In a departure from past norms and guidelines, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has proposed that Shashi Shanker, selected to head India’s biggest oil and gas producer Oil & Natural Gas Corp, be initially appointed for one year — instead of five years — during which his performance would be reviewed every quarter instead of after the first year.
More than a month after the anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission cleared Shanker’s appointment, Pradhan this week approved his name as the next chairman and managing director of ONGC for the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). But with riders that go against the recommendation and guidelines of the government headhunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).
Citing exploration challenges before the ONGC to raise crude oil and natural gas output, Pradhan has sought ACC approval for Shanker’s appointment with a year’s validity during which his Ministry will conduct quarterly appraisal of his performance before seeking fresh ACC mandate for further employment.
Incidentally, PESB rules say that a board-level functionary would be considered for appointment for five years or until the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier, with a provision that he/she would be assessed by the administrative ministry after the first year of his employment. The ministry, based on this, would recommend, to PESB, the incumbent’s confirmation for the balance tenure.
The PESB recommended that ONGC Director (Technical) Shanker be appointed as CMD for five years or until the date of his superannuation. Shanker is eligible for a nearly four-year term until March 2021.
Present CMD Dinesh Sarraf retires on September 30 but has been shortlisted to head the downstream regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board on superannuation.
Shanker was suspended from the current post in February 2015 for alleged irregularities in an unawarded Rs 23-crore tender for buying 21 blowout preventers. He was reinstated in July as the Supreme Court held that a government employee’s suspension could not stand beyond 90 days unless the prosecution files a chargesheet within the stipulated time.
Nearly 30 candidates had applied for the ONGC top job in May and the PESB shortlisted nine, none from the private sector.
UNITED NATIONS: He may have hosted over a hundred of world leaders to Israel this year but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels the visits by the US President Donald Trump and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi were "truly historic".
Netanyahu mentioned this on Tuesday during his address to the United Nations General Assembly here.
With Modi, Netanyahu said, they imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, for India and for all of humanity.
"I stood here last year on this podium, and I spoke about this profound change in Israel's standing around the world. Just look at what has happened since, in one year, has happened cents. Hundreds of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other leaders have visited Israel, many for the first time," Netanyahu said.
"Of these many visits, two were truly historic. In May, President Trump+ became the first American president to include Israel in his first visit abroad. President Trump stood at the Western Wall, the foot of Temple Mount, where the Jewish people, or rather the Jewish people's temples, stood for nearly 1,000 years," he said.
And when the President touched those ancient stones, he touched our hearts forever, Netanyahu said.
In July, Netanyahu said, Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel+ . He also shared with the world leaders his meeting with the Indian premier.
"You may have seen the pictures. We were on a beach in Podera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalinisation device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean, and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier," Netanyahu said.
He said in the past year, Israel has hosted a number of world leaders and visited six different continents.
"(In) One year — six continents. I went to Africa, where I saw Israeli innovators increasing crop yields, turning air into water, fighting AIDS. I went to Asia, where we deepened our relations with China, and with Singapore, and expanded our cooperation with our Muslim friends in Azberbaijan and Kazakhstan," he said.
"I went to Europe, where in London and Paris, Saloniki and Budapest, we enhanced our security and economic ties," he said.
The Israel Prime Minister also expressed his desire to visit Antarctica.
"Now, it's true. I haven't yet visited Antarctica, but one day I have to go there. I want to go there, too, because I've heard penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel," he added.
CHENNAI: A day after Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualified 18 rebel AIADMK legislators under the Anti-Defection Act for withdrawing their support to chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the Madras high court on Tuesday agreed to hear their pleas assailing the disqualification on an urgent basis.
Justice M Duraiswamy allowed an urgent mention made by senior counsel P R Raman on behalf of the legislators.
Seeking an urgent hearing, the counsel said the constitutional rights of the 18 MLAs to cast their votes in case of a floor test would be greatly affected if their pleas against their illegal disqualification was not heard on an urgent basis.
Agreeing to hear the pleas on Wednesday, the judge directed them to file a proper petition.
Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker P Dhanapal on Monday disqualified 18 AIADMK MLAs who are supporting sidelined party deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran. The MLAs were disqualified under Schedule 10 of the Indian Constitution, which deals with the anti-defection law.
Last month, 19 MLAs met Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and gave separate letters withdrawing their support to chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami after the EPS faction and the group led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam merged.
With 18 MLAs disqualified, there are 19 seats vacant now. This means the assembly has only 215 elected members. The government needs only 108 votes to prove its majority in the assembly now in case of a floor test.
"I have long respected India's accomplished and charismatic Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and it was an honor to meet her today," Ivanka said.
US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly session. Ivanka, who would be leading American delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in India in November, discussed about women’s entrepreneurship and workforce development in the two countries. “We had a great discussion on women’s entrepreneurship, the upcoming #GES2017 and workforce development in the US and India,” Ivanka said in a tweet after the meeting.
India and the US will co-host the GES in Hyderabad from November 28 to 30. The GES is the preeminent annual gathering of emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders from around the world. Ivanka, 35, took to twitter to express her respect for Swaraj, whom she described as the “charismatic” foreign minister. “I have long respected India’s accomplished and charismatic Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and it was an honor to meet her today,” Ivanka said.
Swaraj discussed “Women Empowerment” and Ivanka’s forthcoming visit to India, the Indian Embassy here said in a tweet. During her week-long stay here, the minister, leading a high-powered Indian delegation, is expected to hold about 20 bilateral and trilateral meetings with leaders attending the session. Swaraj is scheduled to leave for India, a day after her address to the UN General Assembly on September 23.
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