Board, government’s head-hunter, do not prohibit private individuals from applying for posts in central PSUs.
Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani (as head of the the Unique Identification Authority of India), former Boston Consulting Group chairman Arun Maira (as a member in the Plan panel) and former BSES MD RV Shahi (as union power secretary) are cases in point. All three, however, had relinquished their corporate roles before coming joining government organisations.
IMF economist Raghuram Rajan joined as governor of Reserve Bank of India, a post long dominated by former IAS officers.
NTPC CMD Arup Roy Choudhury welcomed such a move. “Countries like the US follow a similar practice... specialists and experts should be inducted and this will add a lot of value and credibility to the functioning of the government in a fair and transparent manner,” he said.