White papers brought out by ministries in future must be cleared by the cabinet before they can be tabled in Parliament, says a note from Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar to all ministries and departments.
The directive is a fallout of the White Paper released by the railway ministry on Dece-mber 18, which embarrassed the government, said sources close to the development.
The note, sent on January 28, says the step is “in keeping with the principle of collective responsibility of the council of ministers”.
The White Paper on the Railways, apparently made public without any clearance barring that of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, thrashed the performance of her predecessor Lalu Prasad, and rubbished earlier claims made by the Railways that it had a huge cash surplus.
Though Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal is no longer an ally, unlike during the UPA’s first term of governance, Banerjee’s criticism put Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a spot since he had publicly praised Prasad’s performance earlier.
“The government also does not want a situation in which present or former allies use White Papers to take potshots at one another,” said a senior official.