Govt refuses to extend tenure of Verma as SAIL Chief; Steel Secy Singh gets additional charge

New Delhi: The government has refused to extend the tenure of SAIL Chairman C S Verma till his superannuation — making him the first ‘Maharatna’ PSU head to be denied extension during the current NDA regime.

Steel Secretary Rakesh Singh today got addition charge of SAIL Chairman.
Steel Secretary Rakesh Singh today got additional charge of SAIL Chairman.

Verma was appointed SAIL Chairman and Managing Director for a 5-year term in June 2010 by the previous UPA government, but was eligible for an extension till he attained the superannuation age of 60 years in September 2019.

His tenure ended today as the Steel Ministry did not move papers for his extension, sources said, while adding that Steel Secretary Rakesh Singh has been given the charge of SAIL Chairman for three months.

The last time a ‘Maharatna’ PSU head was denied extension was in May 2006 when Subir Raha’s term was not extended as CMD of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. There are 7 state-owned companies which have been classified as ‘Maharatna’ or largest PSUs and include NTPC, Coal India, IOC, BHEL and GAIL.

Government headhunter Public Enterprise Selection Board will now call for applications to select a new Chairman who will take charge after the approval of Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, a process that may take up to 6 months.

Sources said SAIL, Director (Finance) Anil Kumar Choudhary is among the contenders for the post.

Among other large PSUs, power producer NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury will complete his five- year term on August 31 and will be eligible for extension till he attains superannuation age of 60 years in December 2016. There is speculation he too may not get an extension.

Gas utility GAIL India Ltd Chairman B C Tripathi, however, got a second five-year term in July 2014 but as per PESB rules, his appointment has to be confirmed after 1 year.

It remains to be seen if Tripathi, who was the youngest person to head a Maharatna PSU when he was appointed GAIL head in August 2009 by the UPA government, will be allowed to continue for his second five year term ending July 2019. Tripathi will be eligible for a third term till January 2020 when he turns 60.

As per PESB rules, any appointment to a PSU board for more than three years has to be re-confirmed after one year from taking charge.