Neelam Kapoor set to be youngest PIB chief

March 17th, 2009 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Neelam Kapoor is set to be the youngest chief of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), a position that will make her the principal spokesperson of the Government of India.
The information and broadcasting ministry has cleared the appointment of the 51-year-old Kapoor, a 1982 batch Indian Information Service officer, who is currently director general of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP). Her appointment is, however, yet to be approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Kapoor is expected to take charge of the PIB as the principal director general April 1, sources in the ministry said.

If her appointment is approved by the ACC, she could hold the position for the next nine years, which will make her the longest-serving spokesperson of the government. However, there is nothing that prevents the government from appointing another senior officer from other allied services if it chooses to, but it will have to find credible reasons for doing so, reliable sources said.

Kapoor, who will replace Umakant Misra, a 1973 batch IIS officer, will get the top job in the PIB largely due to a quirk in the recruitment process in the late seventies. Between 1974 and 1982, there was a freeze on recruitment to the IIS due to court cases involving direct recruits to the IIS promotees to the services.

The freeze in those years has made Kapoor the seniormost IIS officer and, therefore, a natural choice for the top position in the PIB that is equivalent to the rank of special secretary in the Government of India. In the much-coveted Indian Administrative Service (IAS), an officer of 1979 batch has yet to be promoted to the rank of additional secretary.

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