Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar appoints his staff on Standing Committees

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh says the order is ‘unprecedented and inexplicable’.

March 07, 2023 09:39 pm | Updated March 08, 2023 08:15 am IST - New Delhi

Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. File

Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Eight members of personal staff of Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar have been appointed to 20 committees that come under the ambit of the Upper house as per an order released by the Rajya Sabha secretariat on Tuesday, raising eyebrows, since there is no past precedent of personal staff working on the committees.

Four of these staffers are employed with the Chairman’s office and four of them with the Vice-President’s secretariat. Each Standing Committee has an additional secretary or a joint secretary-level official assisting in the functioning of the committee and who also attends the meetings, which are strictly confidential.

According to a senior official in the Chairman’s secretariat the step has been taken for multiple reasons. “Recently, on Chairman’s directions researchers working with the ‘Library, Research, Documentation and Information Service (LARRDIS)‘ were also attached to these committees and their contributions were greatly appreciated. The staffers will also add and contribute to the functioning of committees while also keeping the Chairman abreast about the functioning and performance of the various committees,” he said.

The Opposition, however, is not convinced. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who heads the Standing Committee of Science and Technology, said that the order was “unprecedented and inexplicable”. “As chairman of one of the Standing Committees I fail to see the value addition from this unilateral move. These are Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha and not Standing Committees of Chairman,” he said.

A retired secretary general on condition of anonymity said that every committee was serviced by a joint secretary-level official who kept the Secretary General informed, whenever necessary, of any developments. The Secretary General on his part would keep the Chairman in loop. Importantly, he said, that the committee chairperson was accountable to the Parliament and was responsible for the functioning of the committee. “The question here is what is the necessity of bringing in additional ring of staffers when there is already an existing mechanism which works smoothly,” he said.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.