The new NDA government is getting known for its style of fast policy-making, but these decisions are reached after marathon deliberations, say government officials.
Sources say the Prime Minister spends almost half his day in briefings, going into details of different subjects and such is the thrust on detailed presentations that they often go beyond their scheduled times.
A recent meeting on the functioning of the Defence Research and Development Organisation slated for half an hour, went beyond two hours as Modi sought clarity on several aspects of the organisation’s functioning.
Modi often keeps Sundays for his long meetings with officials. Last Sunday, he reportedly spent hours discussing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India, among other issues.
Detailed briefings were also common during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s time but decisions were often deferred. Also, senior bureaucrats in Singh’s office like Pulok Chatterjee and TKA Nair regularly met ministers and officials at South Block to discuss issues, easing the pressure on Singh.
Modi generally does not leave meetings with ministers to his officials and prefers to head them himself. Also, unlike Singh, who worked mostly from his residential office at 7, Race Course Road, Modi comes to his South Block office frequently, except on Sundays, when he generally works from home.
His Sunday schedule also means that top bureaucrats of the department that has to report to the Prime Minister’s office spend hours in office preparing notes.
Even the 10-minute power-point presentations that departmental secretaries gave before Modi after he took charge have mostly exceeded their time limit. Officials said one secretary was asked to make a new presentation after the Prime Minister did not like one of the slides.