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VP has eye on frills in life after

New Delhi, July 11: Hamid Ansari may not have been nominated for President but if his office has its way, Vice-Presidents can live like Presidents after stepping down.

The former diplomat’s office has proposed that post-retirement benefits Vice-Presidents now enjoy be brought on a par with those of a retired President.

Sources said if the changes are approved, a retired Vice-President’s road travel bills would be taken care of by the government and the value of entitlement to furniture would be increased to what a retired President or a serving cabinet minister enjoys — a “one-time sum of Rs 2.5 lakh”.

At present, the Vice-President’s entitlement is the same as a deputy minister’s.

“The proposed amendments to the Vice-President Pension, Housing and Other Facilities Rules were sent to the finance ministry for clearance this week,” a government source said.

According to the sources, the proposals were first sent to the home ministry in May, before the buzz about a second term for Ansari as Vice-President. The home ministry forwarded the proposals to the finance ministry.

Once the finance ministry clears the amendments, the home ministry will issue a notification effecting the change in the rules. The notification is likely by the end of this month, the sources said. The election for Vice-President is in August.

Sources said a Vice-President is entitled to a Type VIII bungalow (of about 2,000sqft living area) after retirement, like a President, but there were differences in fringe benefits. Some of these “anomalies” were now being addressed, they said.

Asked about the changes, sources in the Vice-President’s secretariat said the issue had first come up after then Vice-President Krishan Kant died in harness in July 2002. The rules were then amended to provide better facilities for his wife. However, the “anomalies” were not removed completely.

“But we are not involved at all in making any amendments to the rules. It is the government, the home ministry, that does it,” a secretariat official said, refusing to comment further.