Govt`s fresh criteria for selecting NHAI chief

Govt has come out with fresh criteria that paves way for appointing a technocrat or an executive from pvt sector as head of highways regulator.

New Delhi: Continuing the hunt for a regular
chief for NHAI, the government has come out with fresh
criteria that paves the way for appointing a technocrat or an
executive from the private sector as the head of the highways

Calling for applications by February 21, the government
has said that, "a full-time Director on the Board of a
Schedule `A` Central PSU...engaged primarily in infrastructure
or ... a CEO or Director in a public or private sector
infrastructure entity, having a net worth of not less than Rs
2,000 crore" can now qualify for the top job in addition to
GoI Secretary.

For a bureaucrat, it said that one who "is holding or has
held on regular basis the post of Secretary or Additional
Secretary to the Government of India for at least two years,
or equivalent," can apply for the post.

Prescribing the pay scale of "Rs 80,000 per month fixed
plus allowances as admissible", the government said the tenure
of the Chairman would be "for a term of three years from the
date on which he enters upon his office and shall be eligible
for re-appointment for a further term of two years," provided
he has not attained 65 years age.

The appointment of a full-time Chairman for National
Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been hanging fire since
August 2010, after the retirement of Brijeshwar Singh. Road
Secretary AK Upadhyay holds its additional charge at present.

A technocrat like metro man E Sreedharan should be allowed
to occupy the top post instead of only bureaucrats, Road
Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi had said last year.
Earlier, the rules allowed only bureaucrats of the rank of
Additional Secretary and above to apply.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June last year had asked
the Ministry to expedite the process of appointing a new
Chairman against the backdrop of projects worth Rs 3 lakh
crore to be awarded under the National Highways Development
Project (NHDP) to be implemented by the NHAI.

Cabinet Secretary in July, 2011 wrote a letter to the
Ministry setting a deadline of three months for appointment to
the post.

The government had constituted a panel, Chaired by the
Cabinet Secretary, over a year ago to select a candidate for
the post.

Brijeshwar Singh, on his retirement in August 2010 was
given an extension till December 2010.

After Singh`s tenure was over former Road Secretary R S
Gujral was given the additional charge till March 31, 2011 and
in the absence of a final decision, however, Gujral`s
tenure has been extended and later Upadhyay took over the
additional charge.


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