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Narendra Modi's minimum government, maximum governance might work at Centre too: Experts

Experts feel that Narendra Modi's model of minimum government and maximum governance, if implemented at the Centre, will definitely boost the infrastructure sector, improve processes of governance, make bureaucracy more accountable and also redefine Centre-state relations.

Manisha Singhal        Last Updated: May 16, 2014  | 07:30 IST
Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi's concept of minimum government and maximum governance is said to have changed the way the government functions in his home state of Gujarat , making it more efficient.

Modi himself describes the model as 'more of development politics' and similar to a 'one day' cricket match. He has indicated that he is keen to replicate this model at the national level.

Experts too feel that this model of governance, if implemented by Modi at the Centre , will definitely boost the infrastructure sector, improve processes of governance, make bureaucracy more accountable and also redefine Centre-state relations.

Amrit Pandurangi, Senior Director at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, India, feels the challenge of implementing the model at the Centre will be greater if Modi for Modi does not get a clear majority . It will then be difficult for him to make his partners in the government agree to his ideas of governance. "It will be good only on the assumption that he gets a clear mandate," he says.

Pandurangi also believes that Modi will try and repeat only those broad policies that have been tried successfully by him at the state level in Gujarat. "Broadly on development, he will be able to carry the Gujarat model to the centre," Pandurangi adds.

Infrastructure experts point out that if the concept of 'single window' clearance mechanism which is also seen as a form of minimum government and maximum governance is implemented at the centre it will greatly boost the infrastructure sector. This sector currently has projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore pending due to the failure of the government to clear them.

Jayesh Desai, Head of Investments at Piramal Enterprises points out that the mechanism will actually reduce bureaucracy and cut down process driven delays because infrastructure is a sector where government interference has been the maximum but the initiative for resolving issues has been a minimum.

"There has been in-fighting among ministries. What Modi's formula will achieve is that it will make decision making much smoother. Also the single window clearance will be more industry friendly," Desai says.

Modi's approach will also redefine and realign the Centre-state relationship. According to some experts it will lead to lesser control by the former over the states. The fact that Modi has been elected chief minister of his state thrice makes him more aware about the importance of allowing states to pursue their own development models rather than follow the models thrust upon them by the Centre.

"His model's real test will be if the Centre is willing to give more financial muscle to the state. if Modi goes by the belief that the state subjects should be left to the interpretation of  states but do not empower them financially, it will not succeed," Pandurangi says.

Bureaucrats who have served in the UPA government feel that Modi's model has the capacity to bring the bureaucracy back into the reckoning as the implementation arm of the government.

A senior bureaucrat with the UPA government who does not want to be identified points out that bureaucracy has not been allowed to function as it should under the UPA as most of the time bureaucrats were struggling to protect themselves or were pressured to carry out orders they did not want to implement. "The Modi system will bring in a centralised manner of functioning where the state machinery is allowed the freedom to deliver and there will be responsibility for delegated authority given to bureaucrats and this will ultimately benefit the state," he says.

Some finance experts also believe that this would also give some confidence to bureaucracy that there will not be any witch hunt for the decisions that have been taken in good faith and this will impact the decision making in a positive manner.

But there are also severe critics of the Modi model from the political fraternity. They say the Gujarat model is  essentially a bag full of goodies for the corporate houses and detrimental for the common man.

D. Raja, senior CPI leader and Raja Sabha member from Tamil Nadu told a leading channel that Modi model  means either to snoop upon citizens or to give concessions to big businesses and corporate houses. "You want to privatise everything," he said.

 

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