Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants to be in the loop and right from the beginning.
In a move that signals the growing desire within the Prime Minister’s Office to stay informed about proposals moved by ministries, the Cabinet Secretariat has ordered all departments to keep the PMO clued in.
“Ministries/Departments would henceforth also forward a copy of the memorandum prepared for consideration of the EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee)/ PIB (Public Investment Board) to the PMO at the time of its submission for consideration of the EFC,” the Cabinet Secretariat directed in its communication to departmental heads last fortnight.
The directive ensures that the PMO precisely knows the details of projects and schemes being pushed by various ministries. The PMO can choose to intervene and give its comments, if any, to ensure these are incorporated into the scheme at an early stage.
The EFC examines all schemes to determine if they would be worth the money spent. Once it clears schemes, they are sent to the finance ministry for approvals before finally being put before the Cabinet.
Five years ago, the PMO was brought into the picture only when proposals had crossed bureaucratic formalities and the proposals were ready to be put up before the approval of a body of ministers, the Cabinet or a group of ministers.
Last year, the Manmohan Singh government went a step forward and directed that proposals, once cleared by the EFC, be sent to the PMO also.
The recent communication indicates tightening of the PMO’s grip, ensuring that it stays informed on what the ministries concerned are up to.