The chief whip’s personal staff would cost the exchequer roughly Rs 3 crore each year in wages.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A chief whip’s only responsibility is to issue whips to the governing front members during critical assembly sessions including voting. N Jayaraj, a Kanjirappally MLA and Kerala Congress (M) politician, was given a cabinet minister’s status and an eight-member personal staff team after he was chosen chief whip in the second Pinarayi Vijayan administration.
Now, 17 more have been added to the team, bringing the total to 25, which is the maximum number of ministers allowed by the ruling Left Front. The chief whip’s personal staff would cost the exchequer roughly Rs 3 crore each year in wages.
On Tuesday, the general administration department issued an order appointing the 17 members for a co-terminus period. The cabinet accepted the decision at a time when the state is compelled to take out loans to pay employees’ salaries and pensions, and borrowing has already exceeded the budgeted amount.
Dr. Relfi Paul, Jayaraj’s new private secretary, is joined by three other private secretaries, two deputy private secretaries, two assistants, five clerks, and four office attendants.
Two of them are on deputation from the government, and one is re-employed after retiring, while the others are all direct recruits. According to sources, several of the new recruits are Kerala Congress (M) leaders’ candidates, while others are CPM nominees.
The monthly remuneration for the PS and additional PS will be in the range of Rs 1,07,800 to Rs 1,60,000, while assistant PS-level officials will be paid in the range of Rs 63,700 to Rs 1,23,700. Two helpers would be paid between Rs 37,400 and Rs 79,000, while five clerks will be paid between Rs 31,000 and Rs 66,800. In addition, after two years of work, they will all be entitled for a pension.
Last month, Pinarayi agreed to the KC(M) demand.
The decision, according to economist B A Prakash, demonstrates how indifferent our politicians are to reality. “This is purely a financial extravaganza.” Politicians believe it is their responsibility to squander the state’s limited resources by dividing them among themselves.
Things are the same whether Communists or Capitalists are in control,” the former state finance committee head told TNIE. “None of the personal staff employees have any task to perform,” a top official claimed. A half-dozen of them operate in Kanjirappally and Kottayam, assisting the chief whip in his seat and carrying out some of his party’s job.
There is nothing for the chief whip and his team to do while the assembly is not in session.” Jayaraj was unavailable for comment after several efforts. KC(M) had been wanting additional personal staff members for the chief whip for some time, according to LDF sources.
Last month, Pinarayi agreed to the demand, and the process of appointing new members began. It’s worth remembering that K Rajan, the CPI’s top whip in the first Pinarayi cabinet, had a personal staff of ten. P C George, who served as chief whip in the Oommen Chandy cabinet from 2011 to 2013, recruited 30 personal staff workers, sparking outrage.
The sports minister will fly to the United States for therapy.
T’Puram: Sports Minister V Abdurahiman will visit the United States from January 5 to 18 for therapy. Abdurahiman’s trip to the United States was approved by the state cabinet, pending authorization from the minister of external affairs. Tanur will be treated at Johns Hopkins OP Center in New York by the INL leader who represents him. The state government will cover all of the costs of travel and treatment.