The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Tuesday denied that performance of ministers would be judged by bureaucrats and categorically maintained that the “entire process has to be driven by the ministers”.
"It is not factually correct to say that serving officers will evaluate the performance of the ministers," the PMO said in a statement. "The Prime Minister's order is clear that the entire process has to be driven by the ministers."
The lengthy clarification followed media reports that the government had developed a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) under which the performance of ministers "would be reported by bureaucrats".
"It is also not true that a minister and secretary are jointly required to sign the Results-Framework Document (RFD)," the statement said.
"The PM's order does not have any such requirement. The minister has the prerogative and the final authority to decide on the priorities and deliverables for the concerned department at the beginning of the year.
"Once the priorities, direction and deliverables are decided by the minister, it is the responsibility of the department to achieve these results. The PMES makes this practice more systematic and transparent."
According to the PMO, to achieve results commensurate with the priorities listed in the RFD, the minister in charge will approve the proposed activities and schemes for the ministry and department.
“The ministers in charge will also approve the corresponding success indicators (Key Result Areas - KRAs or Key Performance Indicators - KPIs) and time bound targets to measure progress in achieving these objectives.”
“Once the priorities, direction and deliverables are decided by the minister, it is the responsibility of the department to achieve these results. The PMES makes this practice more systematic and transparent,” the PMO said.
It was further pointed out that the system was not run by a committee on government performance.
Further to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's orders, the main function of this committee is to ensure uniformity, consistency and coordinated action across various departments.
“It (committee) does the secretarial work of preparing guidelines, ensuring timely submission of RFDs, and providing feedback to the ministries/departments concerned. It plays a supportive role to facilitate the smooth functioning of PMES.”
“This committee does not evaluate the performance of ministries or departments. It merely provides technical support to facilitate such evaluation by the ministers concerned. The objective is to ensure accountability of the department to the minister, who lays down the goals and targets for each period and reviews them.”