Amid protests by Trinamool Congress, the NDA government on Friday introduced the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (amendment) bill to facilitate the appointment of former Trai chairman Nripendra Misra as the Prime Minister’s principal secretary.
The bill seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated by it on May 28 to allow the Trai chairperson and whole-time members to accept employment after two years from the date from which they cease to hold office.
Moments after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan introduced the bill, TMC members led by Saugata Roy sprang to their feet, saying that the bill was being brought to facilitate the appointment of one individual and that this violated the rules of procedure.
Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected the objection saying there was “no merit in it”.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said, “They found only one person in one billion plus to be the principal secretary of the Prime Minister.”
Meanwhile, referring to the bill, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley told CNN-IBN, “The Prime Minister has right to choose his staff. This is sheer politics by the opposition and the Congress. Just because they are upset over the Leader of Opposition post in the Lok Sabha and Income Tax notice, they are doing this.”
Misra — a 1967 batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre — joined the PMO the day the government promulgated the ordinance to remove the existing legal hurdles for his appointment.
Before the promulgation of the ordinance, the TraiAct had prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in central or state governments after demitting office.
The BJP, meanwhile, has issued a whip to its members to support the bill, which is likely to be taken up on Wednesday after the completion of discussions on the rail budget on Tuesday.