After easing norms in several key sectors, including defence, construction, civil aviation and media, for foreign investment ahead of his UK visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has swung into action, ordering a new strategy to improve his government’s image.

After easing norms in several key sectors, including defence, construction, civil aviation and media, for foreign investment ahead of his UK visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has swung into action, ordering a new strategy to improve his government’s image.Close on the heels of the BJP’s defeat in Bihar, Modi at a review meeting with the officials of the PMO decided to focus on the governance agenda. The PM also talked about constituting a special team for effective implementation and constant monitoring of various programmes he has initiated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the action plan, involves giving fresh responsibilities to ministers and bureaucrats. Soon after returning from the foreign tour, the PM is planning a series of meetings with senior officers of each ministry to improve government’s performance. They said Modi has also decided to personally review all rural schemes and in particular the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as a wrong message has gone out among the villagers that the government is trying to deny them the rights bestowed under the scheme by the previous UPA government. He is concerned that the BJP did not get enough votes in Bihar villages.Modi told the PMO officials that many steps taken by him for good governance as also “zero tolerance” regarding corruption in the government have not been understood by the people for lack of proper communication and hence he wants a new strategy to take the message to the grass-roots level. Bureaucrats have used this alibi, not to sign files or to take important decisions. The thrust of the new campaign will be that the government is working efficiently and the poor will be the biggest beneficiaries of all its schemes and programmes.There is also a plan to tackle the Opposition parties’ allegations of the government being soft on the communal elements. On PM’s advice, home minister Rajnath Singh is sending out a directive to all central ministries and departments and the state governments to observe “Quomi Ekta” week from November 19 to 25, starting with the “National Unity Day” on November 19. Officials said the idea is to revive the annual communal amity week observed by the Congress all these years to send out a message of communal harmony and national. The week-long programmes will include observance of the Minority Welfare Day on November 20, Language Amity Day on November 21, Weaker Sections Day on November 22, Cultural Unity Day on November 23, Women’s Day on November 24 and Environment Protection Day on November 25. In a bid to puncture the Congress plans to paralyse the Parliament session, the government has also thrown up an Ambedkar card, fixing the first two days of Parliament session – November 26 and 27 – for discussion on the architect of the Constitution BR Ambedkar and his contributions to mark his 125th anniversary. It was on November 26, 1947 that the Constituent Assembly had adopted the Constitution and so the relevance of starting the session remembering its drafter, said parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu.Prime Minister Modi may himself break the silence, taking opportunity of the Ambedkar debate to counter the charges of intolerance and communal strive levelled on him and the BJP and express regrets for in-tampered and abusive language used by his ministerial colleagues in the recent past, pleading that nothing should derail his agenda of the country’s growth. Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala has welcomed the Ambedkar debate, saying it will give a big opportunity for the Congress and other opposition parties to put the government on the mat on the issue of the ‘government’s arrogance’ and communal agenda. He said the Congress would certainly participate in the debate on Ambedkar and the Constitution, noting that his party has been repeatedly reminding Modi and his government to follow the Constitution and Rajdharma.

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Government to put foot on accelerator; new initiatives coming up