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PESB proposes slew of reforms to overhaul senior-level PSU appointments

The PESB has proposed a slew of reforms for the appointment of Chairman and Director-level employees at public sector companies

The PESB has proposed a slew of reforms for the appointment of Chairman and Director-level employees at public sector companies.
  • The new reforms propose breaking away from the practice of post-specific advertisements and holding interviews for the said posts at the start of the year

  • The PESB has proposed standardisation of job descriptions for all identical posts

New Delhi: With a view to bring in greater transparency and optimise the process for senior-level PSU appointments, the Centre is looking to overhaul the process in a way so that it expands the talent pool and infuses talent from outside. In this regard, the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has proposed a slew of reforms for the appointment of Chairman and Director-level employees at public sector companies. The new reforms propose breaking away from the practice of post-specific advertisements and holding interviews for the said posts at the start of the year instead of conducting interviews for individual companies ahead of the vacancy of the post.

“The reforms (are) designed to focus on integrity and comparative merit will ensure only best and brightest get the opportunity to helm the CPSEs. As the harbinger of growth and change enabling,” said outgoing PESB Chairman Rajeev Kumar in a tweet. He also added, “Proposed reforms to revamp selection, simplify the processes, avoid repetitive interviews amongst the same pool, not allow to go slots vacant, encourage younger talent, allow movement of Execs at Board level amongst CPSEs of same schedule/cognate grp.”

Standardisation of job descriptions

The PESB has proposed standardisation of job descriptions for all identical posts like, Chairman/CMDs/MDs, Director HR/Personnel, Director Finance, Director Marketing and Director Technical. Same qualifications will be required for all identical posts and five years of experience will be required for all posts across all CPSEs. The selection board has also proposed holding interviews for all posts of Chairman and Directors at the start of the year and make its recommendations to the government. “The Ministries/Departments/PSUs will be mandated to verify and forward the applications to PESB in on-line mode only. There will be no physical movement of applications for all future advertisements,” the document released by PESB said.

Since vacancies are being clubbed cognate/schedule-wise arising during the period July 1 to June 30, and proposed to be advertised in one go, the shortlisting ratio is proposed to be six times for one vacancy across groups of clubbed vacancies or 16 (instead of 12, the current number), whichever is more and distributed amongst categories in the ratio as applicable for 16 slots.

For example, shortlisting slots would be 16, upto 2 vacancies, 18 for 3 vacancies, 24 for 4 vacancies, 30 for 5 vacancies and so on, the PESB said. Those scoring the highest will get the company of their choice. The selection board also proposed that online Vigilance clearance platform to be updated by CVOs of CPSEs and Ministries on quarterly basis in order to avoid shortlisting of candidates who do not meet the criteria.

Also read: UK Bhattacharya assumes charge as Director (Projects) of NTPC

In order to expand the pool, all Central Government services, including unorganised services/ government companies (as defined in Indian Companies Act, 2013) may be permitted to be included in the slot earmarked for government. Since private sector candidates are allowed to apply, there is nothing that stops other government services and companies to be eligible to apply. Further, the PESB has also proposed to include the state government services. 

The background

The reforms come in the backdrop of the PESB not finding suitable candidates for 52 interviews conducted out of a total of 218 between April 2017 and August 2018. The proposal also said that the clubbing of interviews and restricting them to a part of the year will allow PESB to also focus on assigned mandate other than selection.

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