The government has finally set in motion the process to select experts to head some of the country’s premier art and culture bodies.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has told the Culture Ministry to come up with suggestions for the search and selection committee that would identify the experts. The panel was to identify experts who would be asked to head eight of these premier institutions.
Acting by a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office, the ministry had initiated discussions with other arms of the government for formulation of recruitment rules under the new system.
The recruitment rules were finalised last month, three weeks after the ministry put up the draft rules for approval of the UPSC on August 1.
Amendments to the rules was needed because bureaucrats or experts who applied for these positions were appointed to these posts earlier. It was, however, felt that the government would have approach people of eminence since they may not want to seek out an appointment.
Top government sources said the UPSC was reported to have accepted the ministry’s proposal that candidates must not exceed the age limit, 56 years, and give them the rank of a joint secretary to the Union government.
The UPSC chairman has been empowered to nominate a commission member to chair the selection committee. The committee would identify and shortlist the names of possible candidates and put up the panel before the government for a final decision.
At the time of clearance to the recruitment rules, the commission also told culture ministry to promptly turn up with its recommendations of outside experts who could be members of the selection committee.
“I understand that a reminder has since been sent to the culture ministry so that the Prime Minister’s directive is implemented without further delay,” an official at the department of personnel and training familiar with the move to request external experts said.
The age limit was unanimously decided at a meeting convened at the cabinet secretariat earlier in the day, the official said, pointing that the UPSC’s reminder to the ministry came in the backdrop vacancies at the top in five of the eight bodies, Archaeological Survey of India, National Museum, National Library, National Archives and the Anthropological Survey of India. The first four have been headless for over a year.