Citing “inordinate” delays in processing files and policy, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-ruled Delhi government has decided that bureaucrats can object to a cabinet minister’s decision only once.
In a recent cabinet decision, the government ordered that files sent for reconsideration, if cleared by the minister a second time, would be binding on all officials.
Sources in the government said that over the last few months, senior bureaucrats had sent files to the cabinet or the ministers concerned repeatedly citing relevant rules. To end this, the Delhi Cabinet on September 15 decided to finalise protocol for all officials.
“Secretaries if not in agreement with the ministers can only send the file for reconsideration only once, the second time the minister signs it it will be binding on all officials,” a senior official said.
“On its way down, secretary may express disagreement with minister once and send the file back to the minister for reconsideration. However, the decision taken by the minister in the second instance shall be final and binding on all concerned,” reads the cabinet note of September 15.
“…There exists too many levels in each department in the processing of a matter in the government file, leading to inordinate delays. There is no specific responsibility of any officer,” says the note.
The cabinet has ruled that any proposal shall not be generally processed by more than three levels and in exceptional case, it could be 4 levels.
“The first level should indicate all the relevant facts. No opinion should be given at first level. The next level will undertake necessary examination and make recommendations and give advice with regard to the decision that may be taken by the next level and final decision making authority,” said a senior official.
This means if a matter has to be decided by the minister, special secretary will make the first note, the secretary will give his opinion and minister will take the decision.
“Each minister along with secretary/HODs should decide the level at which decision would be taken on issues. Files should not be dealt with two or three levels and ministers would complete the job soon,” stated the cabinet note.