‘Mamata, Alagiri absent from most cabinet meets’
New Delhi: Former railway minister Mamta Banerjee and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister MK Alagiri had the lowest attendance record at union cabinet meetings, information obtained by a Right to Information (RTI) applicant revealed.
According to the findings, while the Congress ministers in the United Progressive Alliance government have been regular in the cabinet meetings, ministers from other allies have a poor record of attendance.
Banerjee, who heads the Trinamool Conference and Alagiri, of the DMK, had the lowest attendance record.
"Ministers from smaller regional allies of UPA government have no seriousness even for attending cabinet meetings with Mamta Banerjee and MK Alagiri with the worst record of having attended just about 15 percent of cabinet meetings," said RTI activist Subhash Agarwal, who had filed the query.
While Alagiri attended eight out 48 cabinet meetings in fiscal 2010-11, Banerjee, who resigned from the cabinet to take over as the West Bengal chief minister, had attended only six.
However, the ministers from Congress, which leads the UPA government, have had a good track record with some recording full or near full attendance.
According to the findings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister AK Antony have cent percent attendance while Home Minister P Chidambaram and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal are also close to the 100 percent figure.
"Analysis of attendance of union ministers in cabinet-meetings as revealed through RTI response reveals that only ministers from main national party (Congress) in UPA alliance are serious in legislative business by having appreciable attendance-record in cabinet meetings with some of them being even cent percenters," said Agarwal.
The government denied any provisions to make the attendance record of cabinet meetings public by posting the details on an official website.
"As of date, there is no such proposal in the cabinet secretariat," said KL Sharma, director in the cabinet secretariat.