Government orders bureaucrats to clean up their act: report

Keen to refurbish its image, battered by recent scams and Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, the government has directed its top bureaucracy to identify key measures related to improve governance and reduce corruption, with a monitoring mechanism to track implementation, according to a report.

The cabinet secretary, the senior-most civil servant, has held meetings with secretaries of various ministries and departments in a bid to re-energise them to carry out the government's development agenda. According to The Indian Express, sources said the meetings were held on the advice of prime minister's new principal secretary Pulok Chatterji.

The recent scams have made the bureaucracy extra-cautious in dealing with even routine administrative issues. Cabinet secretary A K Seth is believed to have stressed that this sense of paralysis must end, says the report.

Each of the secretaries has been asked to identify at least two areas where governance can be improved and corruption reduced. The measures they suggest have to be implemented immediately and the secretaries have to report back to the cabinet secretariat within a month.

They have also been asked to quicken the pace of decision-making, especially as regards the government's development agenda.

A review of the steps taken to improve governance and reduce corruption is planned next month. At that time, the government also plans to unveil a basket of measures from among those suggested that would be implemented across the board.

These measures are likely to include the legislative measures the government has been planning as part of its anti-corruption strategy, including the lokpal bill and the judicial accountability bill.