Imitating his mentor Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has debarred private secretaries (PS), officers on special duty (OSDs) and personal assistants (PAs) associated with Congress-NCP ministers for the last 10 years from taking fresh appointments to the same posts.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis issued the order through the general administration department, so that staffers who have an excellent rapport with their old masters may not hurt the BJP’s agenda of running the government as per its plans
The order was issued on Monday by the general administration department (GAD) headed by Fadnavis. It says the old staffers will not be allowed to take similar assignments for the next five years, which effectively rules out their entry till this government faces fresh elections.
The directive may dismay the chief minister’s cabinet colleagues as some of them had appointed staffers of ministers who preceded them. Barring few, almost all the personal staff have been working with ministers from successive governments, owing to personal rapport.
Their services are availed of on a deputation basis, as there is no separate cadre for ministerial staff at Mantralaya. Many have not returned to the original department they were assigned while joining as a government employee, and have thus been active at Mantralaya for one, sometimes two, decades.
As above, so below
At the Centre, soon after assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued a diktat asking ministers not to appoint any staffer from the previous UPA regime. This was done to preclude the staffers loyal to the erstwhile establishment from handling the BJP’s affairs.
Borrowing a leaf, CM Fadnavis also took the bold decision, despite knowing that his colleagues were keen to appoint staffers from previous Congress-NCP regime. Sources from BJP say some ministers may take exception and are likely to take up the issue with the CM.
“The new PS, OSDs and PAs will take time to accustom themselves to the job of organising meetings and tours, contacting administration, handling correspondence etc,” said a minister. The personal aides enjoy immense clout as they effectively run the ministers’ offices and work as key liaisons to meet a minister.