Adopting the best management practices of the corporate sector, the central government has introduced new parameters for the ministries and bureaucrats to evaluate their performance once every three months, instead of an annually, on the targets they list.
Just like Key Result Areas (KRA) in corporate sector, each bureaucrat, director level and above, will have to set a performance target and indicators to be achieved in three months — short term, and one year — long term.
The overall KRAs and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for a ministry will be decided by the secretary in-charge on the similar pattern and submitted to cabinet secretariat for continuous evaluation.
“We are now putting up targets which are achievable,” said a senior IAS officer in a central government ministry. Many government departments gave exaggerated targets, as failure to achieve them did not result in any negative marking on the annual career reports of the officials.
‘If the boss was happy, one got a good annual appraisal. That is not the case anymore. The new performance format, called Result Framework Document (RFD) approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has put the onus of evaluating performance of the 84 central government ministers with the newly created Performance Management unit in the cabinet secretariat.
A secretary will evaluate performance based on KRAs and KPIs of his subordinate officers whereas the cabinet secretariat will judge every secretary’s performance based on the RFD.
“A report of the committee on government performance (based on RFDs) will be submitted to Prime Minister and subsequently the cabinet will be apprised of the evaluation of the performance of each ministry,” said a circular issued by Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar.
The performance of ministries and bureaucrats will be evaluated on a five-point scale with 60 per cent being poor to 100 percent being excellent. “The ones which achieve the target will get 100 and while rest will get a score depending on the gap between target listed and achieved,” a senior government official said.
A big shift in the RFD, based on best international management practices in institutions such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund, is from the government practice of evaluating performance based on financial expenditure in a financial year to the outcome of the expenditure.
For instance, the shipping ministry will have to list cabinet notes it will circulate for the ports and related sectors and how much additional capacity in ports will be created.
Similarly, the information and broadcasting ministry will have to say the number of Public Information Campaigns it will conduct and the Human Resources Development ministry, the number of schools it will construct.
“The score will be based on the number of schools actually constructed in a stipulated period, rather than on the fund released for construction. It will mean departments will have to pursue the projects till the logical end,” the official said.
Most government departments try to spend money in the last few months of a financial year to show good performance without bothering to find out how the money was utilised.
In the first evaluation just completed, information and broadcasting ministry, road and transport and highways and health and family welfare had got poor score, whereas culture ministry has got good, power, higher education and civil aviation very good. Remaining ministries have been rated excellent.