Even as members of the Left Front and the Congress boycotted the proceedings of the House here on Thursday, the Assembly passed The West Bengal Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2012.
The Bill provides for appointment of members of the Assembly as parliament secretaries who will have the rank and status of a Minister of State. They will help in planning and coordination of legislative business in the House and will serve as an intermediary between administrative secretaries and Ministers, the Bill states.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said the provisions for appointing parliamentary secretaries were mentioned in a previous 1937 Act passed by the Assembly.
“The State government has done nothing new. Even during the previous Left Front regime, we had come across references to parliamentary secretaries during the proceedings of the House,” Mr. Chatterjee said.
Describing the Bill as anti-people and against the Constitution, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra said the legislation was aimed at quelling discontent within the Trinamool Congress, and pointed to the hurried manner in which the government passed the Bill.
Mr. Mishra said the members of the Left Front had given a letter to the Governor referring to various observations made by the High Courts and the Supreme Court in connection with such a legislation being passed by other States. Instead of ensuring coordination in the government, it will complicate the matters of governance, he said.
Commenting on the financial implication of the implementation of the provisions of the Bill, Mr. Mishra said it would have a huge burden on the State finances, which were already stressed.
Asked about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s comments on the State’s financial crisis, he said it was her policies that have driven the State to an “economic anarchy.”
While the Left Front boycotted the proceedings of the House in protest against the Speaker’s decision to suspend three of its legislators, the Congress members walked out in protest against a motion moved by them, which was not taken up for discussion on the non-official day.
Ms. Banerjee made a brief appearance on the final day of the seven-day winter session.
While she chose to remain silent on the ruckus in the Assembly on Tuesday, when members of the Trinamool Congress and Left Front exchanged blows, Ms. Banerjee lauded the efforts of the Speaker and thanked the members for conducting the business of the House.
Parliamentary Secretaries will have the status and rank of a Minister of State