CHANDIGARH: The cash-strapped Congress government in Punjab runs a heavy bill every month on the army of advisers, political secretaries and OSDs attached with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
In order to placate some legislators, the state government had recently given the rank of a cabinet minister to six MLAs who were appointed advisors to Chief Minister. Amarinder now has a dozen advisers and the government spends around Rs 60 lakh on each of them. It will now end up spending over Rs 8 crore on them every year.
The chief minister earlier had six advisers. Lt-Gen (retd) T S Shergill, senior adviser to the CM, enjoys the rank of a cabinet minister. Amarinder’s media adviser Raveen Thukral, adviser Bharat Inder Singh Chahal and financial adviser V K Garg, hold the rank of minister of state.
Lt-Gen (retd) B S Dhaliwal, who was the technical adviser to Amarinder’s predecessor Parkash Singh Badal, was retained by this government. Retired IGP Khubi Ram is CM’s security adviser holding the rank of additional DGP.
With the addition of four MLAs — Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon (Faridkot), Amarinders Raja Warring (Gidderbaha), Sangat Singh Gilzian (Urmur) and Inderbir Singh Bolaria (Amritsar South) —designated as political advisers, and two more — Fatehgarh Sahib
MLA Kuljeet Singh Nagra, designated as advisor (Planning) in the rank of a cabinet minister and Attari MLA Tarsem Singh DC made planning advisor in rank of a MoS, the state exchequer will have to bear additional burden.
These advisers are entitled to get pay and allowances given to ministers — a cabinet minister gets a monthly salary of Rs 1.75 lakh while a MoS gets Rs 1.50 lakh.