Modi has also asked ministers to ensure that all issues left pending by the previous UPA government are resolved on a priority basis and a detailed action plan be put in place for the NDA’s first 100 days in office. The PM told ministers to treat governance as the most important subject, with a sharp focus on delivery and implementation. “You must keep these points on your table where you can see them all the time. People have put their trust in us and we cannot let them down,” Modi is learnt to have told his Cabinet in a meeting that lasted around 90 minutes.
The message began to percolate through the system soon after. Telecom and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Sanchar Bhawan officials to “shun fear in decision-making” and assured them the government will “fully back honest decision-making.”
Corruption investigations under the previous UPA regime had led to a state in which officials became wary of taking decisions, leading to administrative paralysis. Several retired bureaucrats became the subject of inquiries. “The PM’s stress on governance is the need of the hour which has been lacking,” said urban development and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu after the Cabinet meeting, where the dates for the first session of the new Lok Sabha were approved.
Promising to meet all ministers and secretaries separately, Modi also made a point of asking cabinet ministers to share their workload with junior ministers. “The PM told us to take ministers of state along and give them proper work, adding that we should build new teams for the future,” Naidu said. Former home secretary GK Pillai welcomed the move by Modi to meet secretaries separately and his asking ministers to build confidence in them. “The PM has been keeping away from secretaries for a long time, so it’s good if he re-establishes that link and assures them of protection on bonafide decisions taken to deliver outcomes. This message needs to be conveyed to the last level of bureaucracy as well,” Pillai said. “At the same time, there is a need to tell the Central Bureau of Investigation to draw up some guidelines on probing bureaucrats who have turned over-cautious as any decision that leads to financial benefits to someone else can be construed as a violation of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” he added