No work, yet House secys paid Rs 15 cr
Chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSs) in Punjab have enjoyed ministerial perks and perquisites worth Rs 15 crore over the past three years though they have had little to show by way of work.india Updated: Jul 09, 2010 00:15 IST
Chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSs) in Punjab have enjoyed ministerial perks and perquisites worth Rs 15 crore over the past three years though they have had little to show by way of work.
This came to light through a Right to Information enquiry.
This stratum of office-holders comes below ministers and above secretaries. It comes in handy in accommodating politicians who could not be given ministerial berths owing to Constitutional restrictions on cabinet size. However, ministers often resent their presence because they are seen to be encroaching on the former’s area of operation.
CPSs hold office during the pleasure of the chief minister. They are supposed to scrutinise files as they move from secretary to minister, but seldom get a chance to do so.
The CPSs, 13 in number, have not been allocated specific work by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. This has been a reason for unhappiness among most of them.
But as regards perks, they are virtually on a par with ministers. Besides chambers in the civil secretariat and salaries, the CPSs have official vehicles and quarters, personal staff, telephones, foreign travel facilities, etc.
In addition to these expenses, there is the cost of providing them security.
When contacted, Avinash Chander, CPS, health and family welfare, said: “The government must allocate official business to us as we can supplement the efforts of the minister concerned.”
However, the majority of CPSs privately say ministers and senior bureaucrats are not in favour of allocating work to them. Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla had openly objected to inspections of civil hospitals done by Chander in Jalandhar and Phillaur.
CPS (Water Supply and Sanitation) Chaudhary Nand Lal, however, said he was happy with the arrangement. “Whenever I recommend any work to the department, it is done on priority,” he said.
When Amarinder Singh was CM (2002-07), he took away CPSs’ powers to see official files. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the CM was aware of the problem and would take a decision soon.