With the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman J S Sarma retiring on Monday, and the government yet to name a successor, the telecom regulatory body would be headless, at least for the time being.
The Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body of the telecommunications ministry, had suggested the names of a few candidates, but a final decision is yet to be arrived at.
According to government sources, Sarma would be given an extension till the time a replacement is found, or an interim successor named. One name doing rounds was that of commerce secretary Rahul Khullar, but nothing has been finalised yet.
Providing an extension to Sarma would be difficult as it requires Parliamentary approval and TRAI would be headless at least for sometime now. The vacancy somes at a time when the industry is up in arms against the regulator's recent proposal on auctioning airwaves in various parts of the frequency spectrum.
However, there were many incidents when government organisations were rendered headless, and were on auto-pilot.
An example would be that of ONGC, when the oil-refiner's chairman retired on 31 January 2011. Even though, two acting chairmen were appointed during this period, the new chairman was only named in March this year.