VICE CHAIRMEN OF MORE THAN 30 STATE PSUS
GUWAHATI: It's a sad commentary on the state of administration in Assam today, that more than 30 Vice Chairmen of various State Boards and Corporations have not yet been accorded any responsibility for the last 39 months. They are, however, enjoying a hefty salary of Rs 40,000 monthly besides all the perquisites associated with this post. Even the Service Rules for the Vice Chairmen have not yet been drafted.
Mentionably, these posts were created by the present BJP-led coalition government to accelerate the overall development of the State in all sectors.
On March 6 in 2017, 43 persons were appointed as Chairmen and Vice Chairmen across 28 Corporations, Boards, and other Public Sector units in Assam. On October 23 in 2018, 50 more were appointed to 25 other such bodies.
Talking to The Sentinel, one of the Vice Chairmen said, "During the last three years, the Chief Minister reviewed the State PSUs with the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen only during a single meeting. In the absence of any more such meets, we have not been able to inform the Chief Minister of the various practical issues we are facing professionally."
Another Vice Chairman pointed out, "During these 20 to 39 months, we didn't get any opportunity to serve the public in this position. The fact is that even the role, responsibility and power of the Chairman of such a body are quite limited. The real power is with the actual executive appointed by the respective governments. In this official structure, the scope of a Vice-Chairman is negligible. As of now, the Vice Chairman's official role is limited to just presiding over the Board meetings in the absence of the respective Chairman."
This has happened primarily because while amending the service Acts, a few of the State PSUs did not frame the service rules for the Vice Chairmen. Such a state of affairs has already crippled the Assam State Housing Board (ASHB) that functions under the UDD (Urban Development Department).
The ASHB amended the 'State Housing Board Act, 1972' as the 'Assam State Housing Board, Act, 2018. The Assam Gazette notification of the amendment was published on March 22, 2018. However, the Act is yet to see the light of the day as the UDD has not yet framed the rules of the amended Act. As many as eight sections of the 1972 Act were amended. According to ASHB sources, the Board framed new rules of the amended Act in April 2018, but the UDD is yet to approve the rules.
Sources alleged, "The then UDD Principal Secretary returned the file regarding the rules of the Act many a time. In the absence of the Act we're facing much difficulty in working.
"The new rules of an Act should be framed within six months of its amendment. However, in the case of this Act, the amendment completed two years in March 2020."
As per the government's decision, while each Chairman of a State-owned PSU draws a monthly remuneration of Rs 50,000; each Vice Chairman is entitled to Rs 40,000 besides many other facilities associated with the respective positions.