Thiruvananthapuram: The Strategic Implementation Plan for Modernising Government Programme, the reform agenda of the Congress-led United Democratic Front government in Kerala for the next five years, proposes cess on health and education services, contract appointment of doctors and teachers, chief executive officers for village panchayats, merit-based promotion in departments and limiting core functions of the government to law and order and public distribution system.
The 15-page reform document and the government order detailing out the policy, dated 4 October 2002, is now ready. The document has worked out a chart for reforms to be implemented with target schedules.
It identified the Kerala State Electricity Board, revenue, motor vehicles, treasuries, the Kerala Water Authority, civil supplies and the police as priority units for demonstrating reforms effects.
The first section of the document deals with the 'Minimum Needs Programme' stressing the need for levy of cess on health and education, pay clinics and utilisation of school infrastructure for income generation, phased closure of uneconomic schools and rehabilitation of pupils, redeployment of school teachers, re-certification of teachers and doctors and teachers on contract through local recruitment. Each programme has target dates for implementing and completing the process.
The second section, 'Enabling Environment for Economic Growth,' proposes appointment of a labour reform consultant, handing over authority for police for enforcing existing laws and exposure visits for labour union leaders, workers and political leaders.
The third section, 'Effective, Efficient and Accessible Local Self-Governments,' recommends restructuring of ombudsman into a three-member body by next year and creation of posts of CEOs for village panchayats among other things.
Regarding 'Fiscal Sustainability,' the fourth part of the policy document, the Strategic Implementation Plan envisages bringing down the revenue budget to balance by 2007-08. It sets the target for limiting subsidies to poor families identified through specific survey by 2003-04. The current year's budget will be prepared after taking into account the estimates for the next three years also.
Mid-year review would be done to prevent breach of budget ceilings. Transferring credit to public account would be stopped. Revision of Kerala service rules, establishment of a Kerala civil service, job description for senior officials, performance evaluation and merit-based promotion form the fifth section termed 'Core Government Functions.'
The sixth section deals with 'Effective, Efficient and Accessible Local Self-Governments.' The Modernising Government Programme (MGP) has been drawn up as part of the government strategy to overhaul and improve its services. The government appointed a steering committee for overseeing MGP in January 2002. The chief secretary was the chairman of this committee. It consisted of 10 secretaries in addition to the IMG director. Various task teams were appointed under the MGP steering committee in different thematic areas.
These task teams prepared the draft of MGP in three months. A workshop was held to discuss the different thematic papers prepared under MGP in April 2002. At the end of the workshop, a strategy document for MGP was prepared.
The government considered the strategy document for MGP and circulated the same for wide discussions. The cabinet examined the Strategic Implementation Plans prepared under MGP in detail and approved it. As the next step, the departments concerned will draw up detailed implementation plans.