Accuses PM of of concentrating power in his hands
New Delhi : As the Modi government completes its first month in office, the Congress has charged that it wants the people to believe as if it is reinventing the wheel in terms of governance issues.
Citing various examples of this approach on the part of the government, Congress spokesperson and former union minister Anand Sharma said that “an impression is being created that it is for the time that the members of the cabinet are being asked to disclose their assets and liabilities.”
“The fact is that this is an established practice, and every year by the July 31st, the ministers are mandated to submit these details to the prime minister and the cabinet secretary,” he said, adding that, similarly an impression is being created as if the ministers in the previous government were merely travelling abroad in junkets for pleasure at government and now a check has been imposed.”
“This too is a well-established practice. All visits by ministers, officials are cleared by the external affairs ministry from a political standpoint, and then by the prime minister. The ministers while travelling abroad cannot avail of anyone’s hospitality,” he added.
Even as he found fault with this frivolous approach of the government, Sharma strongly objected to the manner in which circulars have been issued for the functioning of the secretaries in the ministries and the appointments of the private secretaries to even cabinet ministers.
“By a circular the secretaries have been asked to report the Prime Ministers’ Office, and therefore, the question arises is what will Cabinet Ministers do in those Ministries. Under the cabinet form of government, it is the Cabinet Minister who is responsible and accountable to Parliament for work related to his ministry,” he added.
Sharma said that when cabinet ministers cannot even appoint their own private secretaries it signals a dangerous trend in the concentration of powers that is against the constitutional provisions.” This is a serious development that will have long-term impact on morale of the civil services, on the functioning of the government and on decision-making processes in our country,” he added.
Sharma also accused Modi of concentrating power in his hands and said the government’s decision asking Secretaries to report to the PMO is “dilution of and disrespect to” the cabinet system.
Seeking to drive a wedge in ruling BJP, Sharma said that even the Home Minister of the country cannot appoint his private secretary as government has issued orders that officials who have worked in that post in the previous regime cannot find a place in the new government.