Sonia Gandhi returns to head govt advisory panel | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sonia Gandhi returns to head govt advisory panel

United Progressive Alliance chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi returned as head of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on Monday, four years after quitting the post over an office-of-profit controversy. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2010 01:14 IST
HT Correspondent

United Progressive Alliance chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi returned as head of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on Monday, four years after quitting the post over an office-of-profit controversy.

Sonia will hold the rank and status of a cabinet minister, said a statement issued by the Cabinet Secretariat on Monday. She will hold the office for an unspecified period.

As NAC chief, Sonia will advise the government on policy matters, monitor flagship programmes such as the rural job scheme and prepare the ground for other pro-poor legislations, such as the Food Security Act.

In its term from June 4, 2004 to March 31, 2008, the NAC was instrumental in the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Right to Information Act.

Sonia quit the council and Lok Sabha on March 23, 2006 (NAC continued till it was disbanded in 2008) after the Opposition alleged the UPA government was bringing in an ordinance to redefine an office of profit in order to “save her from certain disqualification” as a member of Parliament.

An MP is prohibited from holding an office that gives him or her a salary or other monetary benefit. Some positions, such as a ministry, are exempt.

The NAC was not an exempted office when Sonia first occupied it. Now, it is.

Sonia returned to the House shortly after winning a re-election from Rae Bareli. It took her over four years, however, to return to the council.

Sonia’s tenure will be co-terminus with that of the NAC. And she will now be looking for council members, each for an extendable tenure of a year.