Wednesday , 22 May 2019

Govt spends Rs 8.70 cr annually on personal staff of ministers

PANAJI: The government annually spends Rs 8.70 crore on the personal staff of the members of the state cabinet, which is the highest core group looking after the state administration.

The information received from the department of general administration states that the Chief Minister as well as the eleven ministers of his cabinet have collectively 189 personal staff members, in their offices, ranging from the officers on special duties and private secretaries to peons and drivers. A total expenditure of Rs 72.55 lakh is incurred on this staff per month.

The office of the Chief Minister, which employs the highest number of staff – 26 – including a principal secretary, a secretary, an additional secretary, four officers on special duty, a special assistant, a private secretary, two additional private secretaries, an undersecretary, two senior assistants and four junior assistants among others, incurs a monthly expenditure of Rs 15.72 lakh on them.

The Minister for Health has the next highest number of staff members – 17 – and spends Rs 6.78 lakh on their monthly salaries, while the Minister for Town and Country Planning has the lowest number of staff members – 9 – and spends Rs 3.66 lakh on their salaries, every month.

The Minister for Urban Development, the Minister for Art and Culture, the Minister for Tourism, the Minister for Panchayati Raj and the Minister for Power have 16 personal staff members each, while the Minister for Public Works, the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Water Resources, all have 15 personal staff members each.

Most of the ministers have one officer on special duty, while the Minister for Art and Culture, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Panchayati Raj and Minister for Health have two.

The individual monthly salaries of the staff members in the offices of these ministers range from Rs 23,823 to Rs 1,88,190, depending upon the posts held.

Many of these staff members working on high positions are government employees on deputation sourced from various government departments, while those on lower posts are recruited on co-terminus basis. In some cases, retired government employees have been appointed on co-terminus basis.

In many of the cases, the qualifications of these staff members are not available on record, and further not insisted by the department in which he or she is employed, since the qualification of the post is not specified. Employees on such posts include private secretaries to the minister, junior assistants and drivers.

Furthermore, the office of the leader of the Opposition has 14 staff members, with a collective monthly salary of Rs 3,57,325 paid to them. Interestingly, termination note has been received by the department of general administration as regards four of the staff members of this office working as personal assistant, junior assistant, driver and peon. Incidentally, there are more than one persons recruited on these four posts.