PM Modi on Monday asked the top bureaucracy to take the lead in implementing the new govt’s agenda to ‘change the status quo ‘
Do not worry about “genuine mistakes” as they are bound to happen, PM tells bureaucrats
During the interaction, the over-arching theme was for each ministry was to focus on “ease of living”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked the top bureaucracy to take the lead in implementing the new government’s agenda to change the status quo and not to worry about “genuine mistakes”, promising to stand by them.
In an interaction where his administration tasked each ministry with preparing a five-year plan along with a “significant impactful decision” that needs to be approved within 100 days, Modi sought to empower the bureaucracy by saying that each of the secretaries should think of himself/herself as the PM while implementing strategies to make life simpler for the common citizen.
The 150 minute-long interaction patterned after the session he had with top bureaucracy after taking over as PM in 2014, was meant to harness the bureaucracy to Modi’s chief priority area: Improvement in Ease of Living.
Though the PM began focusing on improved living conditions just soon after crossing the midpoint of his tenure, the renewed mandate, a stronger one at that, has expanded the window for him to disrupt the status quo.
While civil servants have shied away from taking several decisions, fearing action by investigative agencies, Modi told the gathering that genuine mistakes were bound to happen and he would own up to them.
In a meeting that was reminiscent of his interaction with secretaries after first taking office in 2014, the over-arching theme was for each ministry was to focus on “ease of living”.
The PM set the tone for his second term, saying the mandate for pro-incumbency was because of the way the schemes were conceived and implemented by officers and the common man’s decision was based on trust “based on his day-to-day experiences”.
Describing the PM’s interaction as “motivational”, a secretary said Modi asked the officials, who were largely seated according to seniority, to focus on good governance and deploy tools that make everyday living simpler so that citizens don’t have to visit government offices, where they often face harassment.
Modi asked ministries to speed up decisions and said it was possible to take one important decision a day in the first 100-200 days and exhorted them to come out of silos.
At the same time, in what was seen as a message to top officials against turf wars, he suggested that work should be transferred to the new ministries of Jal Shakti and animal husbandry and fisheries for better convergence.
He cited the instance of skill development, where some government agencies are yet to transfer the task to the ministry over four years after it was set up, said an official.
The PM flagged at least two initiatives pursued during his first term — Make in India, where he called for tangible progress, and Ease of Doing Business, which, Modi said, should reflect in greater facilitation for small businesses.
Sources said there were multiple suggestions from secretaries, ranging from focusing on the poorest 10 crore to improving the plight of people in the 115 aspirational districts, which will help improve the national average.