PM Prepares 10 Power Points to Juice Up India’s Balance Sheet
Modi assigns maximum importance to need for empowering bureaucracy, asks ministers to prepare detailed action plan for NDA’s first 100 days in office
PThe PM told his ministers to treat governance as the most important subject, with a sharp focus on delivery and implementation
rime Minister Narendra Modi, chairing his second Cabinet meeting on Thursday, unveiled a 10-point framework for ‘suraaj’ or good governance, assigning maximum importance to the need for empowering the bureaucracy to work without the fear that actions will be investigated postretirement. This agenda for governance should be embedded into day-to-day functioning and policy making, he told ministers.
Importantly, Modi has also asked ministers to ensure that all issues left pending by the previous UPA government are resolved on a priority basis and a detailed action plan be put in place for the NDA’s first 100 days in office. The PM told ministers to treat governance as the most important subject, with a sharp focus on delivery and implementation.
“You must keep these points on your table where you can see them all the time. People have put their trust in us and we cannot let them down,” Modi is learnt to have told his Cabinet in a meeting that lasted around 90 minutes. The message began to percolate through the system soon after. Telecom and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Sanchar Bhawan officials to “shun fear in decision-making” and assured them the government will “fully back honest decisionmaking.”
Corruption investigations under the previous UPA regime had led to a state in which officials became wary of taking decisions, leading to administrative paralysis. Several retired bureaucrats became the subject of inquiries.
“The PM’s stress on governance is the need of the hour which has been lacking,” said urban development and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu after the Cabinet meeting, where the dates for the first session of the new Lok Sabha were approved.
Promising to meet all ministers and secretaries separately, Modi also made a point of asking cabinet ministers to share their workload with junior ministers. “The PM told us to take ministers of state along and give them proper work, adding that we should build new teams for the future,” Naidu said.
Former home secretary GK Pillai welcomed the move by the Modi to meet secretaries separately and his asking ministers to build confidence in them. “The PM has been keeping away from secretaries for a long time, so it’s good if he reestablishes that link and assures them of protection on bonafide decisions taken to deliver outcomes. This message needs to be conveyed to the last level of bureaucracy as well,” Pillai said.
“At the same time, there is a need to tell the Central Bureau of Investigation to draw up some guidelines on probing bureaucrats who have turned over-cautious as any decision that leads to financial benefits to someone else can be construed as a violation of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” he added.
Apart from the 100-day action plan, Modi wants all issues “pending in the department, because of the old government or any other reason, be treated on a priority basis to resolve them,” Naidu said. Modi heard out ideas from ministers about their own departments before he spoke. “What is a priority is common sense,” Naidu said, when asked if inflation was one of the key issues on the PM’s mind. “Obviously, it’s price rise and other well-known problems. What the PM has talked about is the broader theme for governance, implementation mechanism and delivery,” he said. “Every sector is important, every section is important. People have very high expectations from us. What is important for one may not seem important to another,” said Naidu. On the government’s legislative agenda in the short run, Naidu said he has begun the process of studying which bills have lapsed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and need to be revived. A decision on this will be taken later, but major legislative business is not expected before the Budget session of Parliament. The PM also reiterated the importance of dealing with states’ problems on a priority basis. “Letters from the state government and representations should be given importance and should be responded to immediately. The PM’s stress, from day one, has been to take the states along with the Centre to strengthen the federal structure,” the minister said. “The bureaucracy is an integral part of decision-making and implementation, so must get the support of their bosses. There can never be 100% right decisions, but they must be backed for decisions made with the right intent and the right clarity of mind, otherwise the system won't work,” said Ajay Shriram, CII president and chairman of DCM Shriram Consolidated.