Union Minister Veerappa Moily preferred to retain a peon, who has been with him during previous postings, as his personal staff by getting a relaxation in his educational qualification from the Prime Minister.
The case is of Shubh Nandan Kumar, whom Moily wanted to retain in personnel staff after change in his portfolio from Corporate Affairs Ministry to Petroleum Ministry but the peon’s educational qualifications did not match the requirement, an RTI response has revealed.
The educational qualification for the erstwhile Group-D employees, who now come under Group-C, was prescribed as eighth standard but it was raised to 10th standard on the recommendation of the sixth pay commission.
The Department of Personnel and Training, through a notification in April 2010, revised the eligibility norms in the recruitment rules for the posts, which were earlier in Group D and have now been placed in Group C, as 10th standard.
While powers to relax age limit of personal staff of ministers have been delegated to Cabinet Secretariat, any relief in educational qualification could only be given by the Prime Minister, according to an order dated October 23, 2001.
Kumar’s matter reached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through Cabinet Secretary who recommended relaxation of educational qualification parameter in the case.
Following the recommendations, Singh approved the appointment and also mooted proposal to delegate the power to relax the educational qualifications with regards to appointment of the personal staff, according to information provided to Subhash Agrawal.
“The undersigned is directed to convey that the prime minister has approved the proposal of Cabinet Secretary for relaxation of educational qualification of Shubh Nandan Kumar to enable his appointment as peon in the personal staff of Dr M Veerappa Moily Minister (Petroleum and Natural Gas) w.e.f. October 29, 2012,” Dheeraj Gupta, Joint Secretary to the prime minister, had written to the Cabinet Secretariat.
The proposal to delegate powers was cleared and the prime minister’s office directed delegation of power to relax educational qualifications of peons in personal staff of the ministers to the concerned ministry while for the staff other than peon, the power was delegated to the Cabinet secretary.