‘$5 trillion economy needs just 2-pager brief, 2-paragraph draft’

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 27: Policies of the governments that change the directions of the country and shape the destiny of the people owe their origins to crisply drafted notes by seasoned minds who have seen several seasons of governments. The power corridor of Delhi has drafting veterans who can recall anecdotes within split seconds, and belt out words that would be keyed to turn into drafts to be presented to ministers. They are the minds and conscience keepers of the ministers and also the government.

R. Narayanan has spent decades in service to the Central government, while being advisor to a great number of political stalwarts when they held the ministerial portfolios. He knows many secrets. He has been a witness to the governance history of India. Narayanan would counsel the ministers when they would be caught in dilemma. He would offer his counsels without inhibitions. In so many decades, he has become an encyclopedia of the rules, laws, norms and precedents of the Indian democracy. One comes out educated and enlightened by the time tea or coffee is done with. Narayanan has always been quick to order tea or coffee. Smile never deserts him.

The veteran aide of many ministers has penned the book ‘Noting and Drafting – Between You and Me’ to make the people or prepare them on writing drafts and notes. There are several ways drafts are written, and that depends on circumstances. The statements are to be made in parliament, and they have to be drafted in manners that they neither divulge too many details nor they are miser with words.

“…a policy push needed to move into a five trillion dollar economy can be traced to a two-pager brief and crisp note and a two-paragraph bold draft addressed to the right institutions,” writes erudite Narayanan in the book. Indeed, he adds “what happens behind the screen in the administration is noting and drafting”.

He’s indeed right, for ministers lose tempers often when they are not assisted with good hands in drafting their thoughts, making them cogent and concise. There are few ministers who can actually dictate a good draft.

The book shares the original drafts, notes, office orders, statement in Parliament, circular and so on. Writing the foreword for the book, C. Viswanath, IAS (Retd), wrote: “Drafting and noting in the government are very crucial for effective and quick decision making. Drafting is a process which involves preparation of collecting and collating the required material and framing the note.”

The G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant richly applauded Narayanan, writing “Mr Narayanan is a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom on government functioning.”

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