For the sake of effective governance, the Bengal government has decided to consolidate various departments under it. This decision has been welcomed by the Centre as well as the bureaucracy.
It is felt that this would make it easy to get information from a single window.
According to highly placed sources in the state government, it was the chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee who gave this idea to chief minister Mamata Banerjee so that it consolidates departments and reduces the financial burden on the state.
Some of the merged departments include:
1. Municipal affairs and urban development
2. Agriculture, agri-marketing and fisheries
3. North Bengal development and hill affairs
4. Social welfare, women and child development
5. Land and land reforms department and refugee rehabilitation
6. Fire & emergency services and disaster management & civil defense department
7. School education and madrasa education
8. Biotechnology, technical education, higher education and science and technology
9. Panchayat and rural affairs
Chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee told Catch "We are examining the proposal to consolidate departments. But a formal notification is yet to be issued".
Central government officials say that merging of departments will make it easier for them to coordinate the disbursement of funds for centrally sponsored schemes. They say that there are around 60 departments in Bengal, which is higher than most other states.
The flipside of this would be that many senior ministers may lose their status if the Cabinet is trimmed after the consolidation of departments. .
It has also been decided that excess manpower in some of the departments will be shifted to other departments, which are understaffed. This would mean that the state government can go slow on recruitment, which will help reduce its financial burden.
Many in the state government also believe that a lot of development work involves more than one department so linking them would help in better administration.
Asutosh Rana, a computer engineer who stays at Beleghata said "I feel that consolidation of departments and single window clearance is essential so that we do not need go from one department to another to get work done".