Kolkata: West Bengal assembly passed a bill aimed at appointment of parliamentary secretaries who will enjoy the status, privileges and perks similar to that of a minister of state on Thursday, the last day of the winter session in the absence of the Opposition.
The West Bengal Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous) Bill, 2012, was moved in the house by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and was adopted by voice vote after Speaker Biman Banerjee put it to vote following a debate.
As per the bill the parliamentary secretary meant a member of the West Bengal assembly appointed to the post under the proposed act by the chief minister. However, the number of the parliamentary secretaries was not specified.
The strength of the state council of ministers is 44.
The parliamentary secretaries would be appointed from among the sitting MLAs and would function as an intermediary between the departmental secretaries and the concerned minister and liaison with leaders of other parties and groups.
The bill prohibits a parliamentary secretary from practising any profession or being involved in trade or commerce or accept remuneration from any other source.
The proposed legislation would help planning and coordination of legislative and other official business in the state assembly, besides liaising with the leaders of various parties and groups represented in the House.
The parliamentary secretaries would also advise ministers on procedure and other assembly matters, besides maintaining coordination of action by ministers on recommendations of general application made by assembly committees.
Later Chatterjee told reporters that the post existed since 1937 and also during the erstwhile Left Front rule.
"This time we have only broadened the scope of the bill," he said.