AJIT DOVAL

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”

Bureaucracy Today - - Front page - By Soma Chakraborty

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.

OTHER TIDBITS

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

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