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Minister staff

New Delhi, July 1: The Prime Minister’s Office is considering relaxing the stringent rules it framed last month for appointing personal staff of ministers, reports our special correspondent.

New rules being drafted in South Block may allow ministers to select people who have not worked with ministers in the past three years of the UPA government, sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month decreed through a communication from the department of personnel and training that “any officer/official/private person who had worked earlier in the personal staff of a minister in any capacity for any duration may not be appointed in the personal staff of ministers in the present government”.

Following the communication, several ministers who had already appointed private secretaries or officers on special duty had to change their staff.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh had appointed Alok Singh who had worked with former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid. Junior minister Kiren Rijiju had selected IPS officer Abhinav Kumar who had earlier been attached to former minister Shashi Tharoor.

Both officers were replaced with new faces. Although Rajnath’s and Rijiju’s first choices are unlikely to return as they had served in the preceding three years, some others might benefit.