Ministers preach quotas for the weaker sections and advocate giving them the first claim over public resources. But when it comes to appointing people from reserved categories to key positions in their personal staff, they don’t practise what they preach.
This is what Delhi resident Devashish Bhattacharya found after he applied under the right to information law this June.
In the departments responding to his query, just four private secretaries were from the reserved categories against 42 from the general category.
Cabinet ministers can appoint 15 members in their personal staff, for MoSs it’s 13. They can appoint outsiders too. The private secretary, a gazetted officer, is at the top.
Bhattacharya found that HRD Minister Arjun Singh, who pushed the OBC quota in higher education last year, has seven gazetted officers — all from the general category.
Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has one assistant PS from the reserved category while Meira Kumar, the social justice and empowerment minister, who wanted scheduled caste quotas raised to match their population, has two.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has three officers in his office — all from the general category. The PMO said: “Reservations don’t apply to posts filled by deputation. As the posts on the personal staff of Ministers/PM are filled on deputation basis, they are outside the purview of reservation rules.”