Suggestions for new govt

New Delhi (TIP): Coalition and patronage politics has led to a bloated administration that often works at crosspurposes. It’s time to shut redundant ministries and bring together related functions.

  • Place external affairs and commerce and industry under charge of one minister. This would be in keeping with Modi’s oft-stated intent to make commerce integral to foreign policy. Another possibility is to merge ministries of commerce & industry, textiles, heavy industry and micro, small and medium enterprises and form a mega ministry for trade & industry. This would bring inter-linked sectors under one roof.
  • Hive off internal security and intelligence functions from the sprawling home ministry.
  • Create an umbrella transport ministry comprising railways, roads, ports and shipping and civil aviation. Else, keep railways separate and merge the other three. These options are key to improving infrastructure and linked to Modi’s focus on tourism, a major job creating sector. A third option is to get back to the earlier surface transport, comprising roads and ports, and leave railways and civil aviation separate.
  • PMO may see induction of mission specialists dealing with infrastructure and job-related sectors.
  • A ministry of energy may be born, including oil & gas, power, coal and renewable energy. This will mean close linkages of natural resources and user industries. Alternatively, there could be a separate ministry for power, including coal, and a separate one for oil & gas, which may include chemicals and petrochemicals. The ministries of coal, mines and steel may also be merged into one (coal and mines used to be part of the same ministry at one point of time).
  • Combine culture and tourism; alternatively merge culture with HRD.
  • An omnibus ministry straddling agriculture, food, food processing, consumer affairs and civil supplies.
  • Consider a merger of rural development and panchayati raj ministries.
  • A Convergence or ICE ministry comprising telecommunications, information technology and information & broadcasting may be considered.
  • Planning Commission may be in for a radical overhaul as it is seen to have lost its relevance in a modern economy.
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