State’s new PPP model: Govt jobs for private firm
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Its mandate is to execute public-private partnership projects under Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's watch. But the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) seems to have taken the PPP route even for government recruitments.
Three out of four posts filled by the board went to employees of a single company — Ascenture Management Services — a private service provider to which PIDB has outsourced some of its work. Not only was a selection panel member dropped for giving a dissenting note that deputation be given preference over direct appointment on contract, the eligibility criteria was tweaked to suit qualifications of Ascenture employees. Also, a special clause in the contract agreement ensured their pay was protected on lines of those on deputation!
The executive committee of the board headed by then Punjab Chief Secretary SC Agrawal in 2010 gave its approval to fill up seven posts in the board — three of AGMs/senior managers through deputation or direct appointment on contract, two (deputy controller and section officer) strictly through deputation and two (private secretary to managing director and clerk-cum-record keeper) through direct appointment on contract. While no effort was made to fill the first three posts through deputation, the two "deputation only" posts have not been filled at all.
Finally five posts— three "deputation or contract" posts for AGMs/senior managers, one for private secretary and one for clerk-cum record keeper — were advertised on August 29 to September 1, 2010. After applications were received, technical advisor and selection committee member, RS Sandhu, who was on deputation to the board from the PWD (B&R) department wrote a dissenting note on October 1, 2010. "From the documents, it is not clear whether the option of deputation, which should have been given preference, has been exercised or not. Also, in future to bring transparency in the evaluation process, merit criteria should be prepared before inviting applications."
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