ISRO’s Single Person Multiple Post Situation

The Parliamentary Estimates Committee asked ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan whether it was legal for him to be holding 4 positions – Chairman, ISRO; Chairman, Space Comission; Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Antrix Corporation. It seems to be legal since every Chairman since Vikram Sarabhai has held these posts since the 1960s.

The question raises an interesting point. This may be a special arrangement done for high technology departments in the 1960s like the nuclear Department of Atomic Energy to enable easy and quick decision making and also enable smoother functioning. It remains to be seen if this has been misused.

This ‘concentration of power’ has never seemingly been questioned before. The mixture of the failure of GSLV and the Antrix-DEVAS deal seems to have brought this question to the fore.

This multiplicity of posts may have been created to satisfy Government requirements. However, having one person in charge may cause problems related to transparency, accountability and decision making.

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