Dilip Rath, the controversial chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), failed to receive an extension from the Union government. Until a full-time chairman is appointed, the government has asked Varsha Joshi, who is joint secretary in the ministry of animal husbandry & dairying, to take charge as the chairman of NDDB. The process to appoint a full-time chairman for NDDB has been initiated at the ministry level.
According to sources, Mr Rath, whose tenure as chairman of NDDB ended on 30 November 2020, was denied an extension, “his tenure ended under a cloud and he was not even extended the courtesy of handing over charge to his successor before demitting office”!
Sources say, Mr Rath’s publicity blitz over the last month and claim to being the only Indian after Dr Amrita Patel (former chairperson of NDDB) to be elected to the board of the International Dairy Federation (IDF), and widespread use of social media to showcase his achievements, did not go well with people in government.
has previously written about Mr Rath’s controversial appointment. He joined NDDB months after taking voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). He was already on the board of NDDB as a government nominee for some time. Attempts by whistle-blowers and insiders to procure information on Mr Rath's appointments, first as managing director (MD) and then as chairman of NDDB, have been stonewalled. (Read: NDDB Chief Dilip Rath Retiring This Month, Leaving Several Questions Unanswered on His Appointment Itself
Mr Rath had joined the NDDB as its MD on 1 December 2011 after taking early retirement from the IAS. He was also acting as mission director in the World Bank assisted scheme, National Dairy Plan (NDP), which is being implemented by the Indian government through NDDB.
He was brought to NDDB by the then chairperson Dr Patel. On her retirement in 2014, she was immediately made chairman of the management committee for semen station and breeding at NDDB Dairy Services (NDS) with excellent perks. Many saw this as a reciprocal gesture.
Earlier, in 2010, Dr Patel was also made a permanent invitee to the board of NDS. When Dr Patel retired in 2014, T Nanda Kumar was appointed as chairman of NDDB, but resigned within two years.
Mr Rath, then the MD, was given additional charge as chairman until the appointment of a regular incumbent.
Mr Rath's term as chairman of NDDB ended on 1 December 2018. On 3 December 2018, the government issued a notification (S.O. 5949(E)) extending Mr Rath's first term 'until further orders'. He got a two-year extension on 6 March 2019.
According to information available in the public domain and from the right to information (RTI) replies, Mr Rath, a 1979 batch IAS, was serving as additional chief secretary in the government of West Bengal. On 5 October 2011, he appeared for an interview for the post of MD at NDDB. On 11th November, he took voluntary retirement and, on 1 December 2011, he was appointed MD of NDDB.
Replies received under RTI from the department of personnel and training (DoPT) and NDDB reveal that Mr Rath, a serving IAS officer, never sought permission from the government before applying or appearing for an interview at NDDB for the post of MD. He also did not seek previous sanction of the Central government for accepting employment as MD of NDDB which, as per evidence now available, is commercial employment as per the explanation to Rule 26(1) of the AIS (DCRB) Rules 1958. Such clearance through proper (internal) channel is required while applying for any outside post.
Interestingly, NDDB’s advertisement for the post of MD in 2011 asked candidates to write directly to the NDDB chairman (Dr Patel was heading NDDB then).
In March 2020, replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, had stated that the All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules1958 do not apply to NDDB. He also conveyed that the involvement of the Central government, or any of its departments or agencies in the recruitment of MD of NDDB does not arise, since the service conditions, pay and appointment of NDDB employees are governed by the respective regulations made under the NDDB Act.
"This itself proves that NDDB is a private organisation and employment in such an organisation by an officer who has just retired from service in the central government must necessarily either seek prior government approval (through DoPT) to join NDDB within one year of retirement or alternatively wait out the cooling period of one year before taking up employment in NDDB," a whistleblower had pointed out to us.