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Bihar ministers can now appoint relatives as PAs

The Fresh circular comes a month after CM Manjhi faced flak for keeping his son-in-law as his PA.

WEEKS after Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi’s son-in-law resigned as his personal assistant following a political controversy, the state government has changed the rules that prevented ministers from appointing their “close relatives” as  private or personal secretaries or to any junior position.

As per the new rule, effective from December 3, ministers can now appoint their close relatives and family members other than their spouses and dependent sons and daughters as their private or personal secretaries. The new circular, taken out by the Cabinet Secretariat department principal secretary B Pradhan, has made a change in the rules by replacing “close relatives” to “family”, which is defined to include a minister’s spouse, dependent sons, daughters and parents.

The new circular that referred to the May 23, 2000, circular by Cabinet Secretariat and Coordination department read: “The cited letter did not seek to fully explain ‘close relatives’. We referred to Bihar legislature norms for defining ‘family’ that includes a minister’s wife or husband, dependent sons, daughters and parents”. Out of two personal assistants and two private secretaries, a minister is free to appoint one each. He/She can also appoint one lower division clerk and three office attendants.

The circular said: “It has been decided that while ministers recommend or request for appointment of persons outside the government (as private, personal secretaries or any other junior positions), they should make declaration saying they are not members of their ‘family’.” Pradhan’s letter, addressed to all principal secretaries and secretaries of the government, further asked ministers to inform the Cabinet Secretariat department in case of any appointment of “family” members by the cabinet ministers, ministers of state or deputy ministers.
The May 2000 letter, that had referred to a 1995 rules — one private or personal secretary can be appointed by a minister from outside the government — said: “It has been felt that appointment of close relatives by ministers affects the government functioning and hence, it has been decided to stop this practice.”  Since 2000, the government adhered to this rule.

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A senior official conceded: “The new decision has opened scope of appointment of close relatives and even family members.”  Bihar BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “I am shocked to be told that ‘close relatives’ have given way to ‘family’ that does not include independent sons and daughters.”

First published on: 12-12-2014 at 02:40:53 am
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