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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Telangana 'Parliamentary Secretaries' Drawing More Than 2 Lakhs Monthly And Enjoying Without Responsibilities

Telangana Government Pays About Rs 2 Lakh A Month To Six Members of Parliamentary Secretaries And Has Not Assigned Them Responsibilities.

They have chambers, staff, official vehicle and liberal cash to spend. But there is only one catch: They have no work to do.

Over two months after they were appointed parliamentary secretaries in the government by the TRS regime, the six of them complain that they have been given the perks but no responsibilities. 

As a result, their posts have ended up as merely ornamental and a burden on the exchequer as the state government has given them the status of minister of state (MoS), enabling them to draw a salary of about Rs 2 lakh a month including perks and allowances on a par with their ministers.

The parliamentary secretaries (PS) say they are ready to discharge their duties, but that the ministers whom they are attached to have not been giving them any work. Some say they were not even invited to any review meetings.

The six parliamentary secretaries, all of them MLAs, are D Vinaya Bhaskar, Jalagam Venkat Rao, V Srinivas Goud, G Kishore Kumar, V Satish Kumar and Kova Laxmi. They were appointed on December 29, 2014, by the state government, mainly to accommodate those who wanted to join the cabinet but could not make it.

While both Vinaya Bhaskar and Venkat Rao have been attached to the chief minister's of fice, Srinivas Goud is with the revenue, relief and rehabilitation, stamps and registrations department, Kishore Kumar with the medical and health department, Satish Kumar with education and Kova Laxmi with agriculture, sericulture and animal husbandry .

While appointing them, the government said the parliamentary secretaries would assist the chief minister and the ministers in the planning and coordination of legislative and other official business in the legislature. 

They are supposed to liaison between their departments and leaders of various political parties and groups represented in the Telangana legislature, subject to specific authorization by the minister in charge of legislative affairs. 

Parliamentary secretary Kova Laxmi told INNLIVE: “I took charge on January 22 as parliamentary secretary. Since no specific duty or power has been given to me by the agriculture minister, I am concentrating on resolv ing the issues pertaining to the 10 assembly seg ments in my district (Adilabad).“

Sources said in states like Kerala, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, where the parliamentary secretary system is in vogue, they are given in dependent portfolios. The secretaries in Telangana contend that many ministers are holding multiple charges, but still no work is being allotted to them.

For instance, education department had two ministers -higher education and primary education.Similarly, health department was divided into two ministries as it has subjects like director of medical, family welfare, Vaidya Vidhan Parishad and medical education.

“We are not asking for powers to take policy decisions, but insist on being given a role in the process. The chief minister should instruct the ministers to send files through the parliamentary secretaries concerned so that we can give our views,“ the parliamentary secretary said.

Two PSs -Vinaya Bhaskar and Venkat Rao -have not been given any specific subjects. “I have not been allotted any specific duty by the chief minister. On my own, I am attending review meetings on municipal administration and other important subjects like finance being conducted by the chief minister,“ Jalagam Venkat Rao told INNLIVE.

Some of the PSs are planning to take up the issue with the chief minister before the assembly session begins.
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