Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has laid down the ground rules for his ministers.
And the buzzwords are good governance, delivery on promises, coordination among cabinet colleagues — and in a start to a new era of cooperation — a bipartisan approach in dealing with states and opposition parties.
In a three-page letter, Singh told his cabinet colleagues not to go public on issues that require coordination among ministries.
<b1>“Let me….remind you that matters that require the views or concurrence of other ministries or involve unbudgeted financial outlays ought not to be made public without due consultation…,” he said. “Needless to say, in case you have urgent problems or you consider it necessary to make any policy announcements you can always taken them up with me.”
Those in charge of flagship programmes must plug “loopholes” with single-minded devotion, he said.
Referring to his government’s 100-day action plan, Singh said the principal secretary would follow up on the issues raised in last week’s President’s Address within the time frames indicated.
Singh urged his cabinet ministers to give work to their juniors.
“This would not only give them a sense of involvement and ownership but would also groom them for bigger roles in the future,” he said.
He also wanted them to give appointments to MPs on a priority basis and respond to their letters quickly; give “due consideration” to the opposition’s views towards the collective well-being of people; respond quickly and effectively to requests of chief ministers and state ministers; and ensure an “appropriate role” for panchayati raj institutions and civil society in formulation and implementation of development projects and schemes.
“We need to push the frontiers and question outdated practices to bring a critical edge to governance,” the PM said. “The Decade of Innovation… should see promotion of creativity and innovation in your areas of work.”
The letter talked of the responsibility of ministers towards the institutions in their domain. “The spirit of functional autonomy in which they have been conceived should be respected in full and there should be no action that may lead to the erosion of this autonomy or credibility,” he said.