Fadnavis picks outsiders to give CMO a fresh outlook

  • Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 27, 2014 00:31 IST

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is doing away with the tradition in state administration, where senior bureaucrats used to call the shots in policy making.

He is setting up the chief minister’s office (CMO) on the lines of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), by inducting experts from outside, who are hired as Officers on Special Duty (OSD).

The core group of experts, along with bureaucrats, will brainstorm issues across departments, keeping in mind the government’s vision of transparency, efficiency and inclusiveness.

Social media expert and youth politician Nidhi Kamdar, 27; management consultant Kaustubh Dhavse, 36; and policy analyst Priya Khan, 39 — all of whom have worked with the CM earlier — have joined the CMO.

Kamdar was active in the Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha, BJP’s social media cell. She managed Fadnavis’ twitter handle during the polls. Khan has helmed the think tank, Socio Political And Research Kendra (SPARK) that Fadnavis and state education minister Vinod Tawde set up when they were in the opp-osition, to analyse budgets and government policies.

Khan has 12 years of experience analysing government policies and budget.

Dhavse, a management consultant, has worked with various governments for their e-governance initiatives. He helped draft Fadnavis’ vision Maharashtra document.

“Certain methods and mechanisms have been followed for several years in the government. The core group will help assess if these are relevant today by evaluating the existing policies and schemes, and brainstorming new ones. The central idea is to reduce red tape and make government service-oriented and efficient,” said a bureaucrat.

The change in the administration is being seen in some of the CM’s decisions. For instance, in a move to decentralise power, bureaucrats now have transfer powers. Fadnavis is also trying to fast-track industrial investments, by reducing the required clearances from 70 to 15.

Hiring outsiders is Fadnavis’ method of bringing in a fresh, innovative perspective. Two more OSDs may come on board, apart from the three secretaries who have already been appointed – principal secretary Praveen Pardeshi, secretary Milind Mhaiskar and Pravin Darade.

“Besides handling twitter accounts for the CM, CMO and Make in Maharashtra, we are looking at eventually getting all departments on the social media. This is the new way of communication. We would like to establish a two-way interaction between the CM and citizens,” Kamdar said.

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