New Delhi: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of distinguished scientist S. Somanath, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) to the post of Secretary, Department of Space (DoS) and Chairman, Space Commission for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining of the post, inclusive of an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in public interest, or until further orders whichever is earlier.
Somnath’s appointment comes two days before the retirement of the present Secretary DoS and ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Sivan.
The outgoing ISRO chief Dr K. Sivan’s tenure has been marred by failures and major setbacks to India’s Space Programme, controversies and alleged irregularities.
S Somnath, while he was Director Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, was promoted to the Apex Scale equivalent to the post of Secretary in Government of India in December 2019.
Somnath was elevated from Level-16 in the Pay Matrix (Rs 2,05,400-224400) to the Apex Scale, Level-17 in the Pay Matrix (Rs. 2,25000) under Merit Promotion Scheme (MPS with effect from 1 January 2020.
On his promotion to the Apex Scale equivalent to the post of Secretary in Government of India, Newsroom24x7 had predicted in December 2019 that Somnath will be the next Secretary DoS.
Whispersinthecorridors, a web portal that claims to “specialise” in the journalism of predicting transfers and postings had stated on 19 November 2021 on the basis of inputs from “insiders” that Sivan may get another extension in 2022. The prediction by this portal has gone haywire this time. The Whispersinthecorridors news raises the big question: who are these insiders who know nothing?