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Goa Government to Spend 1.15 Crore Per Annum on Newly Created Post of “Lifetime Cabinet Minister”

The State Government with drying down coffers is about to spend an additional 1.15 crore on the newly created post of “Life Time Cabinet Minister”
Pratapsingh Rane
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This also comes along with the approval of 18 staff members that includes, 2 OSD (officers on special duty), 1 Advisor, 1 under-secretary, 2 Private Secretaries, 1 PA (Personal Assistant), 3 Jr. Assistants, 2 computer/Telephone operators, 2 Drivers, 4 multi-tasking staff and surprisingly the office has not been assigned with any responsibilities of the cabinet minister. 

The reports stated that the former Congress MLA who retired from his post to make room for his daughter-in-law to content the election on the BJP ticket had written the list of 17 staff that he wanted and one was provided by the government. 

Meanwhile, Advocate Aires Rodrigues has challenged the decision of the State Government in the Bombay High Court, he also brought to the notice of the court that there is no specific task assigned to Mr. Rane who will be holding the position of Lifetime Cabinet Minister and will have the fleet of staff at his service. 

The notings were written by the secretary of Chief Minister on April 6 Staes that Mr. Rane has been accorded the status of Lifetime Cabinet Minister but the government did not assign any task to his office as such and hence General Administration Department has been advised to examine the requirement of personal staff for the office of the lifetime Cabinet Minister for which no specific work or task has been assigned. 

When the Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant was asked about this appointment while the matter is still before the High Court he said that his government has done this for Mr Rane who completed 50 years. “We have now sent the proposal to the finance and personnel department,” he said.

According to the reports, Goa’s health minister and Mr. Rane’s son Vishwajit Rane were among the Cabinet ministers who took the decision of allotting the Special Lifetime Cabinet Rank to the senior Rane on January 6, 2022, for his services as the legislature for 50 years. 

The report further states that Senior Rane accepted the Honour and wrote the state government on January 20 naming 17 people he wanted as his staff. Advocate Aires has attached the same exhibit to the court.     

In the PIL, which was admitted on Monday, Rodrigues has urged the High Court to quash the January 7 notification, pointing out that Goa has a 12-member Cabinet and conferring the lifetime status to Rane raises the number of Cabinet portfolios to 13. That is more than the ceiling mandated by the Constitution, the lawyer has contended. He has stated that the purpose of the 91st Amendment is to prevent “jumbo Cabinets” and the resultant drain on the public exchequer. The lifetime status for Rane is a “back door entry in willful disobedience of the mandate of law”, according to the PIL.

The PIL also states that since Rane was a Congress candidate at the time the decision was taken and “was capable of toppling the ruling party’s apple cart in Poriem, a mala fide strategy was adopted by the BJP to offer him a carrot not to contest elections”. The matter will be heard next on May 2.

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