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Day 10 – Q 4.The existing number of ministries in the central and state governments doesn’t augur well with the philosophy of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. Comment.

4. The existing number of ministries in the central and state governments doesn’t augur well with the philosophy of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. Comment. 

केंद्र और राज्य सरकारों में मंत्रालयों की मौजूदा संख्या न्यूनतम सरकार, अधिकतम सुशासन के दर्शन को अच्छी तरह से परिलक्षित नहीं करती है। टिप्पणी करें।


The Government consists of a number of Ministries/Departments, number and character varying from time to time on factors such as the volume of work, the importance attached to certain items, changes of orientation, political expediency, etc. 


For decades, we have had extraordinarily large governments while ironically the quality of governance has been quite poor. There has been more attention paid to the size of the government and not so much to its quality

As per the Constitution, the total number of Union ministers, including the Prime Minister shall not exceed 15 per cent of the number of members in the LS. (Similar for State Governments)

Reasons for More number of ministries:

  • Dedicated attention required to a particular sector. Ex Ministry of Skill.
  • For better work distribution and increased efficiency of the government.
  • Better accountability of concern ministers with the related subject or sector.
  • Decentralization of work to look into sector specific development.
  • Some vulnerable sections of society need extra and dedicated attention of government. Ex. Women, Child, Minority, Tribes etc.
  • With new advancements new sectors are emerging. Ex.

Other political reasons for doing so:

  • Before and after election coalition promises: Ministries became vehicles of political patronage in coalition politics.
  • Need to accommodate MPs from different regions and states to give sense of inclusivity.
  • Caste and religion representation also play an important role in India, where people don’t cast their vote but vote their caste.

Negatives of more number of ministries:

  • Unnecessary creation of new ministries to accommodate MPs who are incompetent to hold the post, but government needs to do that under obligation of coalition. 
  • Reduced efficiency of administration as decision making process gets delay.
  • Increased red-tape: Multiple approvals required for any project falling under more than one ministry.
  • It also creates more avenues for corruption for ministers.
  • The increased cost of maintenance of ministries and associated office and employees.
  • Hindrance for ease of doing business as clearances from different ministries is required for any new project.

Way forward for Minimum government and maximum Governance:

  1. The merger of ministries: In order to ensure better implementation of policies and coordination, we should merge similar and complementary ministries into one. This will allow policymakers to frame holistic and comprehensive policies on the one hand and ensure smooth implementation on the other. For Example:
    • Currently, three ministries in the energy sector—power, petroleum and natural gas, and renewable energy can be fused into a single ministry. The recent problem of power plants being built without proper coal supplies could have been avoided if the policy had been handled by one minister. 
    • Similarly integrate the aviation, railways, roads, and shipping ministries so that the country gets an integrated transport strategy rather than the current mess. 
    • Can bring pharmaceutical department and Ayush Ministry under the health ministry. 
  2. Several ministries, which are irrelevant now, can safely be shut down while some of their tasks can be handed over to independent regulators. For Example:
    • Ministry of information and broadcasting.
    • Ministry of culture.
    • Ministry of heavy industries.
    • Ministry for at micro, small and medium enterprises.
  3. Set up technocratic missions that have very specific Projects which can be best dealt through commissions. Ex. The mission for cleaning the Ganga, building new cities, setting up high-speed rail links.
  4. Less number of ministries will help state governments save a lot of money which can be utilized for developmental projects and better governance measures.


Creation of umbrella ministries like Jal Shakti and housing and urban affairs ministry by the government is a good step in the right direction. Similarly, coordination among different ministries and reduced red-tapism is the need of the hour for achieving “minimum government and Maximum governance”.

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