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TRAI Bill: BJP issues whip to members

July 11, 2014 14:12 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party has issued a whip to its members in the Lok Sabha to support a Bill to amend the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, which seeks to remove a legal hurdle in the appointment of former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The TRAI (Amendment) Bill, 2014 is listed for debate in the House on Friday to replace an ordinance which was issued earlier to remove the hurdle for appointment of the 1967-batch IAS officer to the post.

The party has issued a whip to the members to support the Bill, said a BJP Lok Sabha member.

Before the ordinance was promulgated, the TRAI Act prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in the central or state governments after demitting office.

“The chairperson or any other member ceasing to hold office as such, shall (a) be ineligible for further employment under the central government or any state government or (b) not accept any commercial employment, for a period of two years from the date he ceases to hold such office,” said the TRAI Act of 1997 available on the Law Ministry’s website.

To circumvent this section, which would have barred Misra, 69, from taking up the post of the principal secretary to the Prime Minister, the Modi government promulgated an ordinance which amended it.

The ordinance amends this section to read as: “The chairperson and the whole-time members shall not, for a period of two years from the date on which they cease to hold office as such, except with the previous approval of the central government, accept (a) any employment either under the central government or under any state government; or (b) any appointment in any company in the business of telecommunication service.”

Misra is an IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre and his appointment as principal secretary will be co-terminus with the term of the PM or till further orders, according to an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel.

The principal secretary to the PM is a key post and acts as main link for coordination among Prime Minister’s Office, cabinet secretariat and secretaries of ministries. 

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