Political parties survive due to their cadre and hence every political party wants to sustain and reward their cadre. But the problem arises when the party in power starts rewarding their cadre through state funds, at least to say the taxpayers’ money. The recent tiff between Kerala’s Vijayan Government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan rose on the same grounds.
Arif Mohammed Khan: A torchbearer in the state of Kerala
“Is it fair to finance cadre of political parties?” This question has been asked by Arif Mohammad Khan, the sitting Governor of Kerala. Taking a jibe at Kerala’s Vijayan government, Governor Khan alleged that the Kerala government has been using state funds to sustain its political cadre.
Khan alleged that in Kerala, personal staff to ministers are appointed as permanent employees on a co-terminus basis so that they would be eligible for statutory pension.
A Union Cabinet Minister is entitled to 15 personal staff, but the staffs deployed in Kerala are double this number, the Governor has claimed.
After Governor Khan’s outburst, the issue of misuse of state funds has gained attention, as before it was silently swept under the carpet by the political parties.
CPI(M)’s scam: A way to reward party cadre
Arif Mohammad Khan has recently lashed out at Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government alleging that the Kerala government nurtures political cadre through pension schemes of the state.
Khan elaborated that the Kerala government has a unique system where the personal staff of ministers become eligible for pension as soon as they complete two years of service. He alleged that periodically the old appointees are removed, and new ones are hired to give the benefits to a larger section of the political cadre.
After the appointment, all of them draw salaries ranging from Rs. 23,000 to Rs. 1,60,000.
Kerala’s Pension Scheme
The statutory pension scheme was introduced by the Congress government for the staff members who complete three years of service. Later, the rules were amended to hand over the pension to the family members of the deceased pensioners.
The pension payout for the personal staff witnessed a growth of cent per cent between 2014 and 2020. According to media reports, the state exchequer shelled out Rs. 170 crores in the last five years for paying salaries of the personal staff.
Governor Khan to set recommendations to the Kerala Government
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is not going to leave this issue very easily. Based on the reports submitted by Chief Secretary VP Roy, the Governor is going to set forth his recommendations to the Kerala Government over the pension of the minister’s personal staff.
This report was submitted by the chief secretary after Governor Khan demanded the submission of detailed records regarding the pension payments. The report describes the rules for the pension scheme and details of its beneficiaries.
The Kerala Governor has said that he has not been sent to Kerala to run the administration but to keep a watch. And by snooping the CPI(M)’s pension scam, he has proved that he is not going to allow mishappenings in Kerala anymore.