Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Plum posting follows help with Lokpal bill

The govt very much works (when it wants to): Alka Sirohi appointed UPSC member

GN Bureau | January 3, 2012

Alka Sirohi, secretary to the department of personnel, has been appointed a member of the Union Public Service Commission. This much-sought-after posting comes after she helped coordinate the drafting and redrafting the Lokpal bill.

Sirohi, an IAS officer of 1974 seniority from Madhya Pradesh cadre, is to retire on January 31, 2012. UPA2 has gone out of the way to appoint her to this position on January 2 so that she can assume office of member UPSC before her birthday (January 4). The hidden benefit is this: if she joins the new office on January 3, Sirohi shall have a full five-year tenure and also better pension prospects.

The lightning speed with which the department of personnel worked to complete the process of accepting Alka Sirohi's voluntary retirment from IAS on Tuesday and how the signatures of cabinet secretary Ajit Seth and the principal secretary to the prime minister Pulok Chatterjee were affixed on Sirohi's resignation letter is a story itself. It all happened in just three hours.

Sirohi rendered all administrative assistance to speed up the Lokpal bill for its introuduction in parliament. Also there is another angle to it. She is the first 1974 IAS officer to get a constitutional position. And she should be indebted to Pulok Chatterjee, who incidentally also her batchmate.

Sirohi in 2009 landed UPA into a crisis with her affidavit before the supreme court on rotting food grain. On the basis of that affidavit the apex court made stinging remarks on on the government's food grain distribution policy. Yet, she remained in UPA's good books and was appointed secretary personnel.



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