The Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha has passed a unanimous resolution that members should not appoint their relatives as personal assistants (PAs). The committee, which took cognizance of a report published in The Indian Express in May, is considering sending its recommendations to Chairman Hamid Ansari, besides writing to each member.
The committee took the decision at its meeting on October 17, the minutes of which have now been finalised by the RS Secretariat. Committee member Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Yes, we have passed a unanimous resolution that members should not appoint their relatives as their PA.”
Shivanand Tiwari of the JD(U), also a member of the committee, said, “This is completely unethical, so we have decided to appeal to members to stop appointing their relatives as their PAs.”
Chairman of the committee Ramgopal Yadav could not be contacted.
Each MP gets a monthly allowance of Rs 30,000 for his or her personal staff. An investigation by The Indian Express based on an application filed under the RTI Act showed that at least 146 MPs — 104 from LS and 42 from RS — have appointed at least 191 relatives to their personal staff.
The report — It’s all in the family: 146 MPs employ relatives as their personal assistants — was published on May 15. Some MPs, including Ansari, reacted that there was no rule prohibiting MPs from doing so.
But the committee has taken the view that this is not an ethical practice. Panel member Janardhan Waghmare of the NCP said, “I was not in the meeting in which the decision was taken but I conveyed my views that this is not good and we should stop it.”
The RS Ethics Committee has 10 members including Sitaram Yechury of the CPM, Satish Mishra of BSP, Shashi Bhushan Behra of BJD and Rajani Patil of the Congress.