Streamline governance

Poor coordination is an obstacle to effective policymaking when responsibility for an issue is spread over multiple ministries


Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Reuters

On Friday, speaking at a meeting of ministers and civil servants, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said government departments have an unfortunate habit of working in silos, and lack coordination. He is correct, and there are many negative ramifications. One, as he noted, is excessive inter-departmental litigation. The government is, by far, the biggest litigant in the country. India’s judicial morass with its large number of pending cases—detrimental to good governance and ease of doing business—cannot be addressed without tackling the government’s role in gumming up the works.

Secondly, poor coordination is an obstacle to effective policymaking when responsibility for issues pertaining, for instance, to energy security or industries is spread over multiple ministries. The real solution here doesn’t lie in simply improving coordination and communication—it lies in streamlining the number of ministries. But in an era of coalitions, when ministries are sops for alliance partners, who is going to bite the bullet?

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