Jitendra Singh on Friday took charge of the Ministry of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions with a focus on making governance more citizen-centric.
Singh, who won for the second time from Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur constituency defeating Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh with a record margin of over 3.57 lakh votes in the recent Lok Sabha election, has been inducted in the council of ministers for the consecutive second term of the Modi government.
He was inducted as the Minister of State in the all-powerful Prime Minister’s Office in 2014 as a first time Lok Sabha member.
In portfolios allocated to the ministers, his responsibilities have remained the same.
Singh, a lone minister from Jammu and Kashmir, has been given Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region; Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office; Minister of State in the Department of Atomic Energy; and Minister of State in the Department of Space, besides Personnel minister.
Many key reforms like abolishing interviews at junior-level recruitment in government jobs and doing away the need for attestation by a gazetted officer were brought in during his tenure to ease governance and make it citizen-centric.
He also brought major changes in resolving governance-related grievances received from people across the country, which was one of the key focus areas of the government.
This time too, his priority would be to make governance more citizen-centric.
Singh’s ministry played a crucial role in processing appointment in the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal that also took shape during his tenure as the personnel minister.
Though the Lokpal has been officially made functional, yet many processes need to be defined to ensure the ombudsman performs its duties and responsibilities as per its mandate. For instance, Lokpal needs to be provided with adequate staff and the government needs to come out with a format for people to file complaints.
His other priorities would include making the bureaucracy more accountable and ensuring that honest officers get rewarded and the corrupt are out of the system or face harsh punishment.
“The Personnel Ministry’s aim would be to have minimum government and maximum governance in all spheres of public delivery,” a government official said.