Well now your close connections with any of the ministers would rarely serve any purpose. How would you review the turndown of the Home Minister’s choice of private secretary by the Prime Minister Office? Prior to this Mr. Modi had clarified that none of the ministers shall employ any of their relatives in the office of profits. The new Prime Minister has surely marked the beginning of a new way of governance that just not focuses on delivering results, but also maintains a close eye on the working of distinct government departments. When the second most powerful personality of the BJP has to strictly abide to rules, imagine the severity.
Of course, the state of affairs calls in for rigorous changes in the way of governing the nation. The past government could not match steps with the changing environment and the ministers along with their support staff were rarely capable to understand the nerve of the economy. This could be the probable reason why the Department of Personnel and Training had to come up with a circular indicating that any appointments with respect to ministers’ personal staff shall have the approval of the Appointment Committee of Cabinet. This is what that has put on hold the appointment of Mr. Alok Singh in the office of private secretary to the Home Minister.
While many may claim this as the way to stay away from the bureaucrats that served the previous ministers; the move of the PMO can be looked upon as a measure to curb prevailing inefficiencies and non-productivity. What was delivered by the ministries and the bureaucrats in the UPA and UPA-2 regime is known to all. Private Secretaries play a vital role in the functioning of the ministry and hence must carry the competence to stand tough. Along with, fresh talent has to be motivated and excessive reliance on the same old faces shall be parted with sooner than later. The motive of DoPT thus seems unambiguous.
PMO is into much interference in the decisions of the ministries, which can be seen as Modi’s way of governance, wherein extreme decentralization is often restricted. This can be compared with what the U.P. government follows, wherein every minister and family member is a powerhouse. Though the prior experience of Mr. Modi may be limited to administering a state, his intentions and policies can rarely be challenged. With just one move, the PMO has not only sent a message to the ministers, but also to the bureaucrats who leave no stone unturned in ensuring their appointments in best workplaces and in best provinces.
Again, the future impacts of this measure have to be studied deeply. Another way out can be the time-barred deputation of private secretaries, along with the selection based on merits and with consent of an autonomous body. Prime Minister’s initiative of cleaning the working mechanism of government departments is a brave step towards transparency and ensuring effectiveness. It is quite clear that the old and laidback approach would rarely find any place in the current environment and the ministries along with their support staff will have to prove their existence and their contribution towards nation-building.