Nikalna Khuld Se Aadam Ka Sunte Aaye The Lekin,
Bade Be-Aabru Hokar Tere Kooche Se hum Nikle.
It is one of the most unceremonious exit of a secretary from the telecom ministry. J. S. Deepak was shifted to the Commerce ministry as OSD, on March 1, after the government upgraded this post from director to secretary. Three months later he will join as India’s ambassador to the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO) till the date of his superannuation.
He was in Barcelona attending Mobile World Congress (MWC) when the government announced his transfer order on Wednesday, which was with “immediate effect”. It must be an embarrassment for Deepak as he must have lined up official meetings in MWC.
Deepak is considered as a dynamic and honest IAS officer. His tenure as telecom secretary was quite successful. When he joined as telecom secretary in January last year, he had a lot of challenges to face – auction of spectrum, call drop problem, implementation of NOFN. Later some TRAI decisions related to the entry of a new operator created its own issues.
He was successful in auctioning spectrum, something he has gained expertise in over last seven years. He sorted out many issues in the sector and was not seen as biased towards any group of operators.
One of the last decisions of Telecom Commission as Deepak its chairman was to apprise TRAI of the “alarming decline” in government revenue due to its recent tariff orders and its overall negative impact on the growth of the industry.
I am sure the government must have considered various facts before shifting Deepak from telecom ministry. However, a few questions remain unanswered:
1. What was the hurry to shift Deepak from Telecom ministry. The government could not even wait for one day for MWC to complete.
2. Why was the emergency that the government had to shift him even before finding his replacement.
3. Why he was shifted to Commerce ministry as OSD that was a director level position and was upgraded to accommodate him.
4. Why couldn’t the government wait for three months when the tenure of existing Ambassador would be over and he would join WTO.
Sometimes, arbitrary decisions of the government regarding transfers and postings demoralise the whole bureaucracy. Hope it is not such a case.