Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled his broad policy priorities on Thursday, instructing his ministers to prepare their respective agenda for the first 100 days in office and ensure their time-bound delivery.
Modi told his cabinet to focus on efficient governance, delivery and implementation of projects and to work closely with states to ensure the collective progress of the country. He spelled out 10 broad policy priorities that included boosting infrastructure and investment, a stable policy ecosystem and a freer hand to the bureaucracy to implement plans.
"The Prime Minister issued guidelines to the ministers … He asked the ministers to set a timetable for the first 100 days listing the priorities," parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after attending the cabinet meeting chaired by Modi.
"State proposals should not be kept pending for long. There is a need to take the states along," Naidu said, reflecting a view that Modi as chief minister of Gujarat had frequently pushed for.
Still, Thursday’s announcements appeared lacking in detail as to what the government would grasp first given the scale of the country’s economic problems, including high prices, poor public finances and a waning of interest among investors.
Expectations from Modi remain sky high and his government must deliver fast on creating jobs and building infrastructure to justify his powerful mandate to reform the ailing economy.
Watch video: PM asks all ministries to set 100-day agenda
But Naidu refused to clarify what the government’s top focus was.
"Containing inflation is an obvious priority for the government," he said.
“All sectors are a priority (for the Prime Minister) and expectations are high,” Naidu said, adding that agriculture and women’s security were also focus areas.
He also said Parliament will sit from June 4 for the first time since the election to swear in new lawmakers and select a speaker of the house on June 6. Congress’ Kamal Nath would be the temporary speaker of Lok Sabha until then.
In signs that the Prime Minister’s Office would become the most important policy making centre, Modi told his ministers that he would, from time to time, directly interact with secretaries of various departments.
He also urged his cabinet to give ample work to the ministers of state (Mos).
“But an MoS is an MoS. Try to understand. A cabinet minister is responsible. They have to segregate work,” Naidu said.
“He cannot give total decision-making to an MoS. But certain work has to be given to the MoS so that they have the satisfaction of having some role.”