Top bureaucrats asked to implement PM's directive on speedy decisions

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New Delhi, June 8: Top bureaucrats of the country have been given a five-day deadline to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's directive for improving work culture in the central government, including repeal of "archaic" processes and reduce the decision-making layers.

The deadline for the Secretaries to provide a plan of action expires tomorrow. The instructions were issued by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth on June 5 as a follow up to the meeting that Modi held with the top bureaucrats on Wednesday last during which he said the rules which create hurdles in speedy decision-making should be done away with.

The circular, issued by Seth, carries 11 points which lay stress on efficient and speedy decision-making in a transparent manner. "I expect you to act upon these immediately and indicate a plan of action latest by June 9," the Cabinet Secretary's circular said. It asks each department to "identify and repeal at least 10 rules or processes and even archaic acts that are redundant and would not lead to any loss of efficiency".

Every department has been asked to identify forms that are in vogue and shorten them, where possible, to one page only, the circular says, adding seeking of "unnecessary or irrelevant information should be discouraged".

All departments have been asked to reduce decision-making to a "maximum of four layers".

The circular says files and papers should be weeded out in accordance with rules of record-keeping, including digitisation, wherever necessary and the exercise should be completed in 3-4 weeks.

Each department should work out modalities of fulfilling promises made to the people and effective and timely resolution of public grievances must be ensured and monitored by the Secretaries of departments concerned, according to the directive.

The circular also instructs the Secretaries that the "goals set for the period 2009-14", the UPA-II tenure, and their present status should be analysed and information about the same should be provided to the Prime Minister by the Secretaries in their presentation.

Emphasising the need for team work and collaborative decision-making, it says that if any issues remain unresolved, the intervention of the Cabinet Secretary or the PMO should be sought for resolution.

It also underlines the need for usage of Information Technology and e-governance in the functioning of the ministries. The directive also lays emphasis on clean and hygienic environment in offices for making "positive work environment".

All government buildings and work spaces of departments should be cleared of obstructions and spruced up, says the letter. In pursuance of this goal, passages and stairs should be cleared of obstructions, which means no office material or cupboards should be found in these spaces.

Modi, while holding a meeting collectively with 77 secretaries and senior officers of all the ministries and departments here on June 4, had asked them to take decisions and promised to stand by them.

Expressing full faith in their commitment and competence to build a better future for the country, he asked them to simplify and streamline administrative rules and procedures to make them people-friendly.

He said that "there may be rules and processes which have become outdated, and instead of serving the process of governance, they are leading to avoidable confusion" and stressed upon the need to "identify and do away with such archaic rules and procedures".

Promising to be accessible to all officers, he encouraged them to approach him with their "inputs and ideas".

PTI

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