A year after the government headhunter failed to find any suitable candidate for top job at ONGC, the oil ministry has proposed raising of eligibility age as well as a shorter tenure for the new chairman and managing director of India's top oil and gas producer.
The ministry has proposed that any candidate to be eligible for consideration should not be more than 60 years of age on the date of occurrence of vacancy, according to the ministry's office memorandum sent to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on June 17.
The vacancy arose after Shashi Shanker superannuated on March 31, 2021.
Presently, the minimum age prescribed for being eligible for the top job is 45 years. Besides, internal candidates need to have two years of residual service as on the date of vacancy and three years for external candidates.
What the ministry has proposed now is that any eligible candidate who is not more than 60 years of age at the time of occurrence of vacancy which was April 1, 2021, should be considered eligible. This would essentially mean that the current acting chairman, Alka Mittal, who otherwise would retire in August-end and was ineligible, would come under the zone of consideration.
The ministry has also proposed appointment for a period of three years from the date of joining instead of the present five-year term, according to the letter.
The selection will be done through a three-member search-cum-selection committee headed by PESB chairman and composed of oil secretary and former Indian Oil chairman B Ashok (outside expert).
The panel was formed on February 4, 2022 but the terms of reference are being framed only now.
Most board-level appointments at public sector companies are done on the basis of recommendations of the Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) but the government headhunter in June last year did not find anyone suitable among nine candidates, including two serving IAS officers, to head Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
"Keeping in view the strategic importance and vision for the company and its future, the board did not recommend any candidate and decided to constitute a search committee," the ministry letter said referring to PESB's interviews on June 5, 2021.
The panel was constituted after eight months of that recommendation on February 4.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved "consideration of central government officers, including those of the armed forces of the Union and the all India services for the post on immediate absorption basis."