Panel members get paid for expertise

New Delhi, April 29: Several members of the Planning Commission are associated with various international organisations in their personal capacity and have received payments for their work in their areas of expertise. In one case, the payment was as much as $10,000 for a single assignment.

This and other facts were given by the Planning Commission to this correspondent under an application filed under the Right to Information Act. The application under RTI Act was filed on March 5, and according to the rule, the reply should be given within 30 days, but the Planning Commission sent the reply 15 days late. The reply mentioned that Anwarul Hoda was paid $10,000 for a one-time assignment in his personal capacity for writing a paper on "Special Products: Options for Negotiation Modalities", for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, (ICTSD), Geneva. ICTSD, according to its official website, was established in Geneva in September 1996 to contribute to a better understanding of development and environment concerns in the context of international trade.

The payment comes to Rs 4,30,000 for a single assignment.

Another member, who has also in his personal capacity taken up an assignment is Dr V.L. Chopra, who is member of science council under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, (CGIAR). Dr Chopra was paid $600 for each day's work at the council, according to the commission.

He was required to devote 30 days per year, to help accomplish the council's world programme which may also include 2-3 meetings in a year. So that brings the total amount to $18,000 per year, which in rupees is Rs 7,74,000 per year.

Lastly, Dr Kirit Parikh, who handles the area of energy and water in the Planning Commission, took up a one-time assignment to review the report on regional energy security as regional energy expert for the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy. He was paid $200 for this, which is Rs 8,600 for the assignment.

The USAID's South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/Energy) programme focuses on regional approaches to meet South Asia's energy security need through increased trade, investment and access to clean energy. Sari/Energy countries include Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Panel members get paid for expertise