New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has drawn a red line on the ‘slow pace and outdated vision’ affected India’s growth trajectory for decades. This comes in the backdrop of the Indian economy growing at its slowest pace in six years even as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has set up an ambitious goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25.
“Such attitudes will NOT be tolerated," Modi had tweeted on Wednesday, after reviewing nine projects across various sectors, among others, sending a strong message that his government will not accept any complacency as far as reforms are concerned.
The NDA government plans to invest around $1.5 trillion over the next five years in the Indian infrastructure space. Since the NDA government assumed office in its previous term in May 2014, there have been reshuffles of top levels of the bureaucracy, including secretary-level appointments. Also, IAS and IPS officers have been prematurely retired on the basis of their performance appraisals, vigilance status and service records.
Modi also directed bureaucrats that the long delayed projects should be expedited by the respective state governments and regular reports on the progress of such projects must be sent to his office.
The Prime Minister reviewed nine projects worth ₹61,000 crore in 16 states and Jammu and Kashmir during PRAGATI meeting on Wednesday. PRAGATI stands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, wherein the Prime Minister holds monthly meetings with secretaries of the Union government and chief secretaries of all state governments to review the progress of projects under implementation. The meetings are held through video conference and help Modi keep track of the progress, or lack of it, in hundreds of projects worth trillions of rupees.
According to retired IAS officer NC Saxena, the Prime Minister's thinking is in the right direction. Several programmes and projects pertaining to land acquisition and housing schemes have not been designed properly and there are gaps at several levels.
"The Prime Minister and his office has sent a strong message indeed. One also needs to look at the possible solution to address the problem," Saxena said.
Modi’s tweet comes in the backdrop of his government consistently resetting rules of engagement, specifically with reference to the IAS which Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel famously called the “steel frame" of India’s government apparatus. The NDA government has also evolved its engagement matrix for the bureaucracy including the 360-degree review which goes beyond the officer’s annual confidential reports (ACR) to culling of non-performers.
“While reviewing key infra projects, I emphasised on two things: speedy completion of pending development works and upgrading infrastructure where needed," Modi said.
He called for a faster and safer connectivity between Delhi and Meerut and completion of the expressway connecting the national capital and Meerut in the next six months.
Modi also discussed creation of an intra-state transmission system in eight renewable energy rich states -- Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and discussed difficulties being faced by solar and wind power companies in starting new projects, including challenges pertaining to land acquisition.
“Prime Minister directed that based on e-models of demand aggregation, Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare should work together on a new start-up model of logistics support, particularly with regard to transfer of agricultural products from one state to another. He said that all the states must come together and use a common, integrated platform for smooth operation," according to an official statement.