Infrastructure sector's long-pending demand for unified ministries is likely to see the light of the day in the Narendra Modi regime, which will begin its work on Tuesday. At least seven infrastructure ministries are likely to be merged into two when the next government is formed.
According to a source close to the development, one super ministry for transport will be formed by merging railways, highways, ports and shipping and civil aviation. "The ministry of power, coal and renewable ministries will also be merged and will be called power ministry. Small and medium enterprises ministries is also likely to be merged with the heavy industries ministries," the source told dna.
He also pointed out that the Panchayati Raj ministry will be merged with the rural development ministry.
A senior government official told dna that for various verticals of the transport ministry, there will be different departments headed by a secretary to assist the minister. A clear picture on the functioning of the ministries will emerge only after the government is formed. It would, however, be a task easier said than done, particularly given the complexities of ministries such as Railways – a mammoth organisation that itself has at least fourteen lakh employees all over the country.
In deviation from the outgoing government, this government is not likely to work through a system of Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs). There were almost 82 EGoMs and group of ministers in the UPA II government – most of them headed by current President Pranab Mukherjee, when he was the finance minister. A senior official told dna, "Steps such as these will reinstate the confidence in the bureaucracy."
Of all these ministries, the ports and shipping and the highways used to be one ministry during the UPA I rule between 2004 and 2009. When it came to power for the second term in 2009, the portfolio got divided with two cabinet rank ministers heading the ministries.