Industry surprised on Deepak's transfer from DoT, Jio connection refuted

NEW DELHI: Senior Indian Services officer J.S Deepak, who is to take charge as the next Indian ambassador to the World Trade Organisation in June this year, has been removed from his post of telecom secretary in the Department of Telecommunications.

He has been temporarily moved to the Department of Commerce as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).

A telecom ministry official, when contacted by, sought to play down the change, saying it was a routine transfer. However, he declined to answer questions on why this was not announced the way other transfers are announced through the personnel ministry.

Although the official denied any connection with the Jio controversy, industry experts expressed surprised at the abrupt transfer and said it appeared a very clearly motivated act.

Interestingly, Deepak was moved shortly after he wrote to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India asking it to restrict the period of promotional packs offered by telcos, which is currently has a maximum validity of 90 days. He added that the Reliance Jio’s free offers have cost the government almost Rs 8 billion and that has affected the telecom industry. He pointed out to TRAI’s regulation which mentions that any kind of pack which is “promotional in nature” cannot be offered beyond 90 days.

Deepak has earlier played the role of chief negotiator (India) at the WTO while signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, a global free trade agreement. Deepak also held an administerial position at DoT when it first introduced e-auctions during the 2010 spectrum auctions.

Deepak joined the DoT first in 2008 as Joint Secretary and has also worked with various government departments overlooking policy. He earlier served as the chairman and managing director of State Trading Corporation (STC) of India, member of the board of directors of state-owned telcos BSNL, and MTNL.

Deepak also holds a board position at the Board of India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and the Governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

He has also worked as a consultant with The Policy Project, a group of US-based institutes that looked into framing population and health policies. He holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

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