Over 200 people are employed in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and offices of his Cabinet ministers. This was stated in a written reply to a question by BJP MLA O P Sharma in the state Assembly on the last day of the Budget session.
According to the reply, the number of people posted in the CMO in the earlier government was 98.
In the current government, while 28 of the 200 employees have been recruited co-terminus, 199 are officials working in diverted capacities with the CMO and with offices of other ministers.
In the CMO alone, there are 79 employees. Those deputed in the CMO and his camp office include his co-terminus staff like personal assistant, advisers, joint secretary, adviser (grievances), peon, driver, media adviser and political adviser.
There are 67 officials in diverted categories, employed as stenographers, peons, besides IAS, DASS-cadre officials of grade I, II and III and IV.
Interestingly, to one of the questions as to how many sanctioned posts are with the ministers and CM, the reply put the number at 81, including the post of principal secretary to the CM.
The salaries of co-terminus staff ranges from Rs 18,000 to Rs 1,15,000 a month. Senior IAS officials said these staff were getting more than what they got from the government. Those in the CMO are also getting facilities like house, phone and cars, depending on their posts.
A few of the prominent co-terminus officials are CM’s private secretary, Bibhav Kumar, who is getting grade pay of Rs 37,400-67,000+GP Rs 8,700, which brings his total emoluments to approximately Rs 98,627 a month.
Compared to this, Aswathi Murlidharan, as a joint secretary, gets approximately Rs 49,000 with a grade pay of Rs 15,600-39100+ GP Rs 6,600.
CM’s media adviser Nagendra Sharma gets Rs 1,15,881 per month.
Swati Maliwal, adviser (grievances) and political adviser Ashish Talwar too get similar pay packages.
Peons in the CMO are getting Rs 18,390 a month.
On the list of officials diverted from various departments to ministers’ offices/camp offices, the CMO and CM’s camp office, a senior official said, “The deep mistrust that the government has in officials has made them pick a select few to monitor various departments.”