Naveen Patnaik Directs Ministers to Tour Odisha Extensively, Conduct Surprise Inspections at Govt Offices
Chairing the second cabinet meeting since his return to power in May, the 72-year-old chief of the ruling Biju Janata Dal sought to send a clear message to all his 20 ministers that good governance and public service are the top priorities of his government.
File photo of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday directed his ministers to undertake extensive tours of the state and carry out surprise inspections of government offices.
Chairing the second cabinet meeting since his return to power with a thumping majority in May, the 72-year-old chief of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) sought to send a clear message to all his 20 ministers that good governance and public service are the top priorities of his government.
Patnaik gave the ministers five points of advice that many saw as action plans which, if followed earnestly, could bring about rapid transformation in the way the administration functions, especially in the rural and remote areas of the coastal state.
“I want all of you to undertake extensive tours of the state. You will then come to know about the functioning of your departments at the grassroots level. You must conduct surprise inspections of the offices and institutions under your respective departments. This will speed up the process of various public services,” Patnaik told ministers.
In his nine-minute address to the council of ministers, Patnaik said, “You should also have interactions with the common people and try to address their grievances during your tours across the state. You should take direct feedback from the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of the government during these tours.”
“The five T’s — Transparency, Technology, Teamwork, Transformation and Time – are extremely critical for bringing about change. You must pay attention to this at a personal level,” he said. “Computerisation is necessary for greater transparency and competence in governance. So you should pay special attention to ensure that 100% of the work in your department is carried out through OSWAS.”
The Odisha Secretariat Workflow Automation System or OSWAS, a software system used by the state administration to clear files and dispatch letters in the least possible time and with zero error, was launched in all the departments in 2014. An upgraded open source based version of OSWAS, which is mobile phone- and cloud-ready with a web responsive design, was launched in July last year.
Patnaik thanked his ministers for submitting in time the monthly reports of their departments. A week after becoming the chief minister for the fifth time, he had asked them to submit monthly reports mentioning the steps taken by their departments to implement the promises made in the BJD’s election manifesto. Patnaik had asked them to submit these reports to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) by the seventh of every month. All ministers submitted the first monthly reports on July 6.
Patnaik had asked senior bureaucrats, especially the heads of departments, to spend the first half of every Saturday on reviewing the implementation of the ‘5Ts’ to ensure that his governance ensures citizen satisfaction.
"Naveen Patnaik appears to have learnt from his reliable sources that the fruits of his governance methods are not reaching the ordinary people in the intended manner. This being his fifth and possibly the last term, he is keen to leave a shining mark on the state in this term without wasting time,” said political analyst Rabi Das.
Odisha’s main opposition BJP dismissed the chief minister's advice to his ministers as an eyewash.
“With signs of total governance failure all around, this pep talk to the ministers is hardly going to make any meaningful impact unless there is sincerity in their hearts,” said state BJP general secretary Lekhasri Samantsinghar.
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