Last month junior ministers had protested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that their seniors were not giving them work. A month later, many of them continue to remain an unhappy lot.
“There has been no change since the meeting. I am saying this from my personal experience and from the discussions I have had with other ministers of state. The Prime Minister had told us that he will take up the matter in the cabinet but I have no information about that,’’ Saugata Roy, minister of state for urban development and Trinamool Congress MP from Dum Dum in West Bengal said.
Barring Roy, no one else was willing to come on record for fear of risking the annoyance of their bosses. “There has been no change in the situation,’’ said one. “Barring a handful of junior ministers, others have still not got any work,’’ said another. “Our wait is still on,’’ maintained yet another.
So far, sources said, there has been no general instruction issued to cabinet ministers on delegating work to their juniors or of keeping them in the loop.
When contacted, Prime Minister’s Media Advisor Harish Khare maintained: “Every minister of state has already been allocated work.’’
But a PMO official, on condition of anonymity, said that the January 19 meeting took place because the junior ministers wanted an audience with the Prime Minister. “They got it. They were satisfied. But some of them wanted more work, which they will get in due course.”
After the meeting, a press release said that the PM discussed “ways and means for better utilisation of the enormous pool of talent’’ in the MoSes team.
Roy was the first to speak that day. He had reportedly asked the PM to do away with the MoS slot as they were not being given work. Nearly a dozen junior ministers had spoken that day. They wanted the MoSes empowered, their services and experiences used and a structure put in place.
According to Pradeep Jain ‘Aditya’, minister of state for rural development: “All three of us in the rural development ministry were allotted work from day one.’’
But according to a government source, there are also cases where a junior minister has been given work but he chooses to spend more time in his constituency.