Bureaucratic reshuffle in the offing

NEW DELHI DEC. 4. The Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, today hinted at a bureaucratic reshuffle in the near future but ruled out the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle - an issue she had not given any thought to.

``A number of officers are likely to return to Delhi after serving in other States. A number of positions have been lying vacant for the past few months. Some of the Departments and their heads have not been performing up to the mark and a change is needed to meet the targets set by us for March 31, 2003. This all would require an overhaul of the administration and I will give a concrete shape to this issue after my return from Gujarat,'' Ms. Dikshit said.

Stating that she had carried out an assessment of the working of senior bureaucrats, Ms. Dikshit said the situation certainly demanded a correction as great thrust had to be put on implementation of the policies and programmes of the Congress Government during the past one year in office. "We need dedicated officers at important positions who could work as a team and carry everybody along and not individuals who are cut off from ground realities,'' she remarked.

As for her Cabinet, the Chief Minister said no thought had been given to carry out a reshuffle as her first priority was to go ahead with the agenda of the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, to provide good and responsive governance. "The political leadership of the Congress Government in Delhi had pledged itself to one main goal -- good governance. That is what we promised and that is what we have delivered and that is the difference we have made,'' she stated.

A constant assessment of the working of the Ministers was being carried out and the high command was being kept posted about their performance.

Referring to the continued road blocks with regard to the officialdom, the Chief Minister said it was time to shrug off the previous precedent, cut out red-tapism and take a re-look at all old, rigid and cumbersome office rules so that all the procedures are re-engineered. The officials should not forget that this city is not only a State but also the national Capital of the country.

"The officials have to develop a mindset which is geared towards taking initiatives. One should develop the ability to think beyond past traditions. It is this inquisitive and innovative mindset that I am looking for in the officers.

It is on this reform mode or re-inventing of Government that they would be rated,'' she added.

Outlining her agenda for the fifth year in office, the Chief Minister said the Congress Government would work with greater vigour and in an even more focussed manner.

Options for private-public partnership would be explored and involvement of people at all levels of Government functioning and decision making would to be encouraged. The level of public trust and confidence in the Government would be improved.

"We plan to take the Bhagidari Scheme to the rural areas and things are being worked out in this regard. In the absence of the Panchayat system in the rural villages of Delhi, the Bhagidari system would fill this gap and lay the foundation for a long lasting cooperation between the villagers and the Government on various issues including developmental programmes,'' she said.

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