To ensure that programmes announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget are not stuck in unnecessary paperwork, the government has set a 20-day deadline to the bureaucracy to get all approvals for implementing them.
“As you are aware, during the presentation of budget 2014-15, new programmes, schemes and announcements have been made… These programmes, schemes and announcements will now require to be operationalised with all earnestness,” cabinet secretary Ajit Seth said in a letter sent out to all ministries on July 18.
Seth said the first step towards this objective was to formulate details of these programmes and get approvals to launch them. He set an August 10 deadline for the heads of all departments and ministries to complete this process.
A senior official said the move was prompted by past experiences, where schemes announced by finance ministers often took more than six months to get off the ground.
He cited the example of the Rs. 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund announced by Jaitley’s predecessor, P Chidambaram. The UPA minister had announced the fund in the wake of the December 2012 gangrape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi to address the issue of crimes against women. However, differences among ministries on what the money should be spent on and which ministry should control the purse strings held up its implementation.
The government wants to avoid a similar situation, where differences between ministries slow down decision-making.
The PM had told his ministers to quickly resolve differing viewpoints and refer the sticky issues to him. Seth has also adopted this strategy and asked department heads to keep him posted on any significant developments.