Asked to resign from IAS, Kaushik declines SEBI job

PALAK SHAH Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018

Chooses to become Principal Secretary of Kerala

Sanjeev Kaushik, the 1992 batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, who was appointed a whole-time member (WTM) with capital markets regulator SEBI has declined the offer.

Kaushik (48) has nearly 12 years of government service left but was asked to resign by the Central government to take up the job at SEBI, where he was appointed a WTM for a period of three years. Kaushik, currently on deputation with the Finance Ministry, has instead chosen to go back to Kerala to take up the post of Principal Secretary, a source told BusinessLine.

The government has made it mandatory for IAS officers to resign from service if they were to take up the job of WTM with SEBI. A government representative from the Finance Ministry already sits on the SEBI board and the idea is to avoid having another IAS officer on the regulator’s board to maintain is ‘autonomy and independence,’ the source said. Yet, the appointment of the SEBI chairman is done with approval from the Prime Minister’s Office and even the post of executive director can be filled by government officers on deputation.

Kaushik had requested to the government that he be allowed to go to SEBI on deputation but that has been rejected, the source said.

When contacted, Kaushik said he was waiting a favourable outcome of his application and declined to comment further.

Counter view

There is a counter view to the government’s argument that a rule not allowing IAS officers to go on deputation to SEBI may make it difficult for the government to find younger and specialised talent from the pool of officers. No IAS officer would like to take up a three-year job when he has more than 10 years or more of service left with the government.

KM Abraham, another Kerala cadre IAS officer, was the last WTM who had come on government deputation to serve on the SEBI board till 2012. He is now the Cabinet Secretary to Kerala government and Kaushik is likely to join under Abraham. Earlier, SEBI mainly attracted retired officers to fill the post of WTM.

When Rajeev Agarwal, the 1983 batch officer joined SEBI as WTM, he had to resign from government service even though he had around seven years left before retirement. Then, Agarwal was appointed for five years.

Ajay Tyagi, the current SEBI chairman, was a 1984 batch IAS from officer Himachal Pradesh. He too had to resign from administrative service after the government notified his SEBI appointment last year. Initially, Tyagi was appointed for five years but another notice said the appointment had been cut short to three years. But Tyagi is 58 years old and had only two years of government service left.

The retirement age for SEBI board members is 65 years. In contrast, G Mahalingam, the newly-appointed WTM at SEBI, has been given a five-year term. He came to SEBI from the RBI where he was executive director and a regional director.

Hunt for two more WTMs

With Kaushik declining the job, SEBI now has to hunt for two WTMs as the regulator recently created one more post for a WTM. The whole process of interview will be re-conducted, the source said.

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Published on January 22, 2018
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