Vice-chairman, five members of NDMA put in their papers
Even as the controversy over the Narendra Modi government’s plan to ease out Governors plays out, the government has sent out signals that it would like the heads and members of various commissions, committees and other government-constituted groups to make way for its nominees.
This became evident on Thursday when it emerged that the Vice-Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), M. Sashidhar Reddy, and five of the eight members of the body had put in their papers.
Mr. Reddy said that after the change of government at the Centre, he felt it imperative to quit the body to enable Prime Minister Modi, the chairperson of the authority, to reconstitute it.
There are several national commissions, councils, committees and groups to which appointments are made by the government — those which exist by virtue of a statute and those which function under the supervision of the Centre. The NDMA is a statutory body by virtue of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Legally and technically speaking, the terms for removal of the head and members of bodies such as the NDMA are the same as those for Governors. Since most of the appointments to these bodies are political, it is a convention for the members to quit when there is a regime change. Mr. Reddy is a Congress leader.
There are also statutory bodies such as the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Minorities and Backward Classes and Women whose functions are clearly defined by law.
There are indications that the government would like to reconstitute bodies such as the National Commission for Women (NCW), currently headed by Mamta Sharma, the ICCR led by Karan Singh and the SC/ST Commission under the Chairmanship of P.L. Punia.
All the three chairpersons are or were associated with the Congress.
Some NDMA members confirmed that Home Secretary Anil Goswami called them on Wednesday, asking them to resign in the wake of the change of government.