Narendra Modi Overturns UPA Legacy, Abolishes Ministerial Panels and Empowered Groups of Ministers

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Narendra Modi gestures during his arrival at the Prime Minister's Office at South Block in New Delhi on May 27

New Delhi:  First, he created "super ministries" by clubbing ministries with similar mandate. Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken another step to empower ministries.

Today, Mr Modi issued orders abolishing all Groups of Ministers (GOMs) and Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGOMs) set up during the UPA regime. (PM Modi Asks Ministers to Fix 100-Day Agenda, Lists Top 10 Priorities)

The new NDA government inherited 21 GOMs and nine EGOMs from the last regime.

But, the end of GOM system comes with a rider. Now, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Cabinet Secretary will act as facilitators as and when needed by any ministry.

Sources in the PMO say that the abolition of these groups was primarily aimed at empowering the ministries.

A top government source said that Prime Minister Modi took the decision with a view to expedite decision making. The sources said that during the previous UPA regime, most policy issues were sent to these groups but decisions were delayed as there were too many opinions to handle and ministries had little say.

While abolishing the GOMs, Mr Modi has signaled a return to the old system of ministries being the nodal agencies which eventually have to be accountable for decision making and decisions taken. (Also Read: Narendra Modi Rules Out Renaming Projects Begun by UPA Government: Sources)

The UPA government was criticised during its second term over the abundance of such GOMs. In 2012, when he moved to the President house, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee was heading a dozen of such groups to decide on issues ranging from creation of states to building war memorial.

By ending the system of GOMs, Mr Modi has announced the burial of a system that prevailed even during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA rule (1999-2004).

Mr Vajpayee ran a 24-party coalition and the Groups of Ministers became an active system for redressal of disputes and multiple divergent views on various issues. But during Mr Vajpayee's rule there were fewer such groups. In comparison, during UPA regime, GOMs became less of an exception and more of a rule. Ministers from Congress's coalition partners like DMK leader A Raja either resisted letting important policy issues from going to groups or ignored their suggestions.

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