New Delhi: The Centre has begun work to ‘rightsize’ the government, the Economic Times reported. Employing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept of “minimum government, maximum governance”, plans are being consolidated to merge the ministries of urban development and housing, and urban poverty alleviation. Further, the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) may be brought under the health ministry along with pharmaceuticals.
According to a government representative, a concept note is being prepared that will take into account financial implications, as well as decide new names for the merged ministries and departments. The merged urban development and housing ministries may be called the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Housing.
Earlier, a group of secretaries on urban development, health and sanitation, had recommended right-sizing the government. The plan offered, apart from merging of ministries and departments, converging schemes and rightsizing institutions in order to improve planning and implementation of government programmes.
A senior government official said, “Earlier, urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation were under a single ministry. It is being felt that a separate ministry to deal with programmes for the urban poor is not working well. We need a holistic strategy for urban renewal keeping the poor in the fold.”
A similar argument has been made in favour of bringing pharmaceuticals under the health ministry. At present, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority is under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, and other drug-related issues are handled by the health ministry. AYUSH, however, is a separate department.
The Central Public Works Department, Town and Country Planning Office and Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation are likely to be merged into the National Institute of Urban Affairs.