Budget 2017: To keep all proposals and ideas under wraps ahead of the presentation of the Budget on February 1, the Narendra Modi government has issued a fresh order. A ban on mobile phones in cabinet meetings, ministers and secretaries has been imposed in all Group of Secretaries meets. The notice came out on Tuesday. As per the reports by The Indian Express, Cabinet Secretariat sent a missive to secretaries of various departments, asking them not to carry their cell phones at the meeting of ministers and secretaries of agriculture and allied sectors. With the Modi government turning its focus on agriculture, energy and transport sectors, as many as ten Groups of Secretaries were formed by the government last year in October. The Prime Minister will hold a meeting of all the groups in the next few days, before the Budget Session begins on January 31.
This is not really a new or surprising move though. In a move to counter cyber security threat, last year in October the order was given ban carrying cellphone/smartphone for Union ministers in Cabinet meetings. The ban came up with the aim at checking any possibility of leakage of information through hacking of communication devices.
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Globally, the same practice applies too. If we see there is nothing new in this practice, even in Britain and France don’t allow mobile phones in their cabinet meetings. David Cameron imposed the ban on mobile phones in cabinet meetings in May 2010, when he was the prime minister of Britain, while in France use of mobile phones during cabinet meetings was prohibited in April, 2014.
The move by the Modi government indicates that it is willing to go down various steps in the hierarchy to ensure complete secrecy is maintained. Since coming to power, the Modi government has ensured that the leakage of information about what policy it is taking is restricted to a minimum.