The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is likely to get leaner and, apparently, meaner in the coming weeks.
In 2017, the Niti Aayog had asked the states to reorganize ministries and departments to ensure better governance, accountability and swifter decision-making.
The six-member state committee set up by Yogi Adityanath to work out the modalities of the reorganization has sought to reduce 99 departments to 57.
The cabinet that reviewed the recommendations of committee has deferred the final decision. “The cabinet was of view that state departments should correspond with those at centre,” said state minister Siddhartha Nath Singh.
A final blue print for reorganization is being prepared and would be put up for cabinet approval soon. The centre has formed new departments like water conservation.
“Accordingly, the state government will have to set up a department for fast, smooth functioning in coordination with centre,” the Minister added.
The committee has also said that 17 departments of the state will remain untouched and not be merged. These 17 departments that will not be merged with any department are sugar and cane development, cooperative, public works department (PWD), transport, housing and urban development, prisons, election, food and civil supplies, health and family welfare, food safety and drug administration, secretariat, parliamentary affairs, Vidhan Parishad, chief minister’s office and labour.
The report has made suggestions for bigger merges for key departments like finance, tourism and general administration.
Tourism will be merged with languages and religious work of Uttar Pradesh.
Finance will now be expanded to have two more departments — banking and institutional finance.
Civil aviation will be merged with protocol (VIP duties on ministers’ movements) and estate department that deals with government assets.
General administration will be merged with national integration, UP reintegration, public service management.
Also, social welfare will expand into OBC welfare, divyang empowerment and servicemen welfare.
A team of Niti Aayog officials visited the state in May 2017 and recommended the amalgamation of similar departments.
“The Niti Aayog had given a road map and suggested actions needed for speedy development of UP. The motto was minimum government and maximum governance,” the Minister said.
A senior official in the Chief Minister’s secretariat said that this would ensure accountability and streamline the government machinery.
Meanwhile, with the reduction of the number of departments, the number of ministers would also have to be reduced. The strength of the council of ministers in UP is 43, including the Chief Minister.