The government has clarified that no person who was on the personal staff of any UPA minister can be employed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Additional PS, Assistant PS or First PA to a minister. As per an earlier order, this restriction applied only to persons being appointed as Private Secretaries to NDA ministers.
The widening of the scope of the June 19 order means that no one who served on the personal staff of a minister in the last 10 years can be appointed to any gazetted post in the personal staff of an NDA minister. Only Group C and Group D employees now remain eligible to continue.
The order, which reached ministries on Thursday, will affect some 40 officials already working informally with NDA ministers as Additional PS, Assistant PS and First PA. The appointments, so far awaiting a final clearance, are now scrapped. These officials had earlier worked on the personal staff of UPA ministers, or with ministers before them.
In its order dated July 23, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which functions directly under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, clarified that
the June 19 circular would be applicable “in respect of Private Secretary, OSD, Additional Private Secretary, Assistant Private Secretary and First PA who have worked in the personal staff of any minister for any duration during the last 10 years”.
The circular bears the signature of DoPT director Vandana Sharma.
The June 19 communique had said that “any officer/official/private person, who has worked earlier in the personal staff of a minister in any capacity for any duration, may not be appointed in the personal staff of Ministers in the present government”.
Following persistent pressure from several quarters, however, DoPT issued a clarification on July 8, saying that the June 19 circular “shall apply only in respect of Private Secretaries who had worked in the personal staff of any minister for any duration in the last 10 years”.
The July 8 communication also said that the June 19 circular “shall also not be applicable to such lower personal staff in class 3 and class 4 (now designated as MTS) such as drivers/attendants/peons”.
But the clarification created further confusion.
On July 9, sources in the DoPT said, Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs Afzal Amanullah wrote to DoPT Secretary S K Sarkar, saying: “It is not clear whether the term ‘Private Secretaries’ includes Additional Private Secretaries, Assistant Private Secretaries and OSDs also as the OM [office