Expect government forms to get shorter, the questions crisper and the decisions faster.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during his arrival at the Prime Minister's Office at South Block in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)
Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on Friday sent out an 11-point “to-do” list to top-ranking civil servants that Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes will help usher in a new work culture in the government and make public dealings with it less painful.
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To begin with, all secretaries — who head central departments — are required to identify and remove at least 10 archaic rules and procedures that are redundant. Then, “identify forms that are in vogue and shorten them, where possible, to one page only”.
To ensure quicker decisions, all departments have been told that a file must not go through more than four layers before a final call is made.
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Seth’s note is a follow-up to Modi’s meeting with secretaries earlier this week where he asked them to cut red-tape and work harder. Seth wants the secretaries to ensure their first-action plan to implement the 11-points reaches his table by Monday.
The list also asks the departments to work in collaboration rather than confrontation. In cases officials are unable to settle differences, Seth wants officers to bring the problem to the PMO or the Cabinet Secretary rather than sit on the files.
Seth has also encouraged departments to go online for “submission of information”.
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Secretaries have been told to give status reports on their five-year goals and their department’s performance. The report will be included in the presentations to Modi PM that kick-off from Monday.
Departments have been given a four-week deadline to weed out unnecessary files and move to the digital platform wherever necessary. The secretaries have been told to monitor public grievances and ensure timely redressal.
Government offices have also been given a week to remove unnecessary files and clutter and ensure a more hygienic environment.