New Delhi: One of agendas of the Modi sarkar has been to make the administrative functioning more coherent and decisive rather than being not action oriented. And to maintain such accountability, the government is keeping babus and netas on their toes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who maintains an exhausting 18-hour daily schedule, expects the same level of commitment from the bureaucrats and ministers.
The prime minister's demanding schedule has spruced up the work culture among the top echelons of power in central administration. Top bureaucrats and some ministers are putting in extra hours and sacrificing their weekends to keep up with their workaholic boss.
Modi, who sleeps only four to five hours a day, doesn't go slow on weekends. “He keeps mostly political engagements on Sundays. Official meetings also take place, as and when necessary,” said a PMO source.
While answering a student's question during his Dantewada visit on how he dealt with stress after working for 18 hours a day, the prime minister had said he never counts the number of hours he works.
With the prime minister in the office, his core team, too, works during the entire weekend.
“Officers of the rank of director and above in the PMO remain available to work on Sundays. The PM's principal secretary Nripendra Mishra, additional principal secretary PK Mishra and public relations officer of the PMO Jagdish Thakkar have not had a single Sunday off since they joined the highest executive office,” added another source.
Foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has installed a divan in one corner of his office in Delhi's stately South Block. The furniture doubles up as a bed when Jaishankar has to catch some nap.
Being the country's top Foreign Service officer, his schedule sometimes doesn't allow him to go home. Jaishankar has to be on tap for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and this means late nights at work, as well as Sundays.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, prefers to remain behind the scenes and away from the glare of media, but she's taken to the new way of working effortlessly.
“On addressing consular issues, she is 24/7. Indian missions can get instructions anytime from her, including on Sundays, to help an Indian in distress,” said an official.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu comes to office on some Sundays and keeps official engagements even on non-working days.
However, the new culture of being always switched on is yet to hit all sections of the government.
Parliamentary affairs and urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, defence secretary RK Mathur and top human resource development ministry officials prefer to enjoy a weekend break.