Within a week of the Modi government 2.0 taking oath, the PM has reconstituted six key cabinet committees while creating two new committees altogether under the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961. In a signal that the new government has already set the ball rolling on its resolve on delivering governance to the people, the setting up of two new committees is particularly noteworthy. At the same time, the incorporation of several other related ministries under these committees is a sign of this government not working in silos and instead promoting a synergised model of governance.
While the two new committees are Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth and Cabinet Committee on Employment & Skill Development, the other six are: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Security, Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth
A brainchild of the incoming government, this has long-term implications for the way our economy is set to grow from a $ sub-3 trillion economy to a $5 trillion economy. Given the intrinsic linkage between investment and growth, the idea has been to provide for an investment climate to push both domestic and foreign investment across all sectors that will generate enough growth to nearly double the size of the country’s economy in the shortest possible period of time. Then in terms of constitution, the inclusion of Minister of Commerce and Industry and Railways, and Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises – apart from the PM, home and finance ministers – indicates that creation of a first-class transport network is a prerequisite to a boost in investment, a fact that the government has truly recognized.
Cabinet Committee on Employment & Skill Development
Related to the first, another innovation on the part of the Modi government, this has been a high-focus area. The intent has been to establish a clear connection between a high investment, high growth economy and a high employment-generating economy. For long, there has been a discussion in the country about demographic dividend accruing to the economy. But not really much was done. For the first time, Modi government both through his first and second terms has sought to launch a separate initiative on skill development really harnessing the much-touted demographic dividend for the growth and development of the country. Mindful of the inextricable linkage between education and employment apart from the fact that only utmost development of skills can really prepare a workforce for a truly gainful and satisfying employment in any economy, the Committee has rightly included the minister for human resources as well as the ministers for Skill development and Entrepreneurship and Labour and Employment. That the Committee also includes the Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Agriculture signifies that the remit and the scope of the Committee extends to the rural sectors too.
Cabinet Committee on Security
The all-important committee has been reorganised with new appointments in all the four relevant ministries – Amit Shah as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh as Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman as Finance Minister and the diplomat-technocrat turned Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. As over-all security of the country, domestic and external, remains at the centre stage of administration’s attention and possibly is to be pursued with even greater vigour, this Committee is set to play a pivotal role in the coming weeks and months.
Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
Another all-encompassing committee that oversees the broader issues of governance with an eye on key focus areas. For instance, the priority of doubling of farmer’s income has been taken care of by including the Ministry of Food Processing in the Committee. The aspirations of youth have been sought to be addressed through the inclusion of Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Heavy Industry which are expected to stimulate manufacturing, the start-ups and infrastructure-building, and thereby create job opportunities. Then the inclusion of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the second largest employer after agriculture is to further provide an impetus to the job market in the country.
Thus, the Modi government is already going full-throttle in its second innings. By reconstituting these important Cabinet Committees in no time and even creating two new ones, its priorities seem well in place. And so, the intent of the government is clear to all and sundry.