Even before the new think tank to replace the Planning Commission is officially announced, some of its functions are being defined. That includes giving the new think tank the powers to monitor the performance of different Central ministries and implementation of innovative ideas of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Prime Minister’s Office has told the secretary Planning Commission Sindhushree Khullar to regularly interact with the secretaries to ensure that they are able to do better than the targets set by them.
In addition, PM Modi brainchild ideas of Digital India, Skill India and Swacch Bharat will also be monitored by the panel. “We would be submitting regular reports to the PMO on the progress being made on these fronts,” an official said.
A minimum improvement of 10% of the target given by the ministries has been set as the performance level by the PMO for the ministries, a senior panel functionary said, and added that the officials would come out with revised targets for all ministries in consultation with the PMO. Modi at a recent function had said that he was not a headmaster but a hard-task master and the latest directive is an indication of he pushing the officials to do better.
The PMO has also said that the officials in the divisions entrusted with monitoring job would continue with their job till the new think tank is put in place. Officials in the infrastructure division will monitor work of railways, road transport and civil aviation ministries whereas some other advisors would deal with social sector ministries.
This is the first definite indication of what would be the job division of the officials in the new think tank whose nitty gritty is being worked out. The panel sources said that a list of officials to be transferred to other ministries have already been sent to the PMO.
Khullar has also made a 15-page presentation on the performance of core infrastructure ministries for 2014-15 and deliberated on the targets suggested by the ministries for the current fiscal.
The has proposed laying of 300 km new railway track during the current fiscal but the PM wants it to be minimum 500 kms. Indian railways laid 450 kms of new track in 2013-14, which was short of the targeted 500 km. Similarly, the PMO has upwardly revised the target of 700 km for doubling of rail tracks in the current fiscal against 900 km targeted in 2013-14.
The road transport ministry has been asked to ensure minimum development of 7,000 kms of new highways till end of the current financial year. This comes after the environment ministry informed the PMO that all impediments in the ministry’s clearance process for infrastructure projects have been removed.