Advertisement
Monday, Dec 06, 2021
Outlook.com
Reforms

'Is The Government Serious About Reforms?'

"It was a well-thought-out decision," says Dr E.A.S. Sarma, Economic Affairs Secretary till the day before, relaxing in his spartan sitting room on half-pay leave and defending himself on the phone to his colleagues for quitting the ias a year before

'Is The Government Serious About Reforms?'
'Is The Government Serious About Reforms?'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Did you and the finance secretary have to go because the government wanted a new team to present a new-look budget?
That's possible, a new team does help look at old problems in a new angle. It's the government's prerogative.
But won't this impact the budget exercise and reforms?
It may not. But if you study the average tenure of senior bureaucrats in key ministries over the past five years—power, petroleum, coal—it will come to about seven-eight months for each. Which begs the question: is the government serious about reforms? Did you have an eventful tenure?
When I was power secretary, we piloted the work on regulatory commissions and the transmission bill. I was shunted out of here because the minister didn't like my face. Then when I was expenditure secretary, we started the process of signing MoUs with states. In economic affairs, I piloted the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, but there is so much uproar.
What does the Bill focus on?
To have a medium-term fiscal plan and an independent group to check whether the government is sticking to it, and a clear-cut plan to reduce fiscal deficit. Transparency is important. The budget process is not transparent which might have serious long-term implications. My view is that every rupee spent should create some reform somewhere.
So what's the future of reforms?
We should first identify the genuine political reforms. Reforms are needed most in putting in place an institutional framework for change. In power, more MWs are meaningless unless the boards can sell them. This conceptual change in our systems will take another three years.
Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Songs Of Freedom & Redemption: The Unsung Stars Of Hip-Hop

Songs Of Freedom & Redemption: The Unsung Stars Of Hip-Hop

In impoverished neighbourhoods across the world are the true heroes, the unsung stars of hip-hop.

Nagaland:14 Civilians, One Soldier Killed In Firing And Rioting

Nagaland:14 Civilians, One Soldier Killed In Firing And Rioting

Nagaland tension: The mob went on a rampage, demanding immediate action against the security personnel who was involved in the killing of the 13 civilians.

Patel Reflects On His 'Dream Year,' Talks About Three All-rounders

Patel Reflects On His 'Dream Year,' Talks About Three All-rounders

Axar Patel has so far claimed 36 wickets in five Test matches in 2021, including five fifers and one 10-wicket haul.

Himachal Pradesh Becomes First State To Achieve 100 % Vaccination

Himachal Pradesh Becomes First State To Achieve 100 % Vaccination

Himachal 100 % vaccination: Union Minister for Health Mansukh Manadaviya said the Himachal model will be replicated in other states in the country.

Advertisement