India is not a presidential system like the US where the whole administration is revamped with the change in government. There is always a sense of continuity in change. Still what Modi government has achieved in terms of decisions making and implementation is a stark departure from the popular practices in Indian politics.
Constitution of SIT to probe unaccounted money deposited in foreign accounts is the first decision that the new government implemented, which is widely welcomed. Though there are numerous glitches in countering generation of black money, political will to curb the menace is appreciable. But the true systemic change that this government has initiated is by shaking the roots of dynastic culture in Indian politics. After an advisory by the Prime Minister asking his ministers to avoid appointing family-members in their personal staff, Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) has simultaneously issued a circular regarding the same. Personal staff of leaders, generally constituted of family members, creates accessibility issues for common masses is a common experience as they make the implementation system manipulative. Institutionalising this ethical practice from above will hopefully create moral pressure upto the grass -root level. Empowering bureaucracy by enlightened leadership is another praiseworthy initiative. The inherent hurdles of red-tapism can be curtailed through politically driven bureaucratic structures and bureaucracy driven political implementations. System of performance based appraisal of ministers and restoring Hindi as lingua-franca of governance are another significant steps taken by the government in breaking the colonial shackles.
This perhaps is just a starting point in changing rules of the game. The unearthing of the UPA mess created by manipulation of institutions and ensuring government based on ‘self-interest’ of a ruling party are also being exposed. Recent revelation in an RTI about appointment of Sheila Dixit, former CM of Delhi as Governor of Kerala through a one-man verbal directive of the then Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, is a classic example of this. With all formalities from resignation of Nikhil Kumar, additional charge to H R Bhardwaj and then appointment of Ms Dixit was done within hours on 04.03.2014. This was all done to avoid election-code coming into force on the next day. Many commission and institutions like SC/ST commission and minority commission, even most sanctimonious institutions like judiciary and armed forces are not left out of these political manipulations. It is not only shocking but it also depicts the fragile nature of our democratic structures. The ongoing controversy in the implementation of Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) is another example of how hasty and politically motivated decisions are taken under international pressures without following the due democratic process.
Modi government is voted for power on the plank of “Minimum government, Maximum Governance”. This goal demands for new set of rules based on transparency and consultation, instead of family or party interests. If the ‘Nation First’ and ‘Governance for All and Appeasement for None’ is to be realised in practice then revamping the structures and processes based on ethical governance need to be fostered. That is the only way to shake the shackles in ‘maximum governance’.