Sam Pitroda’s new Avatar generates questions which the Chief Minister should Answer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If BJD members are just not slaves, they must oppose Sam Pitroda’s entry into Orissa administration in the rank of a cabinet minister.

Slaves do not bother about constitution of their land. To them the paramount power that they are to obey belongs only to their owner, none or nothing else. Without any question they obey him and without any hesitation they carry out his orders, even if that goes against the constitution of the country.

This syndrome is discernible in appointment of Sam Pitroda as Orissa’s IT adviser whose “vision” shall control the State’s fate till 2036 and beyond.

Sam Pitroda is a famous person on whom Oriyas pride because of his birth link with Orissa. But his appointment as IT adviser in rank of a cabinet minister without any salary, with power to interpret and intervene in administration to prepare Orissa’s vision – 2036 is the last thing we can approve.

Pitroda’s new Avatar is generating certain questions that need to be answered by the chief minister in public interest.

The first question is: Why Pitroda is willing to work without any salary? Salary is a compensation for service legally rendered.

Nobody can be required or permitted to work without any compensation which must be no less than the minimum amount prescribed for the job.

How does Pitroda agree to work without a salary? Why does the State require his free service?

If a lawyer says, he can work without a salary if appointed as a judge, can we allow? No.

Everybody who works for the State must claim and be paid with salary. If someone volunteers not to receive salary from the State, then, there must be a shadow payer. That is dangerous. People have a right to know who pays for a work done officially.

Citation of patriotism as reason of voluntary service would never be tenable.

As noted above, judges are also not deficient in patriotism; they get paid.

Ministers are paid; MLAs are paid; MPs are paid; even though they are elected persons who profess to serve selflessly.

So, why Sam Pitroda shall serve without salary? Who shall compensate him and why, behind back of the people? This question is specifically pertinent when spectrum scam has kept the entire country engaged and IT sector is a battle zone of lobbyists; be it for public land, be it for official projects.

The second question is: Was Sam Pitroda the adviser to Karnataka where its software exports in 2014-15 crossed the worth of Rs.2,00,000/- crore as against Orissa’s mere Rs.2,564/- crore?No, he was not the adviser there.

Why then Orissa failed despite having started the IT export as far back as in 1995?

When the government has no answer to this, how and why they decided that with Pitroda as adviser, Orissa IT export shall reach the Karnataka level?

Do they count lobby value? If yes, unfortunate. If no, then the government must make people know in details as to why Orissa is lagging behind so miserably.

Sam Pitroda should not be used to cover up the unproductive anarchy that has engulf Orissa in this entire period.

The third question is: If Sam Pitroda is to work without any salary from the State, will he be answerable to the people?

No , he cannot be.

Answerability of any official functionary is linked only to the payment he receives from the people. If there is no payment, there is no answerability.

If such a man, who is not answerable to the people, is to draw Vision-2036, what for there is the chief secretary of the State and his pack of secretaries that are drawing highest amounts of salary from the State exchequer and are bound to be answerable?

The fourth question is: Do the chief minister or his stooges in the cabinet have the power to appoint anybody in the rank of a cabinet minister, with all privileges a cabinet minister enjoys?

In other words, has the chief minister of Orissa or his cabinet the power to make extra-constitutional appointments in the rank of a cabinet minister?

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should come forward with answers to these question, because Orissa is not his fee simple.

Under guise of preparation of Vision 2036, Pitroda shall command the chief secretary and all other departmental secretaries to place before him the details of their activities and plans and programs. The legitimate functionaries of the State shall be forced to submit to extra-constitutional authority of Pitroda.

The people of Orissa have the right to know whether or not this shall demoralize the executive and what exactly is the brief on which he is to work and whether or not he shall be answerable to the people of Orissa.

The combine of political slaves that constitute Orissa’s council of ministers shall have to act under commands of Pitroda, as he is to author the vision 2036. They are bound to apprise him of their ideas and activities of their respective department.

The chief minister must tell the people if he has made any advance study of its impact on the ministers.

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