Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
As Lok Sabha elections approach, the Cabinet Secretariat, under the supervision of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), is quietly assessing the performance of government departments and ministries in the last five years and has sought data for this fiscal as well. Data accessed by Mail Today shows that the splendid performance of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2009- 10 plunged to its nadir by 2011- 12.
Highly placed sources in the government said that the large number of group of ministers (GOMs), which almost function like a 'parallel government', could be the major reason for the UPA's poor performance.
A senior bureaucrat in the PMO said, "GOMs became super government and lorded it over ministerial work causing governance paralysis at the basic level." At one point of time, the UPA had more than 60 GOMs.
Sources added that one of the reasons for the dip in the performance graph is the questionnaire sent by the PMO to the departments is tough and gives little scope to ministries to manipulate data.
"We expect the results of 2012- 13 to be better than 2011- 12 as a tougher system of evaluation was put in to place last year," said a senior official in the PMO. As a result of voluntary disclosure of data by the ministries, the number of right- to- information applications have come down. " This has happened because of the administrative reforms and the collation of data is first of its kind. It includes data from all governmental departments," another source said.
The data also shows that in 2009- 10, 39 departments got 'excellent' rating in the assessment, which fell to eight by 2011- 12. Two departments got ' fair' rating in 2009- 10 increasing to 13 in 2010- 11 and 18 in 2011- 12. Number of departments given ' poor' rating increased as well.
Several Union ministers in the recent past said that 'over activism' by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Central Vigilance Commission is the reason for the decreasing in performance of government departments. But the data paints a complete different picture.
Often, ministers had also blamed judicial activism and ' motivated' right- to- information applications for paralysis in the government because they ' pressured' civil servants.
As general elections are round the corner, the government is keen that the record looks good or, at least, better than what it was in 2012 so that it can showcase its performance to the electorate.
Courtesy: Mail Today