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Meet, seek guidance from predecessors, focus on work — Modi’s advice to new council of ministers

The PM also cautioned his ministerial colleagues against 'carelessness or complacency' in the fight against Covid, saying that a single mistake would have a far-reaching impact.

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New Delhi: Be punctual at work, avoid giving unnecessary statements to the media, ensure last mile delivery of government schemes, and seek the guidance of seniors whom you have replaced in office — this was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice to his Council of Ministers Thursday, a day after the massive cabinet reshuffle, government sources told ThePrint.

The PM also cautioned his ministerial colleagues against “carelessness or complacency” in the fight against Covid-19, warning them that a “single mistake would have far-reaching impact and weaken the fight to overcome the pandemic.”

He added that in such a time there should be no space for carelessness or complacency.

36 new faces have been inducted into the Modi cabinet, taking the total strength to 78. The reshuffle saw 12 ministers including six cabinet ministers being dropped to make way for the elevation of existing ones and new faces.

Those dropped included Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, and Santosh Gangwar among others.

Also read: Modi cabinet reshuffle done, 43 new ministers take oath — Here is the full list of portfolios

‘Ministers not dropped on performance ground, seek their guidance’

The 12 ministers who were dropped from the cabinet Wednesday came in for praise from the PM at the meeting that started at 7 pm and continued for almost three hours.

“The PM told us to meet and take benefit of experience of the former ministers, take their guidance, consult them…. He said the ministers were not dropped because of non-performance. The idea was to bring in young faces and infuse fresh energy,” a minister who attended the meeting told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

The average age of the new council of ministers has now come down from 61 years to 58 years.

The PM, a government source said, also cautioned ministers, especially the new inductees, to avoid giving unnecessary or controversial statements to the media and instead focus on work and completing projects on mission mode. “The PM said that our focus should be to ensure last mile delivery of the various government schemes targeting the needy,” the source said.

The PM, the source added, also emphasised that ministers should be adept at using technology.

Also read: Javadekar, Pokhriyal, RS Prasad, Harsh Vardhan — why Modi govt dropped big names from Cabinet

‘Threat of Covid far from over’

The PM, sources said, also expressed concern over videos and pictures of people throwing caution to the wind and roaming without masks and flouting social distancing norms.

“This is not a pleasant sight and it should instil a sense of fear in us,” the PM said, adding that there should be no space for carelessness or complacency at this time.

Sources said Modi also told his ministerial colleagues that with Covid numbers declining in the country, people may want to venture out but everyone should remember that the “threat of Covid-19 is far from over.”

”The PM said that many other nations are seeing surges in infections. The virus is also mutating,” the source added.

“As ministers, our aim should not be to instil fear but to request people to keep taking all possible precautions so that we are able to move beyond this pandemic in the times to come,” the PM is said to have told his ministerial colleagues.

Also read: PM Modi’s new team is a governance reboot tempered with politics


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