He will induct two women ministers.


HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has expanded his over two-month-old Cabinet by adding 10 ministers on Tuesday, but kept all the key portfolios and major powers in his hands to avoid mistakes that occurred in the previous term. The CM made it clear to the newly sworn-in ministers that he would appoint their personal secretaries (PS) to steer clear of corruption charges.

As the Assembly budget session began on Friday, the ministers were told to put up with some temporary staff, but permanent PS, PAs (personal assistants) and PRO (public relations officer) and others would be given to them in a few days after a detailed scrutiny. The CM has asked for a list of clean officials who can be appointed as PS to ministers. Usually, the PS heads the peshi (office) of a minister as he or she coordinates between the minister and officials, including secretaries and principal secretaries of the department. Naturally, there will be heavy demand and pressure on the newly sworn-in ministers for PS posts. It is the prerogative of the ministers to select their PS and other personal staff, which include two PAs and a PRO.

In the previous Cabinet, KCR allowed his ministers to choose their PS, PAs and PROs based on a clearance from the intelligence branch in the police department. However, it came to the notice of the Chief Minister that some personal secretaries, in collusion with the relatives of the ministers, had resorted to misuse of power and corruption. The CM, however, gave the ministers a free hand to select their PAs, one from the party side and another from the government side and a PRO. However, the CM office would be preparing a list of PROs, based on the recommendations from the ministers, and allot them departments. Those who had worked with the ministers of the previous government would be retained. These PROs are mostly from a media background.

Meanwhile, KCR on Saturday told the Assembly that he would soon induct two women into his Cabinet, which is expected to be expanded again after the Lok Sabha elections by June. He was responding to a volley of criticism from the Opposition benches that there were no women in his Cabinet expanded on Tuesday. Congress member D. Sridhar Babu attacked the Chief Minister for even removing a woman—Padma Devender Reddy—from the post of Assembly Deputy Speaker in the previous Assembly. Now, KCR has selected his former minister Padma Rao Goud for the post as the last date for filing nominations for the Deputy Speaker’s post closed by Saturday. There were no women in the previous Cabinet of KCR, though there were six women legislators in the House then. Now the number has come down to five and still there was no representation to the fairer sex.

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