PM irked by plaints against customs, excise officials

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is upset at the number of complaints and grievances received from the public about the customs and excise department, and has ordered strong action against the officials responsible, reports said.

He held a special meeting with his full council of ministers on Wednesday evening, where he reviewed the implementation of cabinet decisions in five ministries - agriculture, food, chemical and fertilisers, rural development and water resources

At the meeting, he also instructed top bureaucrats in departments that have extensive public dealings to immediately set up a system for top-level monitoring of grievances.

Modi was chairing his ninth interaction with central government secretaries and chief secretaries of states through Pragati, a platform he launched last year to address people's grievances and monitor the implementation of key programmes and projects.

During the meeting, the PM cited complaints received from various quarters about the functioning of officials in the customs and excise department.

He also took stock of the implementation of the National Old Age Pension Scheme and emphasised the need to ensure that beneficiaries of pension schemes receive payment on time.

He told his ministers that such a review meeting would now be held on the last Wednesday of every month.

At the meeting of ministers, the cabinet secretary made power-point presentations on cabinet decisions and the status of their implementation. Each minister then had to share follow-up plans on speeding up or improving implementation.

At the meeting with bureaucrats, the PM took stock of the progress of key infrastructure projects in the road, railway, coal, power and renewable energy sectors across states.

He also also reviewed the progress of the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana or UDAY, which aims to give affordable and accessible power to all.