A bill seeking to provide secretarial staff and other benefits to former Governors got the nod of the Lok Sabha on Saturday.
Introducing the Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill, 2012, Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said former governors do not get any pension or post-retirement benefits except medical facilities as per rules issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“Keeping in view the high constitutional office that a governor holds and considering the contributions in public discourse that they would continue to make after they retire, it is proposed to provide the secretarial assistance to ex-governors in the form of one Personal Assistant, which the ex-governor concerned may appoint on reimbursement basis, during his life time,” Mr. Singh said.
But the person will not be eligible for such secretarial assistance for the period during which he is re-appointed to the office of governor or elected to Parliament or the state legislature or appointed to any office of profit under the Union or a state government. The personal assistant will be paid a monthly salary of Rs 28,000.
Seeing the strident stand of opposition over the past few days when repeated adjournments had held up the legislative business in the House, in a lighter vein, Mr. Singh said the opposition should not have any objection as husband of Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, as well as Leader of the House Sushilkumar Shinde, happen to be beneficiaries. Ms. Swaraj's husband Swaraj Kaushal and Mr. Shinde, who is now Union Home Minister, are former governors.
Earlier, initiating the debate on the Bill, Kirti Azad (BJP) pointed out that the post of governor has been misused often with the Centre using them to target state governments. He said that recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, Punchhi Commission and Venkatachalliah Committee should be implemented to prevent this.
Several members felt that politicians were more suited to be appointed as governors as they can do a better job than bureaucrats and others.
Jagadambika Pal of the Congress demanded said medical facilities should be provided even to family members of former governors.
Shailendra Kumar (Samajwadi Party) said the party in power at the Centre appoints its own people as governors and some of them have a controversial past.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) did not favour of having the post of governor and asked the government to come out with details of expenditure incurred by various Raj Bhawans. He alleged that some governors have taken money to appoint vice-chancellors and questioned the powers given to them in