New Delhi: The Centre has reduced the number of staff provided to former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Sources said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has turned down a request from Dr Singh for retaining his 14-member staff.
According to Zee News, Dr Singh wrote to the PM’s Principal Secretary over the issue and even cited how the term of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s staff was extended and how similar benefits were extended to P V Narasimha Rao and I K Gujral as well after they demitted the office.
However, on May 26 this year, Dr Singh’s staff was cut down from 14 to 5. The PMO conveyed to Dr Singh that Prime Minister Modi has not accepted his request to retain his 14-member support staff and decided to go by the rule book.
The former PM was also informed that the Centre had refused to extend the benefits he was entitled to. Dr Singh has led the UPA I and II as the PM for two consecutive terms.
As of now, Dr Singh has two personal assistants (PA), one Lower Division Clerk (LDC), and two peons in his support staff.
Reports say a rule was made during former PM PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure that all former PMs will be entitled to the benefits of a Cabinet minister for five years after demitting the office.
Former PMs could then retain a 14-member secretarial staff and were entitled to free office expenses, medical facilities, six domestic executive class air tickets and SPG cover for five years. After that, they could only keep one personal assistant and a peon, the rule said.
However, the rule was altered many times in the past and facilities and benefits were extended to all former prime ministers upon their request. Sources in the PMO said that the Modi government has decided to go by the rule book.