Will bring top talent, give room to turn around energy PSUs: Piyush Goyal

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 4 2014, 13:38pm hrs
Piyush GoyalPiyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy at the Idea Exchange in New Delhi on Thursday. Express Photo: Ravi Kanojia
With a large number of top posts in government-run energy sector companies vacant for long, power, coal and new & renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal has said he is willing to induct private sector professionals to fill them up.

Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express on Thursday, Goyal said, I cannot offer them the sort of salary they may get elsewhere, but I will give them the challenge and the freedom to turn these companies around.

The minister said he is planning to move a Cabinet note for allowing such appointments in the public sector units under his administrative control.

Coal India, South Eastern Coalfields Limited, Power Finance Corporation, NHPC, and Damodar Valley Corporation are some of the companies under him, which have not had a chief executive for quite some time. Once the proposal is cleared it will apply for all Central public sector units.

A government source said the proposal will have to be cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. The previous government had taken such a clearance for all Central public sector companies in 2008 for a period of five years or 2013. But it was used on only three occasions for smaller public sector units in this period. The response was not encouraging. We did not get many good talent to join up, said a top-level source in the government.

It is a matter of deep concern that I dont have any chiefs in many of the public sector companies under my ministries. I have flagged the issue with the Cabinet Secretary, Goyal said at the event.

In the case of NHPC, for instance, the appointment process for a regular chairman cum managing director has been delayed by over three years , creating delays in taking key strategic decisions.

Goyal said a large number of appointments get stalled because of Central Vigilance Commission inquiries that carry on for long.

The selection process consequently gets delayed and some one has to take over as the acting chief. This mechanism has got institutionalised over the last few years. It is time that people with high level of integrity should come forward to change the scenario, he said.

Bringing in people from the private sector as PSU heads has the potential to spark protests from powerful trade unions. The minister was, however, confident that the changes could be made by making all sections see the reason for them.