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Modi kick-starts Presidential style governance

New Delhi, June 5 (): Modi’s meeting with secretaries of all departments, a first in 8 years shows that he intends to run a presidential-style of government.

Like his poll campaign, there are indications that he will run a presidential style of government. The Cabinet was crafted after Modi from Gujarat Bhavan and RSS chief Mohan in Jhandewalan office with Rajnath Singh playing the messenger came to a decision.

NDA under Modi has a total of 45 ministers and out of this, 23 are of cabinet rank. UPA 2 had 68 ministers handling 51 portfolios. Modi’s ministers will look after 52 portfolios including the new ones like ministry of skill, entrepreneurship and development looked after by Sarbananda Sonowal from Assam and Uma Bharti’s Ganga rejuvenation, water resources and river development.

Modi kept out Advani and Joshi out along with Arun Shourie and Subramanian Swamy. Bureaucrats who were assured of protection from law suits say Modi’s style of governance to club ministries together will give ministers more work and officials serving them will get more freedom in taking decisions.

Cutting across boundaries of various ministers, Modi has asked secretaries to write directly to him through email or in hard copy on any urgent issues or in giving suggestions. The usual practice is that official has to write only to the minister concerned.

Like in Gujarat, the ministers cannot pick their favourites as secretaries. Only the CM has the power and is known to contact a junior officer directly if he is efficient and bypass a senior officer. Swift decision-making is the new mantra and the Cabinet’s first decision was to appoint SIT (Special Investigation Team) headed by retired Supreme Court Judge M.B. Shah to bring back Indian black money deposited in banks abroad. A 2010 study estimated that Indians have stashed away $500 billion overseas.

Bureaucrats from various ministries have been told to bring up decisions that UPA sat on and those which need to be revoked or altered. The Prime Minister’s Office will be running the government and Misra who heads it will be all important as the PM office appointed him by bringing out an ordinance to change the rules.

Cabinet secretary post falls vacant on June 14 and those in the running are senior officers now manning power and petroleum ministries.

The task cut for Modi is to replicate his Gujarat style of governance in New Delhi. Former IAS officer said that PMO and Cabinet secretary roles should be defined and financial advisers in different ministries should be given power to decide on lesser matters and not wait for Finance ministry’s nod.

BJP ministry also faces a problem that it has very few ministers who are experienced in administration. A long stint in the opposition has produced a plethora of spokespersons and less competent hands. Most of these spokespersons are now ministers.

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