Nirpendra Misra appointed Principal Secretary to PM Narendra Modi, Ajay Maken takes jibe

In what has sparked a new controversy, former TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra was on Wednesday appointed Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Last Updated: May 28, 2014, 21:39 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In what has sparked a new controversy, former TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra was on Wednesday appointed Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Although the TRAI Act prohibits its Chairman and members from taking up any other job in the Central or state governments after demitting office, Misra was appointed as government promulgated an Ordinance to amend a law.

While taking potshots at Misra`s appointment, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that Narendra Modi has bypassed his Cabinet and moved an Ordinance to appoint the former as his Principal Secretary.

“It`s strange that on the very first day Modiji bypassing his Cabinet moved an Ordinance to appoint Misra as his Principal Secy,” Maken told ANI.

He also questioned that since MPs have not yet taken oath in Parliament, moreover, Speaker has also not been appointed, why was there a hurry in appointing PM`s Principal Secy.

“MPs haven`t taken oath in Parliament, Speaker not appointed, so what is the hurry in appointing his Principal Secy?,” asked Maken.

He further went on to say that the same BJP had raised questions on Ordinance for Food Bill that was to benefit lakhs of people.

Misra is a 1967-batch retired IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and his appointment will be co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister or till further orders, according to an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel.

69-year-old Misra, who has served in various capacities in the government, retired as the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2009.

"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," says the TRAI Act of 1997 available on the Law Ministry`s website.

To circumvent this section which would have barred Misra from taking up the assignment of Principal Secretary to PM, the Modi government promulgated an Ordinance amending it.

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."

Under Misra`s Chairmanship, TRAI had recommended in August
2007 that spectrum should be auctioned.

After the 2G spectrum scam broke out, Misra had deposed as a prosecution witness before a Delhi court hearing a matter in which former Telecom Minister A Raja was an accused.

Misra will succeed Pulok Chatterjee, who served in Manmohan Singh`s PMO.

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.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, is a Post Graduate in Political Science and Public Administration.

He has served in several key posts in central government ministries during his tenure.

(With Agencies inputs)