Governance and Policies

Shuffle the cards: Modi must promote performers and induct fresh talent into the Cabinet

Venkaiah Naidu’s resignation as minister after filing his nomination for the post of vice-president has set off speculation about an impending Cabinet reshuffle.

Jul 20, 2017
Venkaiah Naidu’s resignation as minister after filing his nomination for the post of vice-president has set off speculation about an impending Cabinet reshuffle. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must use this opportunity to promote performers and induct fresh blood to deliver results quicker on the ground. This would not only bring in new talent but also relieve ministers saddled with multiple ministries.
 
Both finance and defence deserve full-time ministers. But both have fallen to Arun Jaitley after Manohar Parrikar moved to Goa as chief minister in March. Similarly the ministry of environment, forests and climate change has been functioning under science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan, after the demise of Anil Dave in May. Some young BJP leaders have shown promise such as Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and former journalist and MP from Mysore Pratap Simha. They can be given a leg up and brought into the Union Cabinet.
 
The Centre had merged ministry of overseas Indian affairs with external affairs last year but a lot more can be done in terms of capturing synergies by ending needless bifurcations. For example, Piyush Goyal has been given independent charge of power, coal, mines, and new and renewable energy. This makes sense because an optimal energy policy requires coordination among these ministries, but the logical next step is to abolish the distinction between them and bring them under the same ministry. Similarly, skill development and human resource development can be merged. Such ministries as steel or information and broadcasting are of socialist era vintage and lack relevance in a post-reform environment; they can be scrapped altogether. With less than two years to go before the 2019 election Modi needs more talent in his council of ministers, focused on a smaller range of priority governance tasks rather than spread thin across the board.
 
Times of India, July 20, 2017

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