Did Junior Social Justice Minister Not Know About Quota Bill?

Following the tabling of the bill, reports emerged that “military secrecy” was maintained in its lead up.

2 min read
Krishan Pal Gurjar (speaking), MoS, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry

The government’s decision to introduce a 10 percent quota in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically backward section of the general category came as a surprise for many.

From what appears now, Minister of State (MoS) for the social justice and empowerment ministry, Krishan Pal Gurjar too did not know about it, even on the day the quota Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

On Tuesday, 8 January, in an unstarred question, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Kotha Prabhakar Reddy asked “whether the government is exploring the scope of providing reservation for poor candidates from forward communities for education and employment”.

In reply, Gurjar said “At present, no such proposal is under consideration.”

The question numbered ‘UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 4475’ and the response are now available on the official website of Lok Sabha.

Screenshot of the question and the minister’s response
Screenshot of the question and the minister’s response
Image Courtesy: www.loksabha.nic.in
The minister’s response invokes curiosity as the Union Cabinet had approved the quota on the evening of 7 January - a day before he gave this reply - and the development was widely covered by the media as well.

Subsequently, Thawarchand Gehlot, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister and Gurjar’s senior in the same ministry, tabled the bill in the Lok Sabha on 8 January.

Following the tabling of the bill, reports emerged that “military secrecy” was maintained in the lead up to its introduction.

Quoting sources, NDTV, in a report said that the quota proposal was added to the cabinet agenda at the eleventh hour to avoid leaks.

“A cabinet note was prepared three days before the special meeting held at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official home, without any mention of the quota bill,” the report said.

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