Thiruvananthapuram: Former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, 97, has decided to step down as the Chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission. He has been holding the post since 2016 soon after the Left Democratic Front government came to power in the state.
Achuthanandan is quitting the post just a few months before the term of the current government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan expires. Ahead of the resignation, Achuthanandan vacated his official quarters in the state capital.
The veteran CPM leader had lost out in the chief ministerial race to party colleague Pinarayi Vijayan. Subsequently, he was accommodated as the chief of the Administrative Reforms Commission.
He cited poor health as the reason for quitting the post.
Achuthanandan is the fourth head of the Commission and its longest-serving chief since the formation of the Kerala state in 1956. E. M. S. Namboodiripad, M. K. Vellodi and E. K. Nayanar headed the Administrative Reforms Commission when it was set up in 1957, 1965 and 1997 respectively. Namboodiripad and Nayanar were former chief ministers, whereas Vellodi was an ICS officer.
As the head of the commission, Achuthanandan was granted a rank equivalent to that of a Cabinet minister. The government also created different posts for the body including a dozen personal staff to aid the former chief minister.
Achuthanandan’s personal staff include a private secretary, assistant private secretary, stenographer, two personal assistants, four clerks/office attendants, two drivers and a cook and a personal security officer. As reported earlier, the post entailed severe expenses to the state exchequer.
The commission has also been granted the posts of an additional secretary, deputy collector, finance officer (deputy secretary), section officer, two undersecretaries, three assistants, three confidential assistants ( two for English and one for Malayalam) apart from daily wagers including a driver, data entry operator and three office attendants.
The other members of the commission enjoy the rank of chief secretary.