Execution is the key to building new India, be it Swacch Bharat, Namami Gange, Make in India or Digital India. Mr Modi’s execution of projects is better than the UPA, but nowhere near international levels. In his victory speech after the massive mandate in the Assembly elections of 2017, the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi pledged to build a new India. He specifically shunned the talk of dole based initiatives and stressed that by empowering the poor, he would be lifting the burden of development from the minuscule 1% middle class Indians who are it’s primary tax payers today. Good governance is the key to building a new India, and nobody knows that better than Mr Modi. He is ushering in a corruption free environment and unleashing new initiatives as well as revamping existing schemes that were already put in place by the UPA, but were functioning below par. His execution of schemes is much better than the UPA but still it is nowhere near international levels. His core team is too small, so he must look for talent from the industry and academics, to reach scalable outcomes.
Quality manpower availability is the weakness of the Modi Government and the execution problems that happened following the demonetization drive shows that much more needs to be done. Looking At Fresh Talent is Important. To achieve better execution Mr Modi needs to look beyond the RSS and the Gujarat cadres, for talent. Like in the US, talent from the academia and the industry needs to be inducted in the Government. People who understand technology and finance, need to be wooed to drive in the initiatives. Some of the institutions need to be totally revamped like the CBI and the ED whose success rate in nailing criminals is extremely poor.
The ministries under which Swachh Bharat and Ganga cleaning projects that are being executed, have been operative since last two years under the present Government. However the ministers, the secretaries and the department are simply clueless, about solutions. Projects are not done on power point presentations, but at the real ground , and progress on ground is pretty much absent. Even the exercise of identifying the data points and sewer load at each pollution point has not been done clinically, in major cities and towns on the banks of the Ganga.
Perhaps Mr. Manoj Sinha ( also being mooted as a candidate for UP Chief Minister ) being a civil engineer from IIT BHU would have been more suitable as a minister in charge, than Ms Uma Bharati, to handle complex matters like Ganga cleaning and Swachh Bharat. Ms Uma Bharati is passionate, but these need deep rooted understanding of technology and great people management solutions to ensure success. Similarly Mr. Arvind Gupta, an IT professional with an industry background and the previous IT head of the BJP or any other competent IT professional could perhaps help manage telecom, as a junior minister, a portfolio that Mr Sinha holds today. Some amount of internal rejig is needed to improve efficiencies in the current cabinet apart from large scale induction.
Level 2 leaders and Babudom needs reinforcement A key problem Mr Modi faces is dearth of capable level 2 leaders in key sectors. The core team of Mr Arun Jetly, Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Ravishankar Prasad, Mr Piyush Goyal, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Mr Manohar Parrikar and Mr Javadekar needs to be reinforced with the addition of good second string leaders to ensure good execution. This needs to be done quickly without which the growth engine will not fire. Another huge problem is the lack of Babus. There is already around 25% vacancies due to earth of IAS officers. Besides there is an huge simmering issue of competency and clean administration. The UPA left behind a pretty corrupt and policy paralysis inflicted Babudom.
Fresh blood needs to be injected, not in small doses but like blood transfusion into the system. Mr. Modi needs to take advantage of the anti immigrant policies of Donald Trump and pave the way for Ghar Wapsi in a big way for professionals and NRI’s willing to dump their US citizenship for a permanent return to India. A scheme to get qualified top quality NRI’s who are wanting to return permanently to India needs to be launched by Mr Modi besides inducting good professionals from the private sector, who are keen to serve the nation.
-By Sandip Sen