Monday, July 28, 2014

Idea Boxes in corridors and beyond; but where is the blueprint for implementation?

Cab secy Seth and Principal secy to PM Misra
MoS in the ministry of personnel and PMO Jitendra Singh informed Rajya Sabha last week that the government's personnel department DoPT had installed ‘Idea Boxes’ to solicit ‘out of the box’ solution from government employees, as a part of its Innovation Action Plan. Also, while interacting with the union secretaries during the last two months, prime minister Narendra Modi demanded bright and innovate ideas from the babus. Further, PM on Saturday…
inaugurated an interactive platform called MyGov allowing any citizen to share his or her thoughts and ideas. A person can now log into the site (, engage creatively with government departments and directly contribute to the government’s six focus areas: Clean Ganga, Girl Child Education, Clean India, Skilled India, Digital India and Job Creation.
All these sound brilliant, and Modi Sarkar needs to be praised for its sincere attempt to go beyond the bureaucrats’ advices and borrow ideas from ordinary citizens. But, someone needs to remind Modi’s PMO that there is no dearth of ideas in this nation of Jugaad. A lot of experimentation has been done in the past on innovation in government. The government’s problem, as it was seen in the past too, is on the implementation side.
The then President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil, for example, publicly declared 2010-20 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’. To take this agenda forward, the then Adviser to the PM on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations Sam Pitroda worked on developing a national strategy on innovation. Remember, Pitroda-headed National Innovation Council? It was supposed to be a platform to facilitate domain experts, stakeholders and key participants to create an innovation movement in India. The council was talking about a mind-set change, and co-opting people in education, business, government, NGOs, urban and rural development engaged in innovative activities so as to create a national innovation strategy.
But those who have followed the government corridors for decades will tell you frankly that the Modi Sarkar needs more innovation not on crafting new schemes, but on their perfect implementation. The question arises whether the government has any blueprint to end leakages of Central fund? Will the government succeed in ensuring that the same set of bureaucrats who had scripted “policy paralysis” during the last government can deliver now? And, does the PMO have any mechanism to check various ministries and alert future frauds well in advance?
One has to be innovative in answering these simple questions!

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