Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has put out monthly salary of all its officials on its website, information that is mandated to be public domain under the right to information (RTI) act and government guidelines.
The highest paid official, with a monthly salary of Rs 2 lakh, is additional-secretary rank official Bhaskar Khulbe.
Modi’s principal secretary Nripendra Mishra, additional principal secretary PK Mishra and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval – all of them higher than Khulbe in the pecking order – earn a monthly salary of Rs 1.6 lakh. This is because of a rule that requires the government to deduct the pension from the salary of retired civil servant on his re-employment.
The PMO has also promised to put out tour details of its officials soon.
It is a small step but most public bodies including the transparency watchdog, Central Information Commission and the Cabinet Secretariat circumvent this provision. Instead of giving the salary breakup, bodies such as the CIC and Cabinet Secretariat only make public the pay-scales of the officials.
“When the Constitution and the law mentions salary and perks of the President and Supreme Court judges, why should the CIC and Cabinet Secretariat opt for a lower standard,” asked RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak who had dragged the PMO to the CIC for going slow on proactive disclosures.
The salaries of the Prime Minister’s Office were made public even when the Manmohan Singh government was in power.