Chairmen of the state legislative bodies want officials and people to take them seriously. And they believe, cars with red beacon lights will do just that.
Members of the Legislative Assembly and Council, who head the 30 legislative committees, have demanded that they be given the status of Minister of State (MoS).
Getting the status of MoS means these legislators will be treated as VVIPs with benefits like cars with beacon lights, increased remuneration and daily allowances, and office staff.
The request was made in a function at the Legislature [Vidhan Bhavan] on Wednesday morning where these committees were formed.
“Our role is to keep a check on programmes and policies, and their implementation, conduct audits and see if the money has been put to good use,” said Dilip Mohite, Chairman of the legislative Estimates Committee.
“But we often come across officers who do not pay heed to our letters or, requests. Some don’t even answer queries making it difficult for us to give reports in time. So we need an upgrade in status.”
Legislature committees work with the Legislature on several issues. There are committees for budget estimates, social projects, Panchayat Raj and women and child rights.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Pandurang Phundkar, agreed with Mohite. “A legislative committee has an important place in governance and the chairman should be given MoS status,” Phundkar said. “The chairman and speaker of the legislature should make a representation to the chief minister. Officers who do not cooperate with committees should be punished.”
Chairman of the Legislature, Dilip Walse Patil, said members of the committees also have a role to play. “Often, we see that members do not attend meetings and or play a proactive role. Audits for several programs are long overdue,” said Patil. “We will take up the issue of upgrading the status with the CM and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.”