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Extension denial to PSU heads hurting morale, says ONGC’s ex-chairman RS Sharma to PM Modi

New Delhi: Criticising government for denying extension to heads of NTPC and SAIL, former ONGC Chairman R S Sharma has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reputation is getting “seriously dented” and talks of empowering PSUs are becoming a “sham” with such moves.

In a letter to Narendra Modi, Sharma also raked up the issue of removing independent directors from the PSU boards on the basis of their appointment having been done by the UPA government while overlooking their credentials.

“Also your reputation as a leader of modern India is getting seriously dented,” Sharma wrote.

“These are unprecedented lows in governance on the part of sovereign government under you stewardship. Resultantly, the morale in the PSU fraternity is at the bottom end as of now,” Sharma wrote in his letter to Modi.

Out of 45 listed PSUs, 28 do not have a single independent director currently. Besides, the government in June refused to extend the tenure of SAIL Chairman C S Verma till his superannuation in September 2019.

This month also, it decided not to extend NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury’s term till he achieved retirement age of 60 years in December 2016.

Sharma, who is a member of various task forces and the government committees, said: “The government under your leadership has been talking of empowering PSUs and promoting talent, even through fresh induction from the private sector.

“With the current policy of not granting extension beyond initial five years, the younger and competent professions, not only private sector but from PSUs as well, would dread to apply for Board level positions in the PSUs, with the imminence of being shunted out after initial term,” he wrote.

Sharma said the policy of shunting out PSU heads is in sharp contrast to the private sector where the perpetuity in leadership is an established practice.

He also sought an audience with Modi to elaborate on the issues he has raised.

“Meanwhile, you would do an immense good service to redeem the morale of PSU fraternity by deciding to grant legitimate extension to the Chairman and Managing Director of NPTC until his normal superannuation age of 60 years and also reinstate CMD of SAIL until his normal retirement age of 60 years,” he said adding the two individuals were professionals of highest calibre and competency.