Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a five-point directive to the newly inducted 43 ministers in his Cabinet after the swearing-in ceremony. He wants them to be accessible, punctual and polite while discharging ministerial duties and interacting with officers and the public.
A newly inducted minister from Maharashtra, who did not want to be named, told The Free Press Journal, “The PM warned at the outset, there would be zero tolerance for corruption, while emphasizing the need for transparent functioning by adhering to the stipulated norms and procedures. He reiterated his slogan of ‘Na Khaunga, Na Khane Doonga’ (neither will I indulge in corruption, nor allow anyone else to) to ensure corruption-free functioning.”
“The PM’s message was: Perform or perish. He asked all the newly inducted ministers to get on to the job immediately, study their respective departments and focus on decision-making without delay. Ministers were told to hold periodical reviews and keep a close eye on the implementation to avoid red-tapism and administrative wrangling’,’ said the minister. He went on to add that the performance of each minister would be under the PM's scanner.
Further the minister said that the PM has asked that none of the newly inducted ministers leave New Delhi till Independence Day and avoid speaking to the media and keep themselves away from media glare. “The PM has strictly asked ministers to avoid briefing the media every now and then and show restraint”, the minister added.
More importantly, ministers have been asked to stick to policy issues when questioned by the press and media but refrain from making any political comments. The minister admitted that PM’s diktat may be in the wake of the recent controversy between Twitter and the government and at a time when the opposition is targeting the Centre on a range of issues.
“The PM personally spoke to all 43 ministers and provided photo opportunities. He was candid in his message to fully exploit the opportunity to work as the minister and serve the country. The PM has asked all ministers to avoid celebrations and felicitations and strictly follow Covid-19 protocol”, said the minister.
The adherence to Covid-19 norms was emphasized especially in the light of the courts having made scathing observations on the Election Commission for not doing enough to enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour by political parties and stopping them from violating protocol.