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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Fewer ministries, more funds to states on Modi's agenda

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 22, 2014
First Published: 00:41 IST(22/5/2014) | Last Updated: 11:32 IST(22/5/2014)

As Prime Minister, Narendra Modi may achieve what incumbent PM Manmohan Singh could not — structural reforms for effective implementation of government policies. It would mean lesser but effective ministries and outcome-based programme implementation.

The work for it has already started with the secretaries told to prepare a blue-print and present it to Modi after the swearing-in on May 26. Modi’s team also has a plan looking at sector-wise approach.

Government sources said Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was briefed by Modi on his plan for the new government including merger of ministries to put an end to departments working at cross purposes and outcome-based government schemes.

“We have been asked to make a presentation to the Cabinet Secretary in this regard,” a secretary-level official told HT, adding that it would be done in a couple of days.

Government sources said they would propose merger of some economic and social ministries. In the new format, there could be an energy ministry by merging power, petroleum and new and renewable energy ministries with minister of state in-charge of different sectors.

A holistic social empowerment ministry may integrate social justice and empowerment, disability affairs and tribal affairs. The rural development and panchayati raj ministries would be under charge of a Cabinet minister.

Considering Modi’s focus on job creation, the departments for youth affairs, skill development — spread across labour and HRD ministries — and medium and small industries may be with one minister.

The same minister is likely to be in-charge of HRD ministry likely to be restructured in coming months with all educational aspects under one umbrella.

The NDA government is also keen to restructure the scheme implementation and monitoring mechanism. In this, the newly created Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) headed by former UN functionary Ajay Chhibber would develop templates for outcome-based implementation of schemes.

A senior BJP leader said that the new government will focus on 100 most backward districts of the country and the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) would be redefined. As of now, the BRGF has two components — state and district — and it covers 250 districts in seven states.


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