Meeting all Government of India secretaries for the second time in four months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reiterated his message of streamlining governance and making it more open. He asked his officers to work without fear of political interference and come up with innovative ideas for the Union Budget which is due in about four months.
He also asked the secretaries to go back for a few days to the place of their first posting to get insights into policy making.
“We are one team. Let us bring openness in governance, come closer and work together. Good things are starting to happen,” Modi said. The mood, he said, had turned positive and a certain momentum has been generated in the past five months that should not be allowed to be squandered away.
He asked all departments to bring forward Budget-related processes by three months, so that when a new financial year begins on April 1, work could directly begin as per the provisions of the new Budget. Usually, it takes a couple of months to kick in. He also called for shifting government emphasis from output to outcome.
More than 80 secretary-level officers were present at the meeting along with Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu. The National Security Advisor, Cabinet Secretary and senior PMO officials also attended the meeting.
The Swacch Bharat Mission, as expected, was an important part of the agenda and Modi cited feedback on social media to say that attitudes were changing and the mission is becoming more people-driven. It is a question of changing attitudes more than anything else, he said. He asked the secretaries to study inputs on the MyGov platform.
“The highlight of the meeting was innovation and engaging with people and getting ideas and feedback from them. It could be through social media or the MyGov platform but he made it very clear that he wanted a government that is receptive to ideas from people. He wanted the really bright minds to be identified and teams built,” said an officer who attended the meeting.