The Indian government has given an additional charge for the post of Telecom Secretary to the current power secretary, Pradeep Kumar Pujari, according to a notification issued on Thursday by the Secretariat of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Department of Personnel and Training.
“The Competent Authority has approved the assignment of additional charge of the post of Secretary, Department of Telecommunications to Pradeep Kumar Pujari, IAS (GJ: 1981), Secretary, Ministry of Power with immediate effect until further order,” the notification reads.
Pujari, who is a 1981 batch IAS officer of the Gujarat Cadre, will hold the additional charge for telecom with immediate effect from March 9. He, however, is set to retire in June this year.
Former telecom secretary JS Deepak, a 1982 batch IAS of UP cadre, was removed from the telecom post with immediate effect. He was subsequently named India’s next representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) from June this year.Deepak’s removal followed his letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) seeking action against Reliance Jio’s ‘promotional offer’.
Deepak was attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona when the order made public through a notice. According to reports, his letter to Trai again Jio’s promotional offer could be one of the many reasons behind his sudden transfer. He had written to the telecom regulator asking it to restrict the period of ‘promotional tariffs’ offered by telcos which can stretch up to 90 days. Reliance Jio’s promotional offers trigged the ongoing tariff war in the industry.
In his letter, he had said that such offers might impact the sector, which may in turn default on its loan repayments if the ongoing financial stress continues. “There appears to be an urgent need to revisit and review its tariff orders in the larger interest of the government revenues as well as the telecom sector,” Deepak had written in his letter on February 23 to Trai chairman RS Sharma.