SEBI’s decision to appoint GP Garg as executive director (ED) has sparked a “strong protest” from the market regulator’s employee association, which has objected to the practice of appointing outside persons or those from non-core streams.
In a letter dated August 21 to Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi, the Sebi’s Employee Association (SEA) said: “we strongly protest the decision to ignore and sideline general stream officers in ED level promotion.”
The appointment is a deviation from established practice followed in organisations like the Reserve Bank of India, it says.
SEA said employees feel “betrayed, shocked and devalued” on the side-lining of general stream candidates for promotion as ED despite more than 25 years of work in core operational areas of SEBI.
Sebi employees have been engaging in a dialogue over the issue of ED appointments covering internal versus external and also on the issue of stream segregation.
The issue intensified prior to the appointment of Garg, where the employees have raised their contention with the chairman through a letter on June 26 and August 12.
Garg, who holds a degree in engineering, law and management is associated with Sebi since 1994 and only last week promoted to ED.
His appointment amplifies the matter as SEA believes that long stint in an organisation does not justify the promotion. “A promotion to a leadership position is not merely a recognition of long service, but also a measure of the work done and experience in areas where leadership is expected.
It further said that the principle, which was followed for appointment of ED law, has been completely ignored in the latest ED promotion exercise. The approach this time has been inconsistent with earlier practice and against all understanding that held with SEA on the subject, letter pointed out.
The letter pointed out that for the 600 officers performing core operational functions in Sebi, there are only five ED positions of total nine and general stream continues to be grossly under-represented in the leadership position in Sebi.
SEA further stated that failure to maintain stream-wise segregation in reporting structures have already led to a lot of bitterness and resentment across streams.
The risk of decision making in Sebi is taken by general stream officers who have faced several challenges over the years in performance of their duties and have always done the heavy lifting in SEBI. However, the rewards have gone disproportionately to “outsiders” and now to other streams, letter said.
The regulator had early this month amended the eligibility criteria for the post of ED, by restricting the position to internal candidates working only as legal professionals. However, it was not followed in the recent appointment.
Sebi’s general stream employees fear that the upcoming vacancy for two ED positions would also get filed by outsiders or the existing EDs —Sujit Prasad and Anand Baiwar, may get extension for three more years. Both the EDs tenure ending in October and November respectively.
The letter also highlighted that how general stream has been contributed in core working strength in Sebi and despite that highest numbers of ED position is being filed by outsiders and in remaining ones, non-core streams get priority.