NEW DELHI: “No file is moving in Modi’s government” is the favourite phrase these days at social gatherings in the national capital. However, a secret government note reviewed by The Sunday Standard reveals that files are moving quickly within ministries and wherever a delay is noticed, bureaucrats and ministers are being pulled up.
“Take decision on each file within 15 days” is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told ministries and hundreds of government departments responsible for implementing the string of reforms started by his government to improve the country’s fiscal health. “Cut short the procedure for files and make follow up at the grassroot level to ensure implementation,” the PM’s directive to ministries said.
The Prime Minister Office (PMO), which monitors the progress of proposals lying with ministries, recently pulled up the Ministry of Railways for less than satisfactory performance in several projects, including station development and high speed services.
“Many projects that are showing delays are hanging fire since the UPA regime, which was suffering from policy paralysis. All the new schemes launched after NDA came to power are showing desired performances,” a senior government official said.
The note suggests that new government has implemented a well-toned structure to keep an eye on budgetary allocation and expenditure to ensure that the timeline in original proposal is followed. The note said that Joint Secretaries are reporting to ministries about actual expenditure incurred in plan and non-plan heads against the budgetary provision from current financial year and a review of the actual expenditure has been made mandatory by the government.
“Joint Secretaries have been told to make one officer free so that he can constantly follow up in states. The ministries are delegating powers to subordinate officers to remove the lengthy procedures and expedite the implementation,” the note added.
A top government functionary said on the condition of anonymity that senior officers are being asked to make one visit every three months to their junior’s office and examine bottlenecks, if any, and resolve them immediately.
“I went to a subordinate’s office and asked about the progress of schemes.
I inquired whether there was any procedural delay and what I could do to expedite it. This is having a major impact on government functioning,” he said.
The government note also reveals that a senior officer at the Centre has been told to visit different states at least six times a year to ensure projects with state’s participation are not getting stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. “Generally, we make queries in some state projects. Instead, we should prepare the design at previous stages and then send it to states so that there will be minimum query in the state’s project,” the note added.