Modi coming buzz sends top babus on clean-up drive

NEW DELHI (TIP): Central government offices across the capital were on high alert on June 5, with secretaries and other top officials scanning corridors and parking lots. The heightened activity was not part of a security drill but was triggered by an advisory suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may visit the offices to inspect hygiene and cleanliness. Suddenly, senior officers noticed that toilets were stinking, lights at receptions were on the blink, stretches around water coolers were dirty, paint had peeled off from several parts of the buildings and most corridors were stashed with waste paper and furniture, no longer in use.

With the buzz “Modiji aane wale hain (Modi is about to come)” ringing loud and clear, the administration wing of several departments swung into action by 11am. Secretaries personally asked the cleaning staff to get rid of all unwanted stuff. After lunch, several secretaries in Krishi Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan and Transport Bhawan were out in the corridors, inspecting every corner that till a few hours ago had paan stains.

Painters were hurriedly summoned to ensure that the patchwork did not show. Even tiles were replaced on war footing to ensure that a stubborn stain didn’t spoil the look of an otherwise white corridor. One of the secretaries asked his juniors to ensure that air-conditioners installed in all rooms were in working condition. Urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna reportedly had issued a circular on Wednesday, asking officials to ensure their rooms were decked up and office complexes well maintained.

What triggered the sudden flurry of activity was Modi’s meeting with secretaries on Wednesday during which he instructed all department heads to pep up their workforce and ensure that the working environment was conducive for better delivery. In some ministries, secretaries issued circulars mentioning the priority areas and that rooms and corridors clean had to be kept clean.

In the urban development ministry, for instance, officials have been instructed to take up representations of MPs on priority basis and also ensure that the parliamentary committees’ recommendations are complied with. Secretaries have also issued instructions to set up more IT-based public interface to resolve the problems of citizens expeditiously.

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