PNGRB chairman interviews this week, IOC’s Gurmeet Singh may be the front runner

PNGRB chairman interviews this week, IOC’s Gurmeet Singh may be the front runner

Interviews to select a new head of oil regulator PNGRB are slated to be held this week, with former IOC director-marketing Gurmeet Singh being considered the favourite. A Search Committee headed by V K Saraswat, Member (S&T), Niti Aayog, will interview shortlisted candidates on June 2 to select the new Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), two sources aware of the matter said.

The panel — which also comprises secretaries to the ministries of oil, and commerce, secretary legal affairs and economic affairs secretary — will interview at least seven shortlisted candidates.

Singh, who superannuated from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) last month, is considered a favourite after his candidature was ‘endorsed’ by the Oil Secretary – who is also a member of the Search Committee, they said.

While previously only those who have retired as chairman of public sector firms or senior bureaucrats were considered for the PNGRB top job, directors of PSUs were included in the selection universe by the Search Committee at its meeting on January 15.

Such candidates, however, should have been affirmed by any member of the panel. Singh’s candidature was endorsed by the Oil Secretary, according to the minutes of the meeting.

While the spokesperson of the oil ministry did not respond to emails sent for comments, an official said the Committee wanted more candidates to be included for consideration and so more names were sought.

Since the panel is a search-cum-selection committee, it or its members could pick candidates with a good background for consideration. And going by this criteria, Singh was ‘endorsed’ by the oil secretary.

Members of the committee have been asked to suggest more candidates with good standing, who can be interviewed.

Other candidates shortlisted for the interview on June 2 include retired bureaucrats Avinash Kumar Srivastava and Ravi Kapoor, Subba Rao, Senior Economic Advisor in MEITY, former ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker and former ONGC director Sanjay Kumar Moitra.

The post of Chairman, PNGRB, has been lying vacant since December 4, 2020, when Dinesh K Sarraf completed his three-year term.

The Board, which comprises four members besides the chairman, is almost defunct with just one serving member.

The Search Committee has selected former GAIL directors Gajendra Singh and A K Tiwari to fill posts of two members. Interviews to select member (legal) will also be held shortly, the sources said.

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