Clearing the air on appointment of personal staff of ministers, the government Tuesday issued a fresh circular saying that only those who served as personal staff (PS) to ministers in the UPA regime in the past ten years are barred from joining the newly appointed NDA ministers as PS.
The order makes space for ministers Smriti Irani and V K Singh, among others, to reappoint their personal staff. It also makes the positions of the personal staff associated with Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley safe.
The previous order by the Department of Personnel & Training dated June 19 had vaguely said anyone who had served as personal staff of a minister in the ‘previous government’ could not be reappointed with new NDA ministers, which forced many, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to drop their personal staff. The new order paves the way for reappointment of everyone except PS, allowing those who had served as additional PS or officers on special duty under the UPA government to again be attached with NDA ministers.
The new order makes an exception for those who served as private secretaries to the Leader of Opposition in the RS and LS. This exception, in effect, will allow Swaraj to retain Satish C Gupta as her PS and Jaitley to appoint Simanchal Dash as his PS.
Railway Engineering Services officer Vinita Srivastava, who earlier served as OSD under former steel minister Beni Prasad Verma in 2013, is now eligible to continue as PS to HRD minister Smriti Irani. MoS for Food and Consumer Affairs Raosaheb Dadarao Danve and MoS for Rural Development Upendra Kushwaha are likely to be able to appoint the PS of their choice as well. General V K Singh, MoS, Development of North Eastern Region, may be able to rea-ppoint Rajesh Kumar as his PS.
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Rectifying its previous order, the DoPT also said the previous order dated June 19 will not apply to class 3 and 4 lower level employees like drivers, attendants and peons.
The new DoPT order rules out any possibility of appointment of Alok Singh — a 1995 batch IPS officer — as PS to Rajnath, and Abhinav Kumar as PS to MoS Home Kiren Rijiju. Uday Singh Kumawat, who earlier served PS to Tariq Anwar, will not be able to continue as Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s PS.