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Pragati 2.0 to focus on delivery within timelines

By IndianMandarins- 17 Jun 2019
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Pragati meetings may be qualitatively different in NaMo 2.0 from the ones held in the previous term. These meeting may focus more on delivery than idling time on discussions and dialogues. Officers are expected to attend these meetings with clear cut plans on delivering the PM's promises to the people.

 

For this purpose, the cabinet secretariat is said to be drafting plans to constitute groups of secretaries to implement the PM's pet projects on agriculture, water harvesting, manufacturing, development of cutting-edge technologies, and of course defense, cutting through official red-tapism and repetitive processes. The objective may be replacing groups of ministers which was a mechanism developed as a means of reflex self-defense in the previous corruption-ridden administrations. It is reportedly felt in the higher echelons of the administration that the amended Prevention of Corrupt Act has created enough room and space for officers to show their initiative and take timely decisions.

 

This became clear following the first Pragati meeting (to be held on a monthly basis)  this time which was different from the first such one held in the previous term of the NaMo administration. Which was less about specific issues and more time was spent to set the terms of engagement of the officers with the prime minister in subsequent meetings.

 

Another important difference in the format of the meetings in both editions is that while in the first term then finance minister Arun Jaitley attended the meetings, the details were not made public. The prime minister conveyed the sense that they were his solo dialogues with the secretaries.

 

But in the second term, he has renewed the meetings with several ministers and permitted press briefings. For instance, an official release stated this time that the Pragati meetings had cumulatively reviewed projects with an investment of more than Rs 11.75 trillion. The reviews widened the definition of projects to include larger schemes like the Ayushman Bharat and specific consumer grievances such as call drops. The release noted that the meetings had analyzed about 320 projects in the three-year period. They have not only set timelines to complete them but also detailed instructions to solve the problems around any projects.


Senior ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the first Pragati meeting. It remains to be seen, however, if these ministers will also be invited for the subsequent monthly meetings.

 

Each Pragati meeting, depending on the theme, may be assisted by a specific group/s of secretaries depending on the subject matter. Ministers may or may not be present depending on the situation and circumstances.

 

Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha has reportedly instructed each departmental secretary to formulate a five-year plan document for their ministry or department, with well-defined targets and milestones. They have also been instructed to formulate decisive plans for which approvals will be taken within 100 days. Both these would be vetted by the sectoral group of secretaries. Incidentally, these sectors were often cross-cutting. Former revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, for instance, headed the sectoral team of secretaries on education in the previous government till he retired.


(M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan)

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