In Keeping with the Modi brand of governance, Maharashtra’s new Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, has rolled out his first set of directives for the government machinery — to cut red tape, curb corruption and ensure speedy disposal of decisions.
TIGHTENING STRINGS: CM Devendra Fadnavis
In his first set of directives to department heads and the chief secretary of Maharashtra, the CM has categorically urged financial prudence from the officials, asking them to hold back works that have no clear provision in the supplementary budget. Every decision with a major financial implication will have to be brought to the notice of a competent authority, or it will be held back. The directives were issued earlier this week, highlighting issues of red tape, corruption and delays in governance. “All the decisions with financial implications should be subject to clear provisions of funds in the supplementary budget, and if there is no likelihood of such a provision, then such decisions should be held back,” reads the note.
Fixing a broke state
Maharashtra is currently facing an acute financial crisis, with a debt of nearly Rs 3 lakh crore. The outgoing government’s estimate of fiscal deficit during the last budget was Rs 4,104 crore. The existing revenue deficit is pegged at nearly Rs 26,516 crore. The government is also paying interest of Rs 23,000 crore every year on its loan of Rs 3,00,440 crore.
The latest blueprint for the government machinery also urges a cut-down on state’s subsidy bill, especially the power bill and expenditure on food and civil supplies. “The food supplies bill could be linked to UID to cut down on leakages,” the note reads.
The department secretaries have been asked to carry out a business process reengineering (BPR) to cut down on decision-making levels, delegate powers, simplify procedures and “weed out unnecessary certification required by citizens, and in government process”.
The latest guidelines also ask officials to act immediately on corruption cases, especially where the courts have convicted state employees. Such cases should be disposed within the time limit of 90 days, reads the document.
CM Devendra Fadnavis also took three key decisions on Friday; he took away the power to transfer deputy chief engineer of irrigation department, and food and drug inspectors away from the ministers. The secretaries and heads of these departments will be carrying out transfers. Three other Acts — Shops And Establishment, Factories and Labour, Contractors and Registration — were amended to make application and renewal processes faster. Licences, required as part of these Acts, can be renewed and submitted online, and the process has been made automatic. This means renewal, if not done in a period of three days, will be deemed to have been passed and will be valid for the next 10 years.