Bureaucrats seem to have an aversion to social-sector ministries and prefer more plum postings in lucrative departments, HT has learnt.
The minority affairs ministry has been hamstrung with such a tendency, which has affected some of its key programmes.
A similar situation exists in the social justice ministry, which finds it difficult to get officers when vacancies arise.
In the recent past, at least three senior bureaucrats, nominated as joint secretaries in the minority affairs ministry, have opted out.
Worse, the original team that devised and began spadework on key welfare programmes has disintegrated.
Most of the pioneering schemes related to minority welfare, such as scholarships and the multi-sectoral development plans, were formulated by MN Prasad as secretary, along with his deputies A Luikham and Ashish Joshi, the nodal officer for the PM's recast 15-point programme for minorities and implementation of Sachar Committee recommendations.
While Prasad had moved to the PMO before joining the World Bank, Luikham did not seek an extension when his tenure ended in October.
Joshi too is learnt to have sought repatriation to his parent cadre because of policy differences with current secretary Surajit Mitra.
According to insiders, major programmes, such as computerisation of wakf properties has slowed down.
Digitisation of wakf properties - fully funded by the Centre - requires the ministry to constantly push states.
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), meant to be an overarching panel to root out inequalities, also risks falling through.
The EOC Bill, when passed, will give India its first equality law designed to prevent discrimination from taking root. The last UPA government had formed an expert committee to suggest its nature and scope.
The commission is a poll manifesto promise of the ruling Congress and was recommended by the Sachar Committee, which probed disadvantages faced by Muslims as the largest minority.
Most ministers, tasked with overseeing its creation as part of GoM, want the commission's jurisdiction restricted just to minorities and the private sector kept out of its scope. There has been little headway since.
"The government can avoid such limbos by identifying officers who have some academic interest in the social sector," a senior government official said.