In a departure from tradition, and an alleged attempt by the Centre to closely monitor parliamentary committees, Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar has appointed at least eight of his personal staff to various house committees under the Upper House.
As per an NDTV report, many Congress leaders, off the record, have alleged that the move has been done "to keep a close watch on various committees, which clearly shows his no confidence in the existing mechanism".
Officials who keep the Rajya Sabha Secretary General updated on the developments and deliberations of various committees are appointed by the secretariat and the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. They are appointed from a common pool set up for the same.
A Rajya Sabha Secretariat notice today stated that eight new officials were attached to 20 standing committees, under the ambit of the Rajya Sabha, which 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 proceedings are kept confidential.
A Bizarre Step, Fails Any Precedent
By appointing officers from his personal staff, the chairperson is attempting to keep a close watch on various committees, the opposition leaders said.
It displays Dhankar's lack of 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, Congress leaders added.
Trinamool Congress sources were quoted saying that scrutiny of bills, which was 67 per cent in 2014, has now dipped to 14 per cent. There were no discussions under Rule 267 over the last five years, during the tenure of Dhankhar's predecessor Venkaiah Naidu. The party will issue a statement on the matter tomorrow, sources said.