Few hands to take care of 'nominated ministers'

Chairpersons get status but no staff to run their offices

Uttar Pradesh government has simply run out of manpower to provide staff to its army of ‘nominated ministers’ – chairpersons of state-owned corporations and other institutions who enjoy the status of ministers – and has decided to outsource it.

The Akhilesh Yadav regime had appointed around five dozen party leaders as chairpersons and presidents of various state-owned corporations and institutions after assuming power in March last year.

These leaders get a red-beacon car. But a majority of departments expressed their inability to meet the other expenses, including those incurred on fuel, security and personal staff, leaving these nominated ministers fuming.

The state secretariat has also made it clear to the government that it did not have the manpower to meet the requirements.

Although many of these chairmen are also without any work, they complained only about the lack of other facilities that went with their status as ministers, officers said.

The state chief secretary Javed Usmani took cognisance of their complaints and convened a meeting of the institutions and corporations concerned to discuss ways to resolve the matter.

Officers said it was decided that the institutions could outsource their requirement for manpower to meet the shortage.

The Samajwadi Party government, like previous governments, has used the posts in corporations and other institutions to check dissent and placate party leaders who could not be accommodated in the cabinet.

The government has also sought to woo the Muslim community through this. Recently, it appointed a senior Muslim cleric as chairman of a state institution and gave him the status of minister of state.

Interestingly, several of these institutions are of little importance and almost defunct. But for the nominated ministers what matters most is the lalbatti – a red-beacon vehicle with a hooter.

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