The Telegraph
Thursday , August 28 , 2014
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100-day show under micro-manager leash
- Modi allows only 11 ministries so far to showcase achievements next week

New Delhi, Aug. 27: For those who think it’s a shortlist, it’s not. It’s the list that is short.

Narendra Modi has given the nod to just 11 ministries to showcase their achievements when the NDA government completes 100 days next week, the number as much an indication of his priorities as the mark of a micro-manager Prime Minister.

No 12th man has been named yet for the publicity blitzkrieg when the government’s achievements will be unveiled through media conferences and digital campaigns.

Sources said more among the remaining dozen-odd ministries could be added to the list but only if they passed muster — that is Modi’s critical eye.

According to government insiders, Modi held meetings with all the secretaries in the various ministries and decided on the 11 that would be part of the campaign after the government completes its hundredth day in office on September 3.

“The Prime Minister met all the secretaries of the different ministries and gave them a framework of ideas. Presentations were prepared and shown to the Prime Minister and, after his approval, around 11 ministries have been shortlisted so far for the press briefings,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Modi approved the presentations a couple of days back. He even clubbed some ministries that have overlapping schemes to avoid duplication. For example, road and railways have been clubbed for the media campaign.

The information and broadcasting ministry has already held two meetings to sort out the logistics involved.

The multimedia campaign — titled Economic drive with social change — will highlight the achievements of the government mainly in the areas of housing and infrastructure. While the order of the media conferences has not been finalised, the sources said the women and child development ministry’s Nirbhaya centre scheme for victims of sexual assault and Modi’s brainchild, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign for saving the girl child could kick off the media blitz, followed by the finance and infrastructure ministries.

The other ministries that have got the go-ahead are coal, power and renewable energy; commerce; environment; human resource development; labour; urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation; IT and drinking water and sanitation.

In the coming days, officials said, the government would highlight its work on cleaning the Ganga and shutting down 46 polluting industries in different states along the river. The campaign would also focus on how the environment ministry has evolved from being a ministry of “objections” to a ministry of “clearances”.

It was the UPA government that had started the 100-day media campaign, but ministers had then held their own media conferences to highlight the achievements of their departments. This is the first time that the Prime Minister’s Office has not only approved but also finalised the content of the briefings.

For officials who have been working under Modi for the past 90-odd days, this has not come as a surprise. A few days back, instructions were sent to all ministers that they no longer had the last word on drafting cabinet notes.

These notes, which usually summarise new schemes and policies, used to be prepared by the ministry concerned and then sent to the Union cabinet for approval. Now the draft has to be vetted by the Prime Minister.

That isn’t all.

Draft copies of all government advertisements have to be sent to the Prime Minister. “Now every document in ministries is vetted by the PMO, be it internal policy or ads for public consumption,” said an official.

The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, the government’s media wing, has been asked to send to the PMO all information and data about advertisements it has given to media outfits in the past 10 years.