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NaMo's policy of 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance' - Can a handful of ministers deliver it?
Narendra Modi during his election campaign often reiterated for ‘Minimum Government and Maximum governance’. After being elected, he formed his ministry restricting number of ministers to 45 only against 70 plus ministry of UPA-II. (Due to demise of Union Minister for Rural development and Panchayati Raj, late Gopinath Munde, the number of Modi ministers now reduced to 44).

Many see it as Modi’s promise as minimum government and maximum governance. Is reduction of number of ministers is called minimum government? If yes, how maximum governance can be delivered? Aren’t the ministers are overburden with too much departments?  Whatever may be the capability of one minister, isn’t beyond one individual’s capacity to handle multiple and entirely different ministry? For example let’s consider Arun Jaitely’s portfolios of finance and defence. Both are entirely different, huge in nature and frankly speaking both the departments are in complete mess due to UPA-II’s worst performance. 

Similarly Rabi Shankar Prasad’s portfolios like Law and Justice and Telecom, both are entirely different from each other. General V.K. Singh is MOS with independent charge of North-East as well as MOS of external affairs. If one scrutinizes all the ministries, one would definitely found that ministers have been over loaded and bound to lose focus one or more departments! As an efficient and proven administrator doesn’t Modi know it? Or has he any different ideas? Before going to that question let’s understand what government and governance means!

Government can be simply defined as a mechanism to deliver governance. Governance can be simply defined as a process to deliver an end result. Now maximum governance means deliverance of end results at faster speed, with clear transparency and effectively result oriented. One can also say that maximum governance means processing of policies transparently and implementing at ground with diligently so as to get the intended outcome in a time bound matter. Interestingly for maximum governance, the only requirement is minimum government!

But minimum government is not reduction of number of ministers. As I said earlier, government is a mechanism that deals with process of governance. Thus a transparent, effective, decisive and efficient government can be called as minimum government. In UPA-II, policy framing takes enormous time resulting to policy paralysis. Whatever policies at least formulated had never implemented properly. Accountability was lacking! No decision ever taken decisively and rather due to indecision the governance lost the direction!

Let’s forget the number of Narendra Modi’s minister now. What he did for maximum governance till now? He empowered bureaucrats along with accountability. He set deadlines. Most importantly he abolished GOM and EGOMs. These terms are production of coalition era, which ordinarily either delayed the decisions or never took any decision. One would be surprised that GOM for river linking never had a single meeting since its creation!

Many are critical on abolishing GOM and EGOMs citing that PMO becomes super PMO. But what’s wrong in it? Will super PMO make Narendra Modi dictatorial as complained by UPA? I think no! Constitution doesn’t even recognize these GOM or EGOM! For constitution the only GOM/EGOM is the cabinet! As long as cabinet approved any policy, the democratic constitutional norm is observed! If there is a super PMO, it’s always adds value to governance! PM is the leader of the government and must act as facilitator in resolving issues between ministries so as to fast-track all policy decisions. Thus this is minimum government as it doesn’t have too many procedures to follow. It’s a simply, decisive and transparent mechanism. Thus Modi is right in making minimum government is fast tracking it so as to deliver maximum governance!

Coming back to number of ministers, I don’t think the present less number of ministers has anything to do with its minimum government policy. I am sure he would add some 20-25 ministers in couple months. Forming small council of minister has both political and technical reasons. The technical reason is Narendra Modi is preparing himself and his PMO to take charge of the government. It’s easy to start with a small number of ministers to understand the system at Delhi first. Once he knows everything and bit experience to Delhi system, he would like to do expansion and most likely some expansion too is possible before budget session! There is apolitical reason too! Narendra Modi knows personally that his government doesn’t enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha! Thus he intentionally keeps open the door for post poll allies like AIDMK, BJD and others!

Thus my conclusion is not to read Modi’s small size of council of ministers as minimum government. In fact number of ministers doesn’t matter rather simplifying the mechanism towards delivering governance is the minimum government! Thus folks, I bet Modi’s council of ministers too would be touching 60-70 in less than six months! What’s your opinion? 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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