New Delhi [India], Oct. 26 : Mentioning the World Bank’s report on Ease of Doing Business that recognises India’s achievements in implementing reforms in four of the ten indicators, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked all the Chief Secretaries and all Secretaries of the Government of India to study the report, and analyse the potential areas where there is scope for improvement in their respective departments and states.
The Prime Minister asked for a report from all concerned in this regard within a month, and asked the Cabinet Secretary to review the same thereafter. Connecting related issues, the Prime Minister said such reforms should extend to all departments of the Government. For the first time in its history, India’s achievements in implementing reforms in four of the ten indicators – Trading Across Borders, Getting Electricity, Enforcing Contracts and Paying Taxes – have been recognised by the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business 2017′ report that was released on Tuesday.
Chairing his sixteenth interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, the Prime Minister mentioned that the Union Budget presentation is being advanced by about a month to ensure speedier implementation of projects and schemes, and urged all the states to align their plans with this advancement so that they could take maximum advantage of this move.
Expressing concern over the large number of grievances of labourers and EPF beneficiaries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government must be sensitive to labourers’ needs and they should not have to struggle to receive their legitimate dues. Prime Minister Modi pitched for the introduction of a system so that the process of finalisation of retirement benefits for all employees can begin a year in advance.
“In case of an untimely death, the papers should be completed within a specified time, and officers should be made accountable for the same,” he said. The Prime Minister reviewed the progress towards handling and resolution of grievances related to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which largely include EPFO, ESIC, and Labour Commissioners. The Secretary, Department of Labour, outlined the improvements brought in the grievance redressal system, such as introduction of online transfer of claims; electronic challans; mobile applications and SMS alerts; linking UAN to Aadhaar numbers; introduction of tele-medicine; and empanelling of more super-speciality hospitals. During a review of the progress of the e-NAM initiative, officials mentioned that e-NAM that began in April with 21 mandis spread over eight states, has now been expanded to 250 mandis spread over 10 states; while 13 states have completed the process of amending the APMC Act.
The Prime Minister said the farmer can benefit only if assaying and grading facilities are made available so that the farmer can market his produce in mandis across the country, and invited Chief Secretaries of all the states to give their suggestions on e-NAM. He also reviewed the progress of vital infrastructure projects in the railway, road, power and natural gas sectors, spread over several states, including Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. He reiterated the importance of completing projects in time so that cost overruns could be avoided, and the benefits of projects could reach the people, as originally envisaged.
Prime Minister Modi also reviewed the progress of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), and requested all Chief Secretaries to ensure that safe drinking water is made available to the residents of all 500 towns under AMRUT. He said the word “NAGAR” in Hindi can be taken to mean provision of “Nal” (Drinking Water), Gutter (Sanitation) and Rasta (Roads). He said AMRUT should focus on citizen-centric reforms.
On the upcoming Sardar Patel Jayanti, the Prime Minister urged all Secretaries and Chief Secretaries to work towards ensuring that at least one website out of the departments and organisations under them is available in all officially recognised Indian languages.