How many peons does the prime minister need? According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website, 111. Of this, 45 posts are currently waiting to be filled. In addition, there are 12 senior peons as well, of which six positions are vacant. The PMO is sanctioned to have 524 staff and it has 407 members on the rolls right now.
In his bid to beat his own colleagues on the transparency index, the PMO has ironically shown that austerity was not a virtue. As if 111 peons were not enough, the PMO could have 15 office boys, to do the heavy lifting -- such as taking papers from one official to another. In this section, eight posts are vacant for the time being. Four doorkeepers’ posts are sanctioned, of which 2 are on duty, while four photostat-operators are on standby.
The mighty wheels of ‘babudom’ doesn’t turn without clerks. The PMO has a sanctioned strength of 45 upper division clerks and 28 lower division clerks. Of this, 41 upper division clerks and 12 lower division clerks are on the rolls. There are eight stenographers as well.
Apart from the support staff, to serve VIPs from the Principal Secretary to the PM, to the National Security Adviser (18 including six joint secretaries), there are 23 section officers and 38 private secretaries (two vacancies as of now). To bolster their efforts is an army of 72 assistants, of which 62 posts have been filled so far.
There are 42 sanctioned posts of personal assistants as well, of which 33 have been filled. But there is only one librarian, one accountant and one personal assistant in the PMO. Of 28 drivers, 23 posts have been filled. The salaries for the lower posts are better than in the private sector. For peons, the salary range is from Rs 19,000 a month to Rs 28,000. For office boys, it is Rs 21,000 to Rs 26,000. Attenders and helpers are in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 26,000 range.
Ironically, UDCs, who are several steps senior, make between Rs 19,000 and Rs 28,000 a month. Stenos are paid between Rs 19,000 and Rs 38,000.