NAMO 2.0

modi-2-0-fury-of-disruption

Modi 2.0: Fury of disruption

Modi 2.0 continues with disrupting the power structure and its patronage system built over the last 50 years. This has made the power and pelf seeking rentier class go helter-skelter and turned them into bitter critics of the NDA dispensation. 

While Modi 1.0 was limited in its disruptive game to demonetization/remonetization that overnight turned the assets of the political, business, and intellectual rentier class into naught, thus crippling their ability to bring about a regime change in 2019, Modi 2.0 has been more vigorous in breaking down the remnants of the previous power structures.

After the rollout of the GST in Modi 1.0, Modi's second term ensured that the new regime of One Nation One Tax severely curtailed the discretionary powers of the IRS Customs and Central Excise Department.

The worst sufferers are IRS Income Tax cadre. The recently introduced Faceless IT Assessment is believed to have broadly marginalized them in their field formations. Reportedly, the initiative made them largely irrelevant in terms of their power and privileges while implementing and assessing IT rules.

Further, the Government's greater application of Social Media tools like Twitter and Fb for the announcement of government news and views has clipped the powers of mainstream media by limiting their ability to scoop news.

Further, the centralization of news and views broadcast has made ministers and senior officials faceless and unknown, reminding one of Hindi song "Gumnaam hai koi." There was a time Union ministers, in public life, were recognized by face. They used to appear in the advertisements of their respective ministries; and every day ministers would become part of news with public-policy statements. Now it's difficult to recognize ministers by face, except few ones. They rarely speak in public.

Like Ministers who have to look up for direction, civil services have also realized that the days of their taking liberty with the political bosses are over and they must fall in line with the direction from the PMO.

Even IAS officers, who were once considered the most powerful bloc of the government and dominated all other services, have to live with their declining clout. Not only are fewer number of IAS officers are getting empanelled as Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary, more JS and AS level empanelments are being made from other services (AIS & Group A & B Central Services).  

The merger of eight major cadres of the Indian Railways into one single service -- the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) – that is likely to be completed by November this year is another vertical which feels the heat of disruption. It is believed that the merger would end the fiefdom of particular services which keeps changing with the dominance of cadres in Railway Board.

Even MPs (Member of Parliament) are losing their perks. Immediately after the COVID Pandemic and socio-economic crises looming ahead, the Cabinet suspended MP LAD funds for five years. To save their face in public, even opposition and regional political parties' MPs could not protest and silently accepted the decision, even though it meant a huge loss for them.

What has made the subject more relevant today is the fact that the latest disruptive move of faceless, seamless, painless IT Reform has given IRS IT cadre immense pain to cope up and adapt.   

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

24 Aug 2020
will-a-unified-transport-ministry-be-a-reality-in-namo-2.0-

Will a unified transport ministry be a reality in NaMo 2.0?

The Modi govt has once again started gauging prospects of merging rail, roads, aviation and shipping into one unified transport ministry as practiced in countries like China, Japan and a few others. Reportedly, a panel of secretaries was constituted by the PM to recommend transformative ideas about transport and infrastructure sectors to provide integrated multi-modal mobility solutions. Cities like London and New York have a single body to govern public transport.

 

Cabinet Secretary has already had a meeting with the panel of secretaries which may make a presentation of the proposal to the PM soon. The NaMo administration had conceived the idea of an omnibus transport ministry in its first term only which appears to continue in NaMo 2.0 as well.

18 Sep 2019
modi-2-0-fury-of-disruption

Modi 2.0: Fury of disruption

By Rakesh Ranjan 24 Aug 2020

Modi 2.0 continues with disrupting the power structure and its patronage system built over the last 50 years. This has made the power and pelf seeking rentier class go helter-skelter and turned them into bitter critics of the NDA dispensation. 

While Modi 1.0 was limited in its disruptive game to demonetization/remonetization that overnight turned the assets of the political, business, and intellectual rentier class into naught, thus crippling their ability to bring about a regime change in 2019, Modi 2.0 has been more vigorous in breaking down the remnants of the previous power structures.

After the rollout of the GST in Modi 1.0, Modi's second term ensured that the new regime of One Nation One Tax severely curtailed the discretionary powers of the IRS Customs and Central Excise Department.

The worst sufferers are IRS Income Tax cadre. The recently introduced Faceless IT Assessment is believed to have broadly marginalized them in their field formations. Reportedly, the initiative made them largely irrelevant in terms of their power and privileges while implementing and assessing IT rules.

Further, the Government's greater application of Social Media tools like Twitter and Fb for the announcement of government news and views has clipped the powers of mainstream media by limiting their ability to scoop news.

Further, the centralization of news and views broadcast has made ministers and senior officials faceless and unknown, reminding one of Hindi song "Gumnaam hai koi." There was a time Union ministers, in public life, were recognized by face. They used to appear in the advertisements of their respective ministries; and every day ministers would become part of news with public-policy statements. Now it's difficult to recognize ministers by face, except few ones. They rarely speak in public.

Like Ministers who have to look up for direction, civil services have also realized that the days of their taking liberty with the political bosses are over and they must fall in line with the direction from the PMO.

Even IAS officers, who were once considered the most powerful bloc of the government and dominated all other services, have to live with their declining clout. Not only are fewer number of IAS officers are getting empanelled as Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary, more JS and AS level empanelments are being made from other services (AIS & Group A & B Central Services).  

The merger of eight major cadres of the Indian Railways into one single service -- the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) – that is likely to be completed by November this year is another vertical which feels the heat of disruption. It is believed that the merger would end the fiefdom of particular services which keeps changing with the dominance of cadres in Railway Board.

Even MPs (Member of Parliament) are losing their perks. Immediately after the COVID Pandemic and socio-economic crises looming ahead, the Cabinet suspended MP LAD funds for five years. To save their face in public, even opposition and regional political parties' MPs could not protest and silently accepted the decision, even though it meant a huge loss for them.

What has made the subject more relevant today is the fact that the latest disruptive move of faceless, seamless, painless IT Reform has given IRS IT cadre immense pain to cope up and adapt.   

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

will-a-unified-transport-ministry-be-a-reality-in-namo-2.0-

Will a unified transport ministry be a reality in NaMo 2.0?

By IndianMandarins 18 Sep 2019

The Modi govt has once again started gauging prospects of merging rail, roads, aviation and shipping into one unified transport ministry as practiced in countries like China, Japan and a few others. Reportedly, a panel of secretaries was constituted by the PM to recommend transformative ideas about transport and infrastructure sectors to provide integrated multi-modal mobility solutions. Cities like London and New York have a single body to govern public transport.

 

Cabinet Secretary has already had a meeting with the panel of secretaries which may make a presentation of the proposal to the PM soon. The NaMo administration had conceived the idea of an omnibus transport ministry in its first term only which appears to continue in NaMo 2.0 as well.

modi,-the-great-leveler:-some-old-tactics-don’t-work-in-namo-regime

Modi, the great leveler: Some old tactics don’t work in NaMo regime

By IndianMandarins 16 Sep 2019

Just keep matching dots ever since NaMo administration took over the command over the system and you would find a pattern. Modi has been a great leveler.

 

For Modi dispensation, everyone is made to realise that they are equal be it a commoner or a cabinet minister. No one can force any decision whatsoever their past had been as important decisions will have to be approved by the PMO and there is no guarantee that senior minister’s wish is always honored.

 

In the cases of appointment of bureaucrats, a senior union minister was denied officers of his choice during NaMo 1.0 but a minister close to Nagpur establishment was also very politely communicated recently that he would have to work with the same officers he was wanting to be removed despite the minister going to the extent of threatening.

pragati-2.0-to-focus-on-delivery-within-timelines

Pragati 2.0 to focus on delivery within timelines

By IndianMandarins 17 Jun 2019

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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