Kerala has become the first state in India to adopt Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s minimum government maximum governance mantra and has sought the help of newly constituted National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog to ‘rationalise’ departments.
The Congress-ruled state has about 47 departments apart from over 57 directorates. The state government runs over 150 schemes for benefit of different section of the society and provides e-governance services for a large number of them.
“When Kerala CM Oommen Chandy came for last NITI Aayog meeting, he’d expressed the wish to rationalise his government to improve efficiency.
And then the PM asked him that he can take help of the NITI Aayog,” a senior government official said.
Officials from the Kerala government had held initial consultation with NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and other officials on reducing the departments and the schemes.
“Different scenarios on merging the departments and the schemes were being worked out,” an official said, adding that the Aayog, which replaced the erstwhile Planning Commission, would present its report to the Kerala government soon.
PM Modi had given a call for ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ in his first Independence Day speech last year and asked state governments to implement it at NITI Aayog meetings with chief ministers.
The last NDA government in 2000 had set up an Expenditure Finance Commission under KP Geetha Krishnan which had recommended scrapping of many of the government departments and wings and abolition of 42,000 posts.
While the 21,000 posts were reduced, its recommendations on scrapping departments could not be implemented as the NDA government was replaced by UPA in 2014.
The officials said NITI Aayog, in its restructured format, will examine how the concept of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ can be implemented in the central government.
NITI Aayog itself will be a mean organisation with the number of staff being one-third of the erstwhile Planning Commission.
The NITI Aayog has also started working on creation of project monitoring groups in each state, like the Project Monitoring Group of the central government and identification of redundant law for repealing in Rajasthan.