As part of his larger political vision, PM Modi calls all Secys for meeting today

Modi’s direct interaction with the bureaucracy is also likely to help him keep a tab on the functioning of his ministers.

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi | Updated: June 3, 2014 8:40 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with cabinet ministers of his government in New Delhi. ( Source: PTI ) Prime Minister Narendra Modi with cabinet ministers of his government in New Delhi. ( Source: PTI )

In a move that seems to be aimed at roping in the bureaucracy for the implementation of his larger political vision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened a meeting with all the Secretaries to the Government of India on Tuesday evening, in which he is expected to outline his agenda of governance and his expectations from them.

This is the first time that a Prime Minister is holding such a meeting with Secretaries in the absence of their ministers. While former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had convened a meeting of all State Chief Secretaries to discuss the drought issue, he did not hold such a meeting with GOI Secretaries. “The meeting is meant to ensure synergy between political guidance and administrative experience,” said an official source.

Sources said the meeting with Secretaries, which follows the PM’s meeting with his Council of Ministers on Monday, is modelled on a practice followed by some Chief Ministers who “directly interact” with the bureaucracy.

“Earlier, you would do a lot of work to prepare a Cabinet note, and then the matter would be referred to an EGoM or GoM, which would seldom involve bureaucrats in taking a decision. A direct dialogue with the bureaucracy not only makes them a direct stakeholder in the decision-making process but also makes them more accountable. This system is more effective,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Modi’s direct interaction with the bureaucracy, which is set to become more frequent, is also likely to help him keep a tab on the functioning of his ministers.

Modi has also scheduled separate meetings with Secretaries of different ministries and departments, bunched together in 16 groups, from Wednesday onwards. In a circular issued by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Secretaries have been instructed to give presentations to the PM in not more than 10 slides, which should not take more than 10 minutes. Each of these presentations will be followed by discussions.

While the circular does not mention whether the respective ministers will be present, sources said they could be called. Even before Modi took oath as Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary held similar meetings with Secretaries, apparently at his behest.

While the PM had earlier restructured the ministries, clubbing some together, the departments that have been called together for presentations do not follow the same pattern. For instance, one group has Secretaries of Textiles, Steel, Chemicals and Food Processing; another has Commerce, Information Technology, Tourism, Housing and Culture Secretaries, and Railways, Telecommunications, Road Transport and Highways, and Civil Aviation Secretaries have been called together.

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  1. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    A friend tells me about the difficulty for a non Kashmiri to buy land in Kashmir which was imputed to Article 370. But this is not particular to Kashmir. We have many of these special legislations with regard to land acquisition in the different states.
    Reply
  2. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    All these parties did nothing so far educating the people on the socio, economic and political fronts. Result is obvious and today we see UP is the most backward state in all forms.
    Reply
  3. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    It is more important for those in Kashmir and the North East to reconquer their rightful place in the mainstream of political, social, economical and cultural life of the nation. It is also important that we who are in the mainstream (not fully though for some of us- a Muslim will still find it difficult to buy a flat in Mumbai and land in many areas) welcome people from these states into our spheres of activity.
    Reply
  4. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    Kashmir’s land acquisition law in not unique. A few years back, I tried to buy land a few kilometers away from my family house in Tamil Nadu. I was on the point of signing the papers, when my brother rang me up and asked me to call it off. .. The village officials had informed him that by virtue of a law prevailing from British days that piece of land was reserved for a certain tribe and that even if I bought it, it could be reclaimed by any member of that community.
    Reply
  5. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:48 am
    Post congress Uttar Pradesh was ruled either by SP, or BSP or by a mix of both of them collectively. For a small period BJP also was one of the ruling party, and it was the same period when the incident of Babari Maszid demolition took place.
    Reply
  6. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    So these land acquisition laws are not only for Kashmir or in the scenic North East, they exist all over India. They can be justified to a large extent as the intention is to protect indigenous and often backward potions from predatory town dwellers or rich businessmen.
    Reply
  7. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:48 am
    The politico social and economic situation in the state of UP has became worst since it's rulers changed in 1989. Though I am not a congress fan but the reality is that after congress lost its control in 1989 this biggest state of India lost its image.
    Reply
  8. M
    Mahesh Sarin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:49 am
    This is a complex problem. Land always is. If we say, that we are Indians everywhere and yet we cannot buy land in Kashmir and in the North east, it is simply because we are not a homogenous lot.. at least not yet.
    Reply
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