Government takes legislative step to accommodate Nripendra Misra in PMO

NEW DELHI: The change of government always brings about a shake-up of senior executives in various posts, and this is done even if it necessitates changing laws to accommodate an individual or an individual’s chosen one.


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is being amended so that former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra - a 1967-batch IAS officer who is now 69 years of age - can be appointed as principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


A bill in this regard was introduced in the Lok Sabha to replace an ordinance brought out by the government to amend the act which prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in the central or state governments after demitting office.


Some Congress members told that this would open the Pandora’s Box as it would be used by every successive government to bring their favourites to key posts. Furthermore, this precedent may lead to amendments in other organisations where similar restrictions have been put in place.  


With the Bharatiya Janata Party issuing a whip to its members to support the bill, it is bound to be passed. However, it may face a tougher task in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP does not have a majority.


The TRAI (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was debated in the House today.


According to the present TRAI Act: “The chairperson or any other member ceasing to hold office as such shall (a) be ineligible for further employment under the central government or any state government or (b) not accept any commercial employment, for a period of two years from the date he ceases to hold such office.”


The ordinance amends this section to read as: “The chairperson and the whole-time members shall not, for a period of two years from the date on which they cease to hold office as such, except with the previous approval of the central government, accept “(a) any employment either under the central government or under any state government; or “(b) any appointment in any company in the business of telecommunication service.”


Misra is an IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre and his appointment as principal secretary will be co-terminus with the term of the PM or till further orders, according to an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel. The principal secretary to the PM is a key post and acts as main link for coordination among Prime Minister’s Office, cabinet secretariat and secretaries of ministries. 

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