A small housing society in Greater Noida became a controversial issue for the government when it was asked to decide on the status of people working in Parliament.
The question was whether they are government servants or not. For many, those working in Parliament are government servants. But, as per rules, only those appointed by or on behalf of the President and whose pension is charged from the consolidated fund of India are government servants.
The employees of Parliament fall somewhere between the two. They are not appointed by the President but receive pension from the consolidated fund of India. To ensure autonomy of the legislature, they are appointed on the orders of the presiding officers of the two houses — Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
But, some officials working in the two houses want to end this ambiguity and claim flats meant for the central government employees.
The Central Government Employees Welfare Housing Corporation (CGEWHO) — mandated to build houses for government employees — earlier this year had sought applications for buying flats at a premier location in Greater Noida at a highly subsidised rate.
The ministry for housing and urban poverty alleviation, which manages CGEWHO, received representations from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Employees Associations for including them under the priority category meant for serving and retired Central government officials, including spouses of deceased employees.
As the issue was also raised in the Lok Sabha through a question, the ministry decided to seek legal opinion and decided to settle the issue once for all.
The final decision is that the officials of Parliament cannot be considered Central government employees. Moreover, ministry officials say that Parliament employees got houses at subsidised rates from different land-owning agencies only because they are not covered under the CGEWHO.
With the issue being settled, the housing organisation has now decided to issue draw of lots for 1,240 flats on next Friday. Over 4,500 applicants for the flats have been found to be eligible and around 450, mostly from Parliament, ineligible.