Modi unveils plan for maximum governance

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Delivery, implementation of projects top priority

Modi unveils plan for maximum governance
Cracking the whip and setting the tone for his government, prime minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday made it clear to his cabinet colleagues that he means business and that they should focus on governance, delivery and implementation of programmes.

At a cabinet meeting, the government also decided dates for the first brief Parliament session to be held between June 4 and June 11. Modi also asked ministers to set a 100-day agenda for their respective departments and ministries.

Earlier Modi had reportedly directed the new ministers not to appoint relatives as personal staff as it would send a wrong signal to the people.

The new prime minister, who will unveil his 10-point vision at a national broadcast in the next few days, will give top priority to rein-in inflation and to check rampant and widespread corruption, the two major issues that contributed in a great measure to the Congress-led UPA’s recent election debacle.

Briefing newsmen, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said that containing inflation is top priority for the new government. Modi also instructed ministers to tackle issues brought forth by state governments.

Modi, a three-term Gujarat chief minister, is aware of the over-centralised process of decision making during the UPA regime and is keen to push promises made in the BJP manifesto to improve centre-state relations in keeping with the “true spirit of federalism.”

Modi’s directives at the cabinet meeting was in the context of his proposed ten-point vision that lays emphasis on restoring investors’ confidence, boosting investment particularly in the creaking infrastructure, speeding up mega projects and completing them in a time-bound manner.

One of the fallouts of UPA’s policy paralysis are pending of several mega projects, particularly in power and other infrastructure sectors. There were Rs 15 lakh crore worth of projects that were stuck and the cabinet committee on investment constituted in 2012 has so far fast tracked clearance of Rs 6.6 lakh crore worth of projects. Even the ones fast tracked, are yet to take off in any visible manner.

Modi also wanted cabinet ministers to fix a 100-day agenda and the purpose of his address to the nation would be to send out a clear message across the country that the ‘most important’ is the need to focus on efficient governance, delivery and implementation of schemes and programmes.

The government spends over Rs 4 lakh crore on flagship schemes but the system is so leaky that it hardly reaches the person it is intended. Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi once said only 16 paise reached the beneficiary out of every rupee meant for them under various schemes.

For instance, only 15 per cent of over Rs 70,000 crore oil subsidy actually reached the targeted recipient, the rest getting lost in the leaky system, siphoned off or benefiting those for whom it is not intended. The government also spends Rs 70,000 crore to deliver Rs 20,000 crore worth of food grain to the poor.

“The PM issued guidelines to the ministers at the cabinet meeting... He asked the ministers to set a timetable for the first 100 days listing the priorities,” Naidu said.

The government will also accord priority to carry over issues pending from the previous UPA government. In his capacity as parliamentary affairs minister, Naidu said he would be examining all pending bills in the previous Lok Sabha including economic legislations like GST and insurance reform and see how it could be brought before Parliament, some even in the budget, expected to be held in July.

Naidu said he was in the process of identifying the bills which have been pending or lapsed or which are pending in the Rajya Sabha after passage in the Lok Sabha.

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