CSIR headless for four months as Jaipal Reddy throws spanner

CSIR headless for four months as Jaipal Reddy throws spanner

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is headless for the last four months because of objections raised by the Union Science minister S Jaipal Reddy on the next Director General, selected by a top panel, to head the CSIR.

The previous CSIR DG Samir Kumar Brahmachati retired on December 31, 2013. A search-cum-selection committee, headed by cabinet secretary Ajith Seth, proposed the name of Suresh Das, director of one of the CSIR laboratories, as the next DG of the Rs 3500 crore research council, which has 40 research centres under its control. Besides Seth, the committee comprises of five distinguished scientists — R Chidambaram, P N Tandon, M K Bhan, Gobardhan Mehta and Devang Khakhar.

But, Das could not be appointed due to the objections raised by the Union Science minister S Jaipal Reddy,  sources told Deccan Herald. The 58 year-old chemical scientist currently heads National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.

After keeping the appointment process hanging for three months, the search-cum-selection committee was reconstituted with the same members and again tasked to find out a DG for CSIR. The panel met here on April 17 and once again, proposed Das's name.

As per the Appointment Committee of Cabinet rules, all files have to be signed first by the departmental minister, then by the Home Minister and finally by the Prime Minister.

The appointment file would now be put up to Reddy once again, though he had objected to Das's selection last time. The minister is currently busy in election campaigns in Andhra Pradesh. CSIR chief is a high-level officer in the Central government as he is the ex-officio secretary to the department of scientific and industrial research.

Department of Science and Technology secretary T Ramasami is officiating as the CSIR director general as of now. He is being aided by three senior-most CSIR scientists.

But, to make the matter worse for CSIR, Ramasami is set to retire on April 30 as the government is unlikely to further extend his tenure. 

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