In a move seen as a bid to clean up the administration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have advised his council of ministers on Wednesday not to have their relatives as personal staff in the ministry. Modi has also asked ministers to discourage nepotism and granting government contracts to relatives and friends.
“Modi wants his team to practice probity in public dealing. He is leading from the front. He even did not invite his family members for the swearing in ceremony,” a cabinet minister told HT.
The department of personnel and training had issued a directive on May 26 — the day Narendra Modi and 45 other leaders took oath of office — asking all ministries and department to ensure strict compliance of procedure for all appointments, including officers on special duty (OSDs), in the personal staff of the ministries.
“…prior approval of the ACC is required for appointment in the minister’s personal staff (other than the private secretary) at deputy secretary and above level. For appointment of PS, ACC approval is required…” reads the office memo issued by the DoPT. Incidentally, a couple of ministers in the previous NDA government under Atal Bihar Vajpayee had courted controversy in appointing their children as their OSD.
The previous UPA government had also got bad press after a series of scam were unearthed involving ministers and their personal staff.
The most recent example was that of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
He had appointed a distant relative as his officers on special duty. His nephew Vijay Singla was allegedly found complicit in the cash-for-postings scam that led to Bansal’s sacking as the rail minister.