Indian PMO Salary Register: Pankaj Pachauri is the second-highest paid official

Pankaj Pachauri is the second-highest paid official in the PMO after the officer on special duty to the PM K. Muthu Kumar

They are the Prime Minister’s power pack, the movers and shakers in the all-powerful Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Power flows from their file jottings and orders issued sometimes in monosyllables. Rarely seen in public, they reveal little about themselves, let alone disclose their pay.

The communications adviser in the PMO Pankaj Pachauri draws Rs. 1.3 lakh per month, only Rs. 30,000 short of the PM’s salary which is Rs. 1.6 lakh. Pachauri is the second-highest paid official in the PMO after the officer on special duty to the PM K. Muthu Kumar, who draws Rs. 1.44 lakh per month.

Interestingly, the top three officials in the PMO – principal secretary to the PM Pulok Chatterji, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and adviser to the PM TKA Nair draw less than Pachauri. Chatterji considered the most important man in the PMO and the force behind all major policy decisions aimed at reviving up the government struggling to step out of a policy paralysis draws just Rs. 92,000 per month. Both Menon and Nair draw Rs. 1.13 lakh per month. PM’s special envoy S.K. Lambah also draws Rs. 1.13 lakh per month.

As far as immovable assets go, Menon owns two flats in Delhi, one in Mayur Vihar with a present market value of Rs. 1.5 crore and another in the posh Anand Niketan area with a market value of Rs. 10 crore. He earns Rs. 32.6 lakh annually from these properties. Chatterji owns two flats, one in Dwarka and another under-construction four-bedroom apartment in Greater Noida. He owns a residential plot in Faridabad as well. Nair has only one property, in Kerala; a double-storey house in Thiruvananthapuram. Overall, the PMO comes across as a huge department.

In all, 404 people keep it running at a monthly wage bill of Rs. 1.49 crore. Of the total budget of the PMO for 2012-13 which is Rs. 29.3 crore, 70 per cent (Rs. 20 crore) will be spent on paying salaries alone; Rs. 3.5 crore has been earmarked for ‘office expenses’. Every year, the PMO spends Rs. 3 crore on the foreign travel of officials or the PM and Rs. 45 lakh on domestic travel. There is no staff shortage. The only key post vacant is of media adviser to the PM after Harish Khare quit.

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Bangla Bloggers’ siege Home Ministry for murdered journalist couple

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 15th May 2012 — Police set up a barricade to stop journalists advancing forward as they declared a ‘Home Ministry siege programme’ demanding justice for the journalist couple Sagar and Runi. — Journalists demonstrate in front of the Secretariat demanding justice for the journalist couple Sagar and Runi who were gunned down in their own bedroom. (C:Demotix)

Crossing various hurdles, the Bangla bloggers conducted their programme of singing protest songs in public. Comments by the police commissioner that “permissions will be required”, not allowing the required temporary electricity connection at the protest venue, and even sudden rains during part of the evening, nothing could stop the bloggers, journalists, students and ordinary citizens from showing solidarity and participating in singing the protest songs

Bloggers have once again taken to the street, demanding justice for the murdered journalist couple Sagar Sarwar and his wife Meherun Runi.. On 11th May, 2012, they organized a protest in front of the public library in Shahbagh, Dhaka. This was their fourth protest gathering. In the early hours of 11th February, 2012, the couple was found brutally murdered in their West Rajabajar apartment in Dhaka.

At the end of the day’s event, the next steps and upcoming protest programmes were announced. Among the future protests being planned by journalists and bloggers are the following:

1. 20th May to 15th June – Public meetings at all the media houses
2. 5th June – March to the Parliament and submit a memorandum to the Speaker of the House, demanding arrest and trial of the killers of Sagar-Runi
3. 26th June – Protest march towards the Prime Minister’s Office.
4. If the administration still fails to deliver justice, all journalists across the country will stop work and undertake a ‘pen down’ programme.

Three months have passed since the murder and till date, the police have been unsuccessful in discovering any clues or leads that would help them to solve the case. The Bangladesh High Court has expressed dissatisfaction with the progress (or lack of it) of the Detective Branch (DB) of police investigating the murder. The case has since then been transferred to the anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit – Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The bodies have already been exhumed for a repeat postmortem. However, till date, there has been little progress in the investigation.