scorecardModi to ‘Fresher’ babus: On your toes, get set go!
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Modi to ‘Fresher’ babus: On your toes, get set go!

Modi to ‘Fresher’ babus: On your toes, get set go!
PoliticsPolitics3 min read
The newly minted 170 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers of 2013 batch are literally being kept on their toes as they have been asked to come up with new and innovative ideas to simplify government processes before they meet PM Narendra Modi.

These officers, who are on deputation to the Centre before they head for their first state postings as part of an idea mooted by the prime minister, have time till November 30 to come up with ideas on simplifying at least two processes of the government.

They are scheduled to face Modi at a feedback session at the end of a rigorous three-month stint at the Centre.

Before their session with Modi, each of the officers have to prepare a 'Paper on Innovation' or 'Process re-engineering to improve functioning of the government', along with identifying at least two processes for simplification and compiling the guidelines or norms pertaining to their desk.

A typical day, which begins with yoga for two hours from 6:30 am, is chock-a-block with meetings with senior officers and involves grappling with files related to the Centre's flagship programmes.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued at least 99 orders over the past one month on how they should go about their work, including a detailed 13-week work calendar to follow. But they can fall back on three senior secretaries who have been appointed as chief mentors.

The time spent with the central government will help the officers "acquire a national perspective and a deeper appreciation of harmonization of diversities in national policies", according to a concept paper on the exercise being undertaken for the first time.

The chief mentors include home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, defence secretary Mohan Kumar and NITI Aayog chief executive Sindhushree Khullar.

The 52 ministries and departments where the young IAS officers have been posted as assistant secretaries have been divided into four clusters — social, economic, infrastructure and regulatory.

Further, these clusters have been assigned to Jugal Mohapatra (secretary, rural development), AC Duggal (secretary, finance services), Amitabh Kant (secretary, DoPT) and Sanjay Kothari (secretary, DoPT) respectively, who have been tasked with meeting every 15 days to take stock of the performance of the assistant secretaries.

On August 26, cabinet secretary PK Sinha held a special meeting and assigned the job to these senior secretaries. Sinha also directed the ministries to allot desks pertaining to the Modi government's flagship programmes to the new officers or programmes which have a bearing on states in terms of implementation. This will give the officers an opportunity to look at the projects from the point of view of both Centre and the ground level, Sinha said at the meeting.

The DoPT is keeping a close watch on the number of files initiated and disposed of at the desk of each assistant secretary, who has to attend meetings within and outside the ministry with other officers as well. The trainees have been asked to meet every officer in their ministry.

As per the 13-week work calendar, the assistant secretaries have to meet officers and secretaries across the board in the first two weeks, identify a specific project in the third week on which they will do extensive and intensive work, and work on action on frontlines for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2.

Between the fourth and the eight weeks, they will have to come to grips with the intricacies of implementation of schemes and projects, and "wear the thinking caps — question and challenge existing processes and policies" in the ninth and tenth weeks.

The 11th and 12th weeks will be time to "bring it all together" with a presentation to the secretary on two processes that can be simplified or modified and bring files handed by the officer to the logical end. The assistant secretaries have already had meetings with principal secretary to the PM, Cabinet secretary, foreign secretary, home secretary, Railway Board chairman, Comptroller and Auditor General, central information commissioner, central vigilance commissioner, chief election commissioner and NITI Aayog V-C.

They have attended two recent conferences held by the PM this month and submitted weekly notes on their activities since their stint began on September 1. Besides, the Institute of Secretariat Training and Management has sent 23 case studies on noting and drafting which have been distributed among the assistant secretaries.

(Image: Indiatimes)