The latest commission on administrative reform to be appointed by the Government of India was Expenditure Reforms Commission, under the chairmanship of K.R Geethakrishnan, a retired who had earlier functioned as the finance secretary in the Government of India.
Appointed in Fe 2000, it was given one year’s time to complete its economy exercise suggesting ‘a road map for red the functions, activities and administrative structure of the Government’.
The Expenditure Re Commission functioned as a staff reduction committee in view of the Government’s worry that the developmental expenditure of the Government was showing a very high rate of growth calling for immediate downsizing.
Its reports covered the following matters/departments/ministries:
1. Food Subsidy
2. Rationalising Fertilizer Subsidy
3. Optimising Government Staff Strength – Some General Issues
4. Rationalising of the Functions, Activities and Structure of the Ministry of Information and Broadcast
5. Rationalising of the Functions, Activities and Structure in the Ministry of Coal.
6. Restructuring of the Department of Economic Affairs
7. Ministry of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Village Industries
8. Department of Heavy Industry
9. Department of Public Enterprises
10. Department of Posts
11. Department of Supply
12. Autonomous Institutions
13. Ministry of Steel
14. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
15. Department of Chemicals and Petro-chemicals
16. Department of Fertilizers
17. Ministry of Mines
18. Ministry of Consumers, Food & Public Distribution
19. National Productivity Council
20. Tariff Commission
21. Quality Council of India
22. Department of Agriculture and Cooperation
23. Ministry of Rural Development
24. Ministry of External Affairs
25. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
26. Ministry of Shipping
27. Ministry of Human Resource Development
28. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
29. Ministry of Environment and Forests
30. Department of Culture
31. Department of Commerce
32. Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation
33. Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
34. Ministry of Tribal Affairs
35. Ministry of Civil Aviation
36. Ministry of Tourism
37. Ministry of Industrial Policy and Promotion
38. Department of Expenditure
The principal thrust of the ERC was on downsizing. The ERC’s report on Information and Broadcasting Ministry is particularly relevant. The Commission recommended the closing down of a large number of organizations such as the Films Division, the Children’s Film Society etc.
The Film and Television Institute and the Satyajit Ray Film Institute at Kolkata were to be privatised. Other units such as the Song and Drama Division, the Publications Division and the Field Publicity Wing were to be downsized drastically. As a result, about 5000 Information and Broadcasting personnel would have to pack up.