Govt appoints panel to help achieve targets

Govt appoints panel to help achieve targets

New Delhi: The government has selected a panel of 20 professionals who could be asked by various ministries to help achieve their annual targets.

This is part of a plan that the government unveiled last year to track the performance of government departments against specific targets set by the ministries and vetted by the cabinet secretariat.

The professionals are typically corporate strategists and include Visty Banaji, former executive director at Godrej Industries Ltd, Vikram Bhalla of the Boston Consulting Group Inc. and Amrit Pandurangi of PricewaterhouseCoopers Llp.

Arun Maira, member of the Planning Commission, said the panel was constituted last week after requests from certain ministries where officials said they would like help in attaining their targets.

The choice of utilizing the services of the panellists, who would be paid a retainership of Rs10,000 a day, is left to the ministries.

“Now there is a carrot, and we know what we need to do to get the carrot," Maira said. “We are working with all ministries to shape strategies to help them."

A pilot project, which ran for three months this year, has been successful and the tracking programme is now an annual affair, Maira said.

Providing performance incentives has been a key thrust area for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance administration, which is looking to overhaul outdated ways of appraising performance.

The Sixth Pay Commission, which recommends pay scales for Union government employees, approved a performance-based incentive scheme in 2008.

Ministries came up with targets, called results framework documents, last year. These documents were posted online early this year.

“If I were to allocate money from the Planning Commission, I would be swayed by that analysis," Maira said.

Some bureaucrats, however, expressed reservations about consulting the experts.

“It’s not as if we don’t know why a particular programme lags or another is unsuccessful," an official of the science ministry said on condition of anonymity. “Many government projects that lag are due to insufficient cooperation from states. You don’t need a consultant for that."

Pandurangi, who heads the transport and infrastructure practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, confirmed that he had been appointed to the panel. The first meeting of the people who have been chosen is on 18 June, he said.