Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the Union Budget will be presented about a month in advance to ensure speedier implementation of the projects and asked the states to align their plans accordingly.
Modi made the announcement at the 16th interaction of PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation), which he chaired. The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Central as well as state governments.
“The Prime Minister mentioned that the Union Budget presentation is being advanced by about a month to ensure speedier implementation of projects and schemes. He urged all states to align their plans with this advancement, so that they could take maximum advantage of this move,” said a release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Generally, the Union Budget is presented at the end of February every year.
On the PRAGATI interaction, the Prime Minister also expressed his concern at the large number of grievances of labourers and Employees Provident Fund beneficiaries, saying “the government must be sensitive to their needs”.
Modi said that in a democracy, the labourers should not have to struggle to receive their legitimate dues. He also called for introduction of a system so that the process of finalisation of retirement benefits for all employees can begin a year in advance before their retirement.
In case of an untimely death, he said the papers should be completed within a specified time, and officers should be made accountable for this purpose.
Also disappointed at India’s persistent low ranking in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index, he also asked top bureaucrats to study the report and give their feedback within a month.
He asked all the Chief Secretaries of the states and Secretaries of the Central government ministries and departments to study the report, and analyse the potential areas where there is scope for improvement in their respective departments and states.
The World Bank’s latest ‘Doing Business’ report puts India at the 130th pedestal among the 190 economies that were assessed on various parameters. India has failed to improve its rankings as this is just one notch above last year.
The Prime Minister also asked the Cabinet Secretary to oversee the feedback and review it.
The Modi government has been trying its best to woo foreign investors, while initiating a slew of measures in this regard, and globally brandishing India as the fastest growing economy.
Modi also reviewed the progress of vital infrastructure projects in the railway, road, power and natural gas sectors, spread over several states including Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar.
He reiterated the importance of completing projects in time, so that cost overruns could be avoided, and the benefits of projects could reach the people, as originally envisaged.
He requested all Chief Secretaries to ensure that safe drinking water is made available to the residents of all 500 towns under the the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which, he said, should focus on citizen-centric reforms.
On the upcoming occasion of Sardar Patel Jayanti, the Prime Minister also urged all Secretaries and Chief Secretaries to work towards ensuring that at least one website out of the departments and organisations under them, is available in all officially recognised Indian languages.
This year, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, will be celebrated in a public function. A week-long celebration will begin from October 31.