With the change of government at the Centre in May, the Ministry held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi started various measures to increase transparency and simplify governance.

It opened up doors for technocrats and specialists from private sector to take up key posts in government. In its quest to seek out-of-the-box solutions to governance-related matters, the ministry also put up 'idea boxes' inside the power corridors of North Block here.

It was also in continuous focus due to the agitation by a group of students demanding changes in the pattern of civil services examination, conducted by the UPSC to select IAS, IFS and IPS officials among others.

The Personnel Ministry formed rules under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (also known as Lokpal Act) for government employees to declare their assets and liabilities, along with that of their spouse and dependent children. The last date for filing such returns has been extended till April 30, 2015, for the ongoing fiscal.

The Ministry struggled hard to establish Lokpal at the Centre to effectively deal with corruption cases. However, its efforts could not be fructified due to absence of a Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha, who is a member of a committee selecting chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

It has recently pushed for amendment in the Lokpal Act, making provision for inclusion of the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha as a member of the selection committee. The amended Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha, has been referred to a selection committee.

Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP's 282 but fell short by 11 to stake claim for the LoP for which it requires a strength of 55.

The Ministry also notified new Lokpal search committee rules during the year, giving it more freedom to recommend names for chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body outside the list provided by the Department of Personnel and Training under it.
    
The Personnel Ministry, which acts as administrative department for government employees, introduced various measures to help bureaucrats share their experience with outside world and help them get direct feedback from public.      

It is in process of formulating a policy for all senior government officials so that they can regularly visit schools in their neighbourhood to discuss with students on subjects like ethics, nation building, environment protection, development and good governance among others.

The ministry has also started a unique initiative 'swantah sukhaya' (Sanskrit words meaning for one's happiness) allowing all government employees to design and implement projects of their choice to help it in improving citizen-centric services, governance and provide new initiatives of mass welfare.

In order to ensure high efficiency, it asked all government departments to take new initiatives to boost morale of their employees by introducing 'employee of the month' programmes to reward good work done by them.

In a measure that is likely to bring big relief to common men, the ministry has taken a lead in removing the requirement of providing notarised and gazetted-officer signed affidavits in a majority of government works and replacing it with self-attestation.

The Ministry also implemented a decision of not allowing government officials as Private Secretary (PS) and Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to ministers in the new NDA government if they have served in the personal staff of ministers in the last UPA dispensation.

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh was at the centre of a controversy over his remarks on possibility of abolishing Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. He, however, later retracted his statement made soon after assuming the office of the minister.

Singh was prompt in resolving a controversy that erupted in the middle of this year over the pattern of civil services examination. It was later decided not to include English marks asked in the prestigious test for gradation of candidates.

The Ministry also formed new rules to ensure that all government employees including IAS and IPS officers maintain "high ethics" and "political neutrality" while discharging their duty.

It also decided to use an Aadhar enabled bio-metric attendance system in all offices of the central government, including attached and sub-ordinate offices, across the country.

The ministry made provision in rules by giving preference to disabled government employees in their transfer and postings. It also spared government employees who have autistic kids from transfers.

The Ministry of Personnel also asked all central government ministries and departments to upload the reply of RTI applications and first appeals disposed by them on their websites.

The Department of Pensions and Pensioners' Welfare under the ministry also started programmes for retiring government employees like pre-retirement counselling workshops and 'Sankalp'--aimed at providing a platform to the pensioners to work for the society after their superannuation.

As a part of the larger mandate of streamlining and simplifying the sanction of pension and payment process, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension took steps towards minimising delays in sanction and disbursement of pension and making the process more transparent by simplifying various application forms for the purpose.

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