Monday, April 12, 2021


Numero Uno

Snehlata Shrivastava, IAS, Secretary General, Lok Sabha, now has the distinction of becoming the first woman Secretary General of India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha. A notification to the effect was issued by the Secretariat of the Lower House. The new appointment came days before the winter session of Parliament commenced on December 15. She graduated in the 1982-batch as an IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, and she recently retired as a senior civil servant with 35 years of rich and varied administrative experience. In her new designation, she will now hold the rank and status of Cabinet Secretary with effect from December 1.  Her tenure will end on November 30, 2018. Prior to her new appointment, she has held several important positions in the Madhya Pradesh Government, as well as at the Centre. During her IAS career, she has served in several capacities, including as Secretary in the Ministry of Law and Justice — which was her second stint in the Law Ministry. Earlier, she was a Joint Secretary in the same Department. She was also Special/Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.  She has held several senior positions in the Madhya Pradesh government, including as Principal Secretary in the Ministries of Culture and Parliamentary Affairs. She is a native of Madhya Pradesh, and holds an MPhil in Economics, Geography, and Regional Planning. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). An advocate of e-governance, she is known to encourage all Ministry officials to adopt e-filing.




Flight Commander

Pradeep Singh Kharola, IAS, Chairman & Managing Director, Air India (AI), has the difficult job of piloting the crippled airliner out of turbulent weather to a smooth landing for eager suitors watching it struggle to land intact. A 1985-batch Karnataka Cadre IAS officer, he earned the moniker ‘Turnaround Man’ after turning loss making Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), into profitability in 2000. He has a tougher job now; to keep AI from stalling speed on a `50,000 crore debt burden and transfer its `30,000 crore non-aviation assets/ loans to a separate company on one hand, and negotiate prospective buyers left with only aviation-related assets of `20,000 crore, including loans, on the other hand. His job has turned more difficult now because government may not infuse `21,000 crore of promised equity once AI is privatised. However, AI still remains attractive to prospective buyers due to its rich assets, including intangibles like airport slots and international flying rights. AI has 17 per cent share of traffic on routes linking India to international destinations, and 13 per cent in domestic market. SBI Caps, appointed advisor on disinvestment plans, has constituted five teams to work on various aspects of stake sale process. AI’s real estate assets are being collated, sale process will continue parallel to disinvestment process, which typically takes nine months to a year. Kharola’s job is to ensure AI’s new owners do not indulge in asset stripping and let AI crash in the end. Prospective buyer are mostly competitors, including; founders Tata Group, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, which runs IndiGo, Bird Group, and Turkey’s Celebi, all are interested in buying parts of AI. Expressions of interest for transaction advisers and law firms have been invited and the shortlist is almost complete, but Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is yet to announce transaction advisors formally. An Delhi, and Masters— Asian Institute of Management, Kharola’s expertise in PPP, and raising funds from global institutions, are excellent credentials to pilot AI to a safe, albeit bumpy landing.

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