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Vice President’s Staff On Rajya Sabha Panels, Opposition Says “Bizarre”

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New Delhi:

Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar has appointed at least eight of his personal staff to various house committees under the Upper House, in a departure from tradition. Various Congress leaders, off the record, have alleged that it has been done “to keep a close watch on various committees, which clearly shows his no confidence in the existing mechanism”.

The officers who keep the Rajya Sabha Secretary General abreast of developments and deliberations of various committees are appointed by the secretariat and the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. The officials are appoint from a common pool set up for the purpose.

A notice from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat today showed that eight new officials have been attached to 20 standing committees coming under the ambit of the Rajya Sabha.  This is over and above the existing officers.
The new entrants are junior level officers , who will assist the committees with their functioning. Most of these proceeding are kept confidential.

The opposition termed this a “bizarre step” which has no precedent.

The chairperson, by appointing these officers from his personal staff, is trying to keep a close watch on various committees, the leaders said.

This clearly shows his having no confidence in the existing mechanism of officers who keep the secretary general of the Rajya Sabha abreast of various developments in the deliberations of the committee, leaders in the Congress added.

Sources in the Trinamool Congress said scrutiny of bills, which was 67 per cent in 2014, has now dropped to 14 per cent. There has also been no discussion under Rule 267 over the last five years, during the tenure of Mr Dhankhar’s predecessor Venkaiah Naidu. The party will issue a statement on the matter tomorrow, sources said.

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