To cut cost, PM Modi cuts size of his personal staff by almost 50%, PMO by at least 15%

The reduction of staff strength has come at the PM’s residence-cum-office at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, and the PMO. Personal staff include peons and clerical employees.

New Delhi: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently told his cabinet colleagues to slash their ministerial expenses by at least 20 per cent, he knew what he was talking about.

For, soon after taking charge as PM for the second consecutive term in May 2019, one of the things he had done was cut down the strength of his personal staff at his residence-cum-office at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, by almost half, people familiar with the matter told ThePrint.  

From a little over 50, the number of his personal staff has now been reduced to 25. Personal staff at the PM’s residence-cum-office include peons and clerical staff.

This is not all.

“Keeping in line with the motto of minimum government, maximum governance, there has been a more than 15 per cent overall reduction in the staff strength at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” a source in the government said.

This, the source added, is significant. “The expectations and aspirations of people have quite increased. There has been stress on improving the productivity of the employees.”

Austerity measures

In November 2019, following a cabinet meeting, the PM impressed upon his council of ministers to economise their expenses. The ministers were told to cut down on their personal staff and other expenses to curtail cost.

“This adheres to the government’s austerity mantra. The PM wants his ministerial colleagues to try to cut unnecessary expenditure wherever possible,” a second source said.

In the meeting, Modi also asked his cabinet colleagues to cut down on foreign trips. In his first term too, PM Modi had cut down on the strength of the delegation that accompanies him on his foreign tours.

Others had followed suit.

For instance, the finance ministry issued directions on 30 October 2014, to every ministry to regulate both domestic and foreign travel expenses. Not only were officers barred from flying first class, but a ban was also put on holding meetings and conferences at five-star hotels.

Exemption for holding meetings at five-star hotels was given only in case of bilateral/multilateral official engagements to be held at the level of minister-in-charge or administrative secretary, with foreign governments or international bodies of which India is a member.