Recently the Prime Minister’s Office has disclosed the salaries of its employees, including its top bureaucrats. While the salary of about Rs 2 lakhs is the highest in the PMO, the lowest salary is around Rs 17,000 which is drawn by a “multitasking staff”
They are the movers and shakers in the all-powerful Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Rarely these bureaucrats are seen in public or interacting with the media. People know very little about them, let alone their pay. However, in a move towards ensuring transparency, the Narendra Modi Government has made public the salaries of the topmost officials in the PMO as part of its suo motu disclosure under the RTI Act.
KHULBE HIGHEST PAID OFFICER
As per the disclosures made, senior IAS officer Bhaskar Khulbe is the highest paid officer in the PMO. Khulbe, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Secretary, gets a remuneration of Rs 2,01,450 per month according to details of his salary as on June 1, 2016 put on the PMO website. He is the only one in the PMO to draw a salary above Rs 2 lakhs.
In bureaucratic circles, the 1983-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal Cadre is regarded as “Wikipedia on everything related to human resources”. Khulbe looks after the work related to the Cabinet Secretariat and thrust areas of the Government, among others. Prior to his appointment in the PMO, he was a Joint Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Khulbe, it is said, is an ardent believer of palmistry and numerology. In 2014, he had applied to the DoPT for dropping his middle name “Chandra”, a request approved by the Government.
With a salary of Rs 1.77 lakhs per month, Joint Secretary Tarun Bajaj is the second highest paid bureaucrat in the PMO. Bajaj, a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Haryana Cadre, was a Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry before he joined the PMO.
Bajaj is followed by Joint Secretaries Anurag Jain and AK Sharma who get remunerations of Rs 1.76 lakhs and Rs 1.73 lakhs per month respectively.
Jain, a 1989-batch IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh Cadre, is known as a confidant of State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. An IITian -turned-IAS officer, Jain is known for his IT skills. Sharma, a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Gujarat Cadre, is a close aide of Modi. He was the brain behind building the brand image for Modi, when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, through his liaisoning with industry. The bureaucrat had played pivotal roles in organizing Vibrant Gujarat Investor’s Summits and was also posted as Chief Executive Officer of the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board.
Interestingly, the trio of the topmost bureaucrats in the PMO – Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the PM, Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser and PK Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Modi who are considered to be the main force behind all major policy decisions aimed at revving up the Government -- draw less salary than those of Khulbe and the three Joint Secretaries mentioned above.
Nripendra Misra, Ajit Doval and PK Misra get Rs 1,62,500 per month each. “Technically, the three bureaucrats
should get a higher remuneration than that of Khulbe but since they have been appointed after their retirement, their salary calculations are different as per Government rules. Therefore they are drawing a comparatively less salary,” explains retired IAS officer Bhaskar Chatterjee who is now the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.
Besides Bajaj, Jain and Sharma, three other Joint Secretaries in the PMO —Vinay Mohan Kwatra, TV Somanathan and Debashree Mukherjee – get a monthly salary ranging between Rs 1.60 lakhs and Rs 1.55 lakhs.
Rajeev Topno and Sanjeev Kumar Singla, both Private Secretaries to the PM, get a monthly salary of Rs 1.46 lakhs and Rs 1.38 lakhs respectively, while Sharat Chander, Information Officer, and JM Thakkar, Public Relations Officer in the PMO, get a monthly remuneration of Rs 1.26 lakhs and Rs 99,000, respectively.
Five other bureaucrats, including the PM’s close aide, Sanjay R Bhavsar, working as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the PMO, draw a monthly remuneration of around Rs 1.1 lakhs each. Besides Bhavsar, four other OSDs are Hiren Joshi, Pratik Doshi, Hemang Jani and Ashutosh Narayan Singh.
As per the RTI disclosures, the PMO has 403 employees, including two deputed for former Prime Ministers AB Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. While NC Jhingta, Secretary to Vajpayee, gets a monthly remuneration of Rs 1.42 lakhs, G Muralidhar Pillay, Singh’s Secretary, draws Rs 1 lakh per month.
It is interesting to note that in spite of the successive Prime Ministers advocating for a considerable number of female Government employees, only 19 women are working in the PMO.
The highest chunk of the PMO staff is multitasking. They were previously called peons and now number 81 followed by 74 Assistant Section Officers and 25 drivers. There are only four officials in the PMO each of whom gets less than Rs 20,000 per month.
AJIT DOVAL National Security Adviser Rs *1,62,500
NRIPENDRA MISRA Principal Secretary Rs *1,62,500
PK MISHRA Additional Principal Secy Rs *1,62,500
TARUN BAJAJ Joint Secretary Rs 1,77,750
AK SHARMA Joint Secretary Rs 1,73,250
ANURAG JAIN Joint Secretary Rs 1,76,250
BHASKAR KHULBE Secretary to PM Rs 2,01,450