Adult education

Updated: Nov 22 2005, 05:30am hrs
Government-funded adult education programmes in the country have generally not been very successful. However, there is one informal programme which has been pretty successfulthat of retiring secretaries learning the basics of their sector, in the hope that they are qualified to gain employment after retirement. And, the way they do it is to attend plenty of conferences and get the ministry babus to prepare the materialgetting distilled wisdom in quick time!

One secretarys frequency of attending conferences has indeed shot up recently, as he is 40 days to finish! A previous petroleum secretary had got into the conference mode in the last leg of his previous job; however, a new job gave him a fresh lease of two years employment.

Surely, the taxpayer will be better off if the learning curve is front loadedat the beginning of the secretarys innings in a particular department and not back ended!

All in the name of shareholder value, one might say.

Joys of office

Should PSU directors be compensated fancy sums for attending board meetings of joint venture companies In the cash-strapped power sector, public sector Power-Grids directors earn a cool Rs 20,000 for gracing a board meeting of the only transmission joint venture in the country, which seeks to link the Tala hydroelectric power project in Bhutan to northern india. Adding to this enrichment is the structure of the joint venture, where PowerGrid holds 49% equity and is yet entirely responsible for collecting revenues from the state electricity boards!

In effect, for the Tatas it is some kind of PSU payment guarantee. And, the power ministry tried out the same formula in the power generation business sometime back, only to be shot down by the finance ministry on the grounds that the guarantee days are over.

Anyway, coming back to the issue of remuneration for directors, wonder what the official salary is then meant to compensate This practice is also prevalent in the oil sector. Surely, the finance ministry could consider seeking higher dividends from such companies that deem it fit to compensate their non-executive directors so handsomely!