Chetan Chauhan, two-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and vice president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), has been appointed chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).
Chauhan, 68, who is also a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India official, runs a cricket academy and owns a newsprint business. He was chosen for the NIFT job, he told the Indian Express, for his cricketing and banking experience. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and said, “Preference is given to people in the party.”
According to the NIFT Act 2006, the chairperson of the board of governors should be “an eminent academician, scientist or technologist or professional”. The term lasts for three years.
Chauhan said that he would “spend 60% of [his] time in DDCA, 20% at NIFT and 20% in [his] business”.
NIFT is a statutory body under the textile ministry. The ministry proposes names for the positions of the chairman and board members, and the president approves them.
The board of governors takes the administrative and financial decisions, and three sub-committees implement the decisions. Of these, the chairman of the board heads the Standing Committee on Establishment Matters. The other two sub-committees – the Finance and Audit Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee – have their own heads.
The chairman of the board has the additional power to review, with others, certain senior academic and administrative positions at the institute.
NDTV reports that Twitter has been “in splits” over the cricketer’s appointment.
Chauhan’s follows a series of controversial appointments since the BJP’s coming to power at the Centre: in October, 2015, BJP member and television actor Gajendra Chauhan was named president of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, triggering protests and criticism by students, filmmakers and academics.