Twenty months after moving into 7, Race Course Road, the “outsider” is opening his doors wider. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was seen to have made the PMO the hub of crucial decision-making, is now involving senior ministers to play a larger role in review of policies and projects. Expanding the ambit of secretary-level review meetings on government initiatives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked six senior ministers to be present for the exercise to exchange ideas. Initially it was just the Prime Minister and the minister concerned who met the various groups of secretaries, a practice that Modi started last month, but recently six ministers — Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari and Manohar Parrikar — have started participating. Modi wants them to be present for the interactions if they are in the Capital, sources said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi had set up eight groups of secretaries on good governance, education and health, innovative budgeting, employment generation, farmer-centric initiatives, Swachh Bharat, Ganga and effective implementation to propose innovative ideas, how to incorporate them into the policy matrix and make presentations for implementation. The six ministers are also part of an eight-member committee of ministers headed by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the Presidential Address, which is delivered on the first day of the Budget session. At the first meeting of group of secretaries attended by the six ministers, when Gadkari made a couple of suggestions, the Prime Minister proposed that the secretaries could meet the minister separately. So, two groups of secretaries, in all 23 of them, met Gadkari for two hours each on a single day at his residence, a government functionary recalled. The Prime Minister has also asked Gadkari to help water resources minister Uma Bharti with the Ganga project, signifying the importance Modi attached to it. Gadkari has held four rounds of meetings with with Bharti and the Principal Secretary. Sources said that it has been a continuous process to invite innovative ideas as Modi has brought in ways of keeping all engaged and on their toes, while he himself sticks to a grueling five am to after midnight schedule. Modi has put in a mechanism to meet the Council of Ministers once a month to discuss status of projects of various ministries. In the Modi regime, there has been a perception that only a handful were taken into confidence, the sources said adding, that he always listened to all. What is of major concern at the end of the day is the policies and programmes of the government reflecting on the ground, they said. After the Bihar election, BJP veterans — LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar– had castigated the BJP leadership’s style of functioning. Though the leaders refrained from naming anyone, they said the party was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful” and that its “consensual character has been destroyed”.


Narendra Modi gives senior ministers larger role in policy review