Innovative method to Appoint Ministers
Recently the Modi government reshuffled his council of ministers Most of these these ministers were appointed in May 2014, when Shri Modi took over as the PM. Now, after almost 2 years, a ‘reshuffle’ took place wherein he dropped a few of the ministers, changed the portfolios of some of them and inducted a few new ministers. Generally ministers who do not perform are either dropped or their portfolio is changed. India has followed this system of appointing ministers and ‘reshuffling them’ right from 1947. Is this a good method? In this article we will see how this is an extremely defective and wasteful method. We will also recommend a better method.
The current system is highly secretive and opaque and the general public is not aware of who is being considered for the job who will finally become a minister. We have heard of rumors of intense lobbying by the MPs for ‘lucrative’ ministries. The final selection and appointment is done solely on the judgment and criteria known only to the PM and maybe a few people in the ‘inner’ circle. The list is simply announced to the public and the ministers are sworn in. They are congratulated by some while some other fellow MPs just go into a sulk. No one explains why a particular person has been selected for a particular ministry and the specific skills (if any) that he bringing to the table. The irony is that the minister will now start shaping the nation’s policies for the next 5 years with the general public not having any inkling about his aptitude or ability. In this system, the ministers are first appointed and then it takes years before their work is reviewed. If anyone is found unsatisfactory, he is relieved of his portfolio but he had a free hand for years to do considerable damage. The nation suffers immensely due to this inefficient method ‘appoint and then review’ method where it takes years before a defective minister is shunted out.
Let us look at a ‘evaluate and then appoint’ method. All elected MPs should be given an equal and transparent opportunity to become a minister in an area of their choice. Each MP should be given a preparatory time of say 2-3 weeks after they win the election, during which they can select any ministry of their choice. They should prepare a blueprint of what they will achieve in five years if appointed as a minister and also prepare a well-defined roadmap and timelines for achieving the same. After the preparatory time period is over, each such MP should make a public presentation of his blueprint to the PM and senior party members which should also be open to public (TV, internet, physical attendance etc). The PM can then take the opinion from his team and the public and choose the best candidate. This will ensure merit and transparency in selection and automatically fix the yardstick for measuring the subsequent performance of the appointed minister. This will eliminate lobbying, selection of wrong candidates and opaqueness in the policies pursued by the minister. We are losing years of governance due to wrong appointments which will become a thing of the past. The PM can then be ruthless in replacing ministers who are still non-performers. The effectiveness of the government would get a massive boost.
We should use innovative and effective ways to govern our country which can be game-changers and lift our country to greater heights.
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