Bhubaneswar: Even when under the Transaction of Business Rules, the Chief Minister has the authority to appoint a group of ministers to oversee any policy decision that has the jurisdiction over more than one ministry, such as implementation of 5T Scheme, CM Naveen Patnaik has decided to implement his pet scheme 'Mo Sarkar' through his change agent - VK Pandian - who happens to be the Private Secretary to the CM.
The moot question to the fore then is why Naveen decided to junk this important business rule provision laid down in the Constitution?
Does Naveen have no trust over the competency of his own Council of Ministers?
As per a senior bureaucrat, the big reason behind Chief Minister not following the Transaction of Business rules manual is Naveen wants to see a faster roll out of his pet scheme.
Implementation of any reform programme via Group of Ministers or Empowered GoM is always time consuming, he observed. "As a GoM has to conduct meetings, record the minutes of suggestions and inputs and then draft a report to submit before CM for approval, it takes a lot of time," he explained.
In order to bypass the mandatory process, and for a speedier implementation, the CM has thus decided to implement his pet 5T scheme directly via the CMO (Chief Minister Office). The appointment of CM's Private Secretary VK Pandian as 5T Secretary hints at the strategy of Naveen.
However, since in Indian democracy, it is the political executive that wields the power, and when Naveen make bureaucrats his change agent, then political tongues will definitely wag.
And Opposition Parties have readily and rightly took potshots at the Council of Ministers.
But reading between the lines does reveal some kind of a no-confidence of Naveen on his Council of Ministers,
As explained by a senior bureaucrat that implementation of any policy via the GoMs or EGoMs entails the risk of delay and derailment, the catch here is Naveen did consider bureaucrats a better implementer than his own Council of Ministers.
For the two-decade stint of Naveen, a charge that always had been conspicuous was Naveen runs his administration through a coterie of select bureaucrats, which the CM has always denied vehemently.
But in the implementation of his pet scheme 5T, Naveen's tilt towards the bureaucrats has been quite candid.
And the flip side of Naveen's devout implementation of 5T now shows that transparency has not been the hallmark of his earlier regimes. So the big push now.
The bottomline: It seems Naveen has taken the words of incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron, "When politics is no longer a mission but a profession; politicians become more self serving than public servants," to his mind.