Despite DoPT ban, ministers retain personal staff for over 10 years
In March 2010, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had directed that "a total ceiling of 10 years be prescribed beyond which an officer may not be permitted to be appointed in the personal staff of a minister, irrespective of level". But, despite having completed the prescribed tenure, at least 87 people continued to serve as personal staff of various ministers, after their appointments were cleared by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) following requests from the ministries.
Among the ministers who sent such requests are Kamal Nath, Praful Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde, K Rahman Khan, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Bharatsinh Solanki, K V Thomas, Mallikarjun Kharge, Salman Khurshid and Tusharbhai Chaudhary. The officials included six officers on special duty (U K Mitra, N K Gauri, V K Dhand, S V Pillai, S N Sharma and Giri Ketharaj) and three private secretaries (Z A Naqvi, D Vijayan and M Annadurai). Among the others are 29 additional private secretaries and 24 assistant private secretaries. Some of these officers are now no longer with the ministries.
In April this year, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet also decided to retain officials who had completed 10 years "till the completion of the next general elections".
According to information provided by the DoPT under the RTI Act, many requests were received from various ministers to allow some officials to continue as personal staff after the ceiling was imposed. Of these, 87 requests were approved.
However, the DoPT circular directed that "no relaxation will be granted to these conditions".