To decentralise Delhi, PM Modi suggests ‘out of town meetings’

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 16, 2014 01:01 IST

In line with his efforts to project the NDA government as truly national and not focused just on New Delhi, PM Narendra Modi is planning to hold big-ticket bilateral, multi-lateral and Centre-state meetings outside the capital.

Modi’s first summit dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in December will be held outside Delhi, though the venue is still not final. During their meeting on the BRICS summit sidelines, Modi had asked Putin to stay longer in India as he wanted to host the Russian leader outside Delhi too. Putin was invited to also visit the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, South Block officials said.

It is understood that the Prime Minister’s Office has asked the external affairs ministry to host the third India-Africa Forum Summit (December 1-4, 2014) outside Delhi. The first summit was held in New Delhi in 2008 and the second in Addis Ababa in 2011. Though the PMO had indicated Udaipur and Goa as choices, the “options for good hotels” in Delhi’s suburbs made the MEA opt for Gurgaon.

However, the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, to be organised by the overseas Indian affairs ministry in January 2015, has been shifted to Ahmedabad. “The PM has clearly indicated that multi-lateral events should not be confined to Delhi, but be held in major cities across the country,” a senior official said.

South Block sources said the idea is not limited to MEA as the PM wants even the home and finance ministries to host Centre-state dialogues outside New Delhi. Apparently, Modi has suggested to shift the annual chief secretaries’ and DGPs’ conferences to new venues, with the commitment that he would be there to inaugurate these.

The PM also wants to hold the annual police conference in a North-eastern state so that the Seven Sisters feel integrated with the Union.

This also means that the annual army, navy and air force commanders’ conference may be moved out of the Capital.

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