Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken cognizance of the complaints of ministers of state that they were not being given work and assured them that he would take up the matter with cabinet ministers.
The guidelines from Singh could include routing files through the junior ministers and directives to officials to take into account their views.
At the two-hour-long meeting, nearly a dozen participants cutting across parties and ministries complained they were not being given enough work (by their seniors) and not being kept in the loop on decisions of the ministries.
They wanted their services and experience used, the MoSes empowered and a structure put in place.
Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar took notes of what the MoSs said.
Barring some exceptions, most MoSes did not spare their bosses, without naming them of course.
Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy (junior minister for urban development) was the first to speak. He reportedly asked Singh to do away the MoS slot. He also wanted the Prime Minister and not the cabinet minister to do the work allocation.
The other speakers included Srikant Jena, D. Purendeswari, Jyotiraditya Scindia, M.M. Pallam Raju, Bharatsinh Solanki, Panabaka Lakshmi, E. Ahamad and K.M. Muniyappa, although their styles differed.
The Prime Minister also asked the junior ministers to be accessible to MPs, be alert in Parliament and visit states to propagate the government’s achievements.
Of the 38 junior ministers, 33 were present at the meeting.