Maharashtra government to scrap State Planning Department?
Devendra Fadnavis who was sworn in as the 27th Chief Minister of Maharashtra will be following the footsteps of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by adopting his model of governance in the state too. Just like Modi had scrapped the Planning Commission in the centre Fadnavis too will be scrapping the State Planning department. Thus the Maharashtra government will have a Modi stamp on it. Fadnavis will emulate Modi’s formula of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’. There is already lesser number of ministers in Modi government at the centre. The PM also had reduced the number of ministers to curtail the expenditure and speed up decision making process. He had merged several ministries to eliminate the overlapping of tasks. Thus Maharashtra too will follow the Gujarat model of governance.
Fadnavis is soon going to take a decision in this regard by holding a high level cabinet meeting. The newly elected CM said he would follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s example. “I would prefer more governance and less government. The size of the cabinet will be small and some departments will be consolidated”, he said.
While he did not give numbers, Mr Fadnavis indicated that the number of ministers would be less than 15 percent of the 288 seats in the house.
Right now the State Planning Commission is being used by ministers for political rehabilitation. When the Sena-BJP government was in power in the state in 1995 Prakash Javadekar was the Vice President of the Planning Department. This post is considered to be equivalent to the Minister of State rank. Those leaders who are not assigned any cabinet posts are being accommodated in the Planning Department. The Chief Minister is the head of the Planning Department. Later on Ratnakar Mahajan, Babasaheb Kupekar, Ramraje Nimbalkar were appointed as the Vice-President of the institution.
Since the Vice-President doesn’t have any executive powers hence the State Planning Department has become toothless. The Congress led Democratic Front had been running a jumbo sized ministry to accommodate many ministers. However, the new government is merging these ministries. According to sources, there won’t be separate ministers to head the primary, higher education, health.