CBSE may remain headless

Selection of Srivastava for top post draws flak

 The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) might remain without a chief for an indefinite period of time, unless the new HRD minister intervenes to set right the “procedural impropriety” in the selection of an IPS officer for the top job.

In spite of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) raising questions about the selection procedure of Pragya Richa Srivastava—a 1991 batch Indian Police Service officer from the MP cadre—for the post of CBSE chairperson, former HRD Minister Arjun Singh had sent a note of recommendation to the DoPT in favour of her appointment.


“The DoPT has raised queries like why standard selection procedure was not followed. They asked why interviews were not held before selecting the candidate and search committees were not set up for screening applications and making shortlists,” a source told Deccan Herald. “But without responding to those queries Singh sent the note of recommendation to DoPT for appointing Srivastava citing it as an exigency since  the deputation period of the acting chairman Vineet Joshi is about to end in June,” he said.
The note was sent on May 15, the day Singh attended his office last time as the Human Resource Development Minister.

Though the DoPT officials were not available for comment an HRD Ministry official has said they are most likely to intervene to solve the impasse as the board, with more than 9,000 schools under its affiliation, is without a chief for almost a year.

Srivastava is reportedly close to Singh and her husband, also an IPS from MP. The couple  is also known to be Arjun Singh loyalist since the minister’s state politics days. 
Even though the Human Resource Development Ministry has taken shelter in the fact that Srivastava is now a Joint Commissioner in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, what they could not explain is the fact that she is looking after vigilance there and thus does not even have the stipulated experience in education administration.

There are two officers at that level in the KVS : Joint Comissioner (Admn) and Joint Commissioner (Academics), the latter being responsible for Education Administration in the KVS.

Moreover, as per the DoPT rule, an IPS officer like Srivastava can remain on deputation in another service—ex-cadre post — only for a maximum period of five years, which she is completing on August 15,  2009.

Cooling off period

She cannot be selected for continuous deputation in another ex-cadre post unless she completes a mandatory “cooling off” period of one year.

Selecting a police officer for such a post is without a precedent even in the state boards where only persons with expertise in education management are considered for such posts.
The erstwhile CBSE chairman Ashok Ganguly was a bureaucrat with sufficient experience in education administration.

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