Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved ex-post facto curtailment of tenures of OSDs (officers on special duty) of Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani. This seemingly bureaucratic development has sparked controversy, with a few opposition leaders alleging that the OSDs were “sacked”.
As per the separate orders issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) on Tuesday, the tenure of Piyush Goyal’s OSD Anuj Gupta was curtailed with effect from March 7, 2023, while the tenure of Irani’s OSD Devanshi Viren Shah ended on January 31, 2023.
The DoPT records show that Devanshi was appointed as an OSD to Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani on September 16, 2019, for a period of five years with the date of assumption of the charge of the post. She was appointed on a co-terminus basis with the minister in the Ministry of Textiles. However, when Irani relinquished charge of the Textiles ministry in July 2021, Devanshi was appointed as OSD to the Women and Child Development minister of three years, two months and seven days, according to an office memorandum issued by the DoPT on August 19, 2021.
Congress leader Supriya Shrinate slammed Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal for allegedly sacking their OSDs and asked if the OSDs were being made the “fall guys.” “Why have OSDs of Smt Smriti Irani and Shri Piyush Goyal been sacked? What wrong did they do? Could they possibly be the fall guys? Why must we not know the truth? Will the ministers speak up?”
In a tweet, Devanshi said that she had resigned due to “family obligations”. “Ms@SupriyaShrinate, I chose to resign due to family obligations to look after elderly & was not sacked. It has been an honour to work with
@smritiirani Ma’am & serve my country. I’d request you not to publicly mar my future as a professional just to settle scores with Min Irani,” Devanshi tweeted in response to a tweet by Shrinate.