An ambitious, first-of-its-kind evaluation system devised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the country’s top bureaucrats has run into rough weather.
A section of secretaries are objecting to the exclusion of key ministries — finance, home, defence, law, planning commission and the Prime Minister’s Office — from its purview.
"Unless these ministries, which influence the work of other departments, are brought under the scanner, the results framework document (RFD) would turn redundant and unproductive,” a social sector secretary, who expressed his discontentment to the cabinet secretariat evaluating the ministries, told HT.
The resentment came to the fore even as the cabinet secretariat asked various departments to submit their RFDs for 2011-12 by March 7.
An expert committee is to evaluate performances in 2010-11 in May. The RFD for the performance monitoring and evaluation system was approved by the PM in September 2009. Though the original idea was to cover all 84 ministries and departments, it started with 59 departments in the last quarter of 2009-10.
Another three departments were added for this fiscal. The secretaries who are accountable for not meeting targets set under the RFD are unhappy over the insulation provided to some select ministries.
They point out that these very ministries are often responsible for tardy movement of policies and projects and should certainly come within the ambit of the evaluation.
"Our proposals or even simple procedural files are stuck in these key ministries for months, severely affecting delivery. What use is this evaluation mechanism if these particular ministries are not under the RFD review?" a secretary of another social sector department asked.
A senior cabinet secretariat official admitted, “There is resistance from some secretaries forming a minority in the total of 62 departments. Some secretaries are opposed to the RFD and are questioning the exclusions. But the PM did not keep away any department. It is only for practical, operational reasons that the RFD is being implemented in phases.”