Modi clips ministers' discretionary powers

Modi clips ministers' discretionary powers

All appointments to be cleared by PM

Modi clips ministers' discretionary powers

Aimed at promoting transparency in governance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put more restrictions on discretionary powers of ministers in appointing their personal staff and ordered them to take his prior approval.

Consequent to the orders at his second Cabinet meeting on Thursday, the government brought appointments of personal staff of ministers under the Appointments Coordination Committee headed by the prime minister.

Earlier, only for the post of private secretary, the ACC's clearance was needed and rest of the staff in the ministers’ offices could be recruited by the ministers on their own.

Henceforth, all staff appointments above deputy secretary level should be approved by the ACC. The order also said those who have completed 10 years working as ministers’ personal staff should not be re-employed.

The Department of Personal and Training (DOPT) also instructed ministers not to appoint  relatives as personal staff or as officer on special duty to prevent nepotism. The Union Cabinet ministers may have 15 people as personal staff while it is pegged at 13 for ministers of state.

The order also imposed a blanket ban on informal attachment of personal staff from subordinate formations of the ministry, including public sector undertakings.

Deliver first

Apparently signalling his seriousness in ensuring proper conduct by ministers, Modi also instructed his Cabinet colleagues not to waste their time renaming previous governments’ projects.

The prime minister is learnt to have advised his colleagues to focus on work and delivery, emphasising that quality of governance is more important than spending time renaming existing schemes.

Advising the ministers to shed old style of functioning and politicising development works, he stressed that renaming old schemes and ongoing schemes would not benefit anyone other than settling political scores.

New regimes in the states and at the Centre have renamed, or in cases like Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu even scrapped schemes begun by previous governments run by rival parties.

The instructions apparently came in the wake of Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu endorsing the long standing demand of the Telugu Desam Party to rename Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport after former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N T Rama Rao.

Naidu also said his ministry would rename and re-launch Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

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