Citizen Centric Governance At Work
Two low profile ministers in the Narendra Modi government are slowly acquiring the reputation of being accessible and helpful (specially in their constituencies). One of them is Dr Jitender Singh, Union Minister for Personnel, PMO, Science & Technology, while the other one is General V.K. Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Civil Aviation. Since the former’s constituency is in Jammu, he uses technology and Zoom meetings with the officials in J&K to keep track on the development work and other constituency grievances, apart from weekend visits to Jammu. Constituents who visit him with a problem will see him pick up the phone immediately and dial the DC or SSP to solve the issue. They also usually get a call back from Dr Singh’s office updating them on the action taken on their grievances. Bureaucrats too find it tough to pull wool over his eyes over non-compliance as the good doctor knows how to cut through the excuses with practical solutions. In fact, Dr Singh is often heard pleading the case to send younger and more energetic bureaucrats to J&K instead of sarkari 9 am to 5 pm types. Gen V.K. Singh is more of a pen and paper diary man and his team knows that each entry will be checked for follow-up action. Since the General’s constituency is in nearby Ghaziabad, his constituents can drop into his Delhi residence anytime or else know where to find him, for his routine is well established. In the first half of the day, he is at the Ministry of Roadways and the second half sees him at the Civil Aviation ministry. He even fired one of his officials for keeping a constituent waiting till 5 pm. A stickler for time, the General is never late for an appointment or a meeting (now if only the minister’s work culture of on time arrivals percolates to the airlines as well).

Congress reshuffle soon?
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will soon be reshuffling the party organisation as well as nominating members to the Congress Working Committee. The recent AICC session in Raipur gave him the go-ahead to nominate members to the entire CWC. This has given rise to a lot of speculation at the party headquarters for while the expected move will be to continue with Rahul Gandhi’s team that is currently in place, Kharge is also a seasoned Congress leader and has his own likes and dislikes. Also, there seems to be a rethink amongst the Gandhis about some leaders who may continue to be Rahul’s favourites but have little utility on ground. In fact, the buzz is that at least two general secretaries who are still RaGa favorites may be sidelined and shifted out of their heavyweight portfolios. Another question that is doing the rounds is: will Kharge rejig the media department, which was reconstituted only recently? Also, the party has to appoint a new leader in the Rajya Sabha after Kharge’s elevation to party president. And then there is the question of what role to assign Rahul Gandhi. The last may prove to be the most delicate and politically laden move of all.

Cabinet Reshuffle: More buzz than shuffle?
The rumour mill has been abuzz about this for a while now and while the Prime Minister was expected to reshuffle his Cabinet before the Budget session reconvened, this could now take place post the Karnataka elections. However, even the non-event has kept most of the ministers on edge, especially with the talk of a couple of Cabinet ministers being eased out or downsized. Whether the knife falls or not, the anticipation of it has several ministers pulling up their socks, so guess the PM’s purpose is served; one way or the other.