Narendra Modi's First 100 Days - June 20

PMO turns approver for key bureaucratic appointments 

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has put the appointment of 22 officers – Private Secretaries and Officers on Special Duty (OSD) – key officials in a Minister’s office on hold. The PMO is said to be wary of appointing officers who are deemed to be too close to the previous government in these critical posts. 

This decision is yet another indication of how powerful the PMO will be in this government. It also demonstrates the PMO’s emphasis on due process, and desire to avoid appointing officials with a personal bias. 

4 Cabinet Committees scrapped, 6 reconstituted

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has scrapped four cabinet committees – on Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI), Prices, Management of Natural Calamities and World Trade Organization Matters – stating that their key tasks have been completed or absorbed within other committees.

This follows his earlier decision to disband all Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoMs) and Groups of Ministers (GoMs). Both moves are aimed at minimizing layers of decision-making within the government, and are expected to increase efficiency and reduce red tape. 

The Government has also reconstituted six committees – on Appointments, Accommodation, Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs and Security.

Sudden change in the Finance Ministry

In an unexpected move, the previous revenue secretary, Rajiv Takru, was replaced by Shaktikanta Das. Mr. Das has a reputation for being straightforward and highly competent with experience instituting special economic zones (SEZ) and industrial policies. 

Incidents such as this reinforce the perception that the new government’s decision making process is still something of a mystery.

NDA is nudging UPA-appointed Governors to step down

The new Government is nudging seven governors appointed by the previous regime to step down, creating a controversy. At least two have already resigned, but the majority are unlikely to step down without protest. While legally the new government can proceed with this move, it is not considered good practice to dismiss governors, which are technically appointed by the President of India. 

This, in our view, is one of the new government’s first steps in the administrative sphere that motivated by political considerations rather than for the sake of improving efficiency and governance.