'Fidel'ity casts a spell, VS gets cabinet rank post

Published: 04th August 2016 06:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2016 06:50 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: PUTTING an end to uncertainty over Kerala’s Fidel Castro, the Cabinet on Wednesday appointed former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan as chairman of Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission with Cabinet rank. Former chief secretaries C P Nair and Neela Gangadharan have been made members of the three-member panel.

Fidel.jpgThe Commission has been formulated with the purpose of increasing the efficiency of administration. The commission chairman will not be reporting to the chief minister. Also he will not be part of government’s day-to-day affairs. The terms of reference of the Commission have not been finalised. Though it was expected that the Commission will have political leaders as the other two members, the Cabinet decided against it and appointed the two former chief secretaries. Neela Gangadharan had served as chief secretary under Achuthanandan. The two members will have chief secretary rank.

With this a long uncertainty over the position to be given to the CPM veteran, which has been on air since the Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office, has come to an end. The government had passed amendment to Kerala Legislative Assembly (Removal of  Disqualification) Act at the first session of the Assembly itself, to clear the hurdles for the veteran leader to be appointed as chairman of the Commission.  The amendment was brought in to clear Achuthanandan from the ‘office of profit’ clause. Otherwise being an MLA he would be disqualified while being appointed as Commission chairman with Cabinet rank. As Commission chairman, the former CM will have Cabinet rank and can enjoy facilities,  including personal staff and other perks.  Though the Assembly passed the Bill on July 19 and Governor cleared the same the next week, the Cabinet had not taken a final decision on the appointment. This had irked the nonagenarian leader. Meanwhile, a public interest litigation, questioning Achuthanandan’s posting, is currently pending before the High Court.


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