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Kaizen: Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduces Japanese system at PMO to improve work culture

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By Ashok Tandon

Narendra Modi has brought about a transformation in the day-to-day functioning of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the last one year.

He has changed the work culture by introducing the practice of Kaizen, a time-tested Japanese system of ‘continuous improvement’ in quality, technology, processes, work culture, productivity, efficiency and leadership.

Modi has also tried another Japanese practice, that of Quality Management System emphasizing on regular improvement in all departments of the Prime Minister’s establishment. It has cut red-tape and made the office responsive, pro-active and effective.

The Kaizen principles involve every employee in the PMO – from Principal Secretary and all IFS, IAS & IPS officers to the subordinate functionaries. The word Kaizen means ‘continuous improvement’. It comes from the Japanese words ‘kai’ which means ‘change’ or ‘to correct’ and ‘zen’ which means ‘good’.

Everyone in the PMO has been encouraged by the prime minister to come up with suggestions on small and simple improvement. This is not a one-time, monthly or yearly exercise, but something to be practised on a regular basis.

As a response, he has been receiving a large number of suggestions from his team members. These ideas are recorded, shared, and discussed and, if found valuable and practical, are implemented by the PMO.

In most cases, these suggestions may not be ideas for major changes. Modi strongly believes in making little changes on a regular basis to improve productivity, safety, and effectiveness, while reducing wastage in time and expenditure.

The staff at PMO has been urged not to limit their suggestions to any specific area of government functioning. They are motivated to come forward with proposals and ideas for making changes wherever improvements are necessary and possible.

The western world believes in the work philosophy “If it is not broken, don’t fix it.” Modi’s philosophy for good governance is “Do it better and improve it, even if it isn’t broken, because if we don’t, we can’t compete with those who do.”

The prime minister’s ideas on improvement extend even to social activities. He is applying these concepts in his personal life too.

(Ashok Tandon was media advisor to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vaypayee. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at ashokkumar.tandon@gmail.com)

-IANS

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Japanese Economy Officially in Recession Due to the Pandemic

Japan’s gross domestic product shrank by an annual 3.4% in the first three months of 2020

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Recession
A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, May 11, 2020. VOA

Japan’s economy fell into recession for the first time since 2015 as the coronavirus pandemic brought economic activity at home and abroad to a screeching halt.

Figures released Monday by the Cabinet Office show Japan’s gross domestic product shrank by an annual 3.4% in the first three months of 2020, following a contraction in the last quarter of 2019, putting the country in a technical recession with two consecutive quarters of contraction.

The COVID-19 outbreak aggravated an already challenging situation for the world’s third-largest economy, which was dealing with the impact of a sales tax hike and a powerful typhoon. The pandemic led to official quarantines across the globe as governments tried to blunt the spread of the virus.

lockdown led to Recession
The pandemic led to official quarantines and lockdowns across the globe as governments had to take steps for the safety of it’s citizens. Pixabay

Read More: India Extends Lockdown Till May End

Japan has been mildly affected by the coronavirus compared to the rest of the world, with more than 16,000 confirmed infections, including over 700 deaths.  But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe imposed a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures last month out of fear the outbreak would overwhelm Japan’s healthcare system, then briefly expanded it for the entire country.

The government has announced a $990-billion stimulus bill to blunt the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, including $55 billion in direct payments to households and small businesses. (VOA)

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Finance Minister’s Announcements Will Boost MSMEs: PM Modi

Modi praised the announcements made by the Finance Minister in a tweet

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to appreciate the announcements made by the Finance Minister. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to aid the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which have taken a beating during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Modi tweeted, “Today’s announcements by FM @nsitharaman will go a long way in addressing issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs. The steps announced will boost liquidity, empower the entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit.

He also used the hashtag ‘Atma-nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, which is a reference to self-reliant India, something which he vowed to turn the country into during his televised address to the nation on Tuesday night.

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Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit on Wednesday. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking to the media here on Wednesday, Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit. Another criteria, turnover of the company, has also been added to the required norms for classification of MSMEs.

Read More: Bars, Guest Houses Allowed to Open in Lockdown 4, Urges Goa Minister

Sitharaman also announced a collateral-free automatic loan for MSMEs of up to Rs 3 lakh crore, among other liquidity measures.

In a move to provide more scope for Indian companies, including MSMEs, the Centre has decided to disallow global firms from participating in government procurement tenders up to Rs 200 crore.

These were part of a multi-pronged approach of the government to rejuvenate the sector which has been badly hit by the suspension of economic activities in the country in the wake of the nationwide lockdown which is place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. (IANS)

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Warns About Complacency in The Fight Against COVID-19

Modi Warns Indians Against Complacency in Fight Against Coronavirus

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Indian Prime Minister
The researchers did find that public health measures, including school closures, social distancing and restrictions of large gatherings, have been effective. VOA

By Anjana Pasricha

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country about complacency in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in a Sunday radio address and appealed to people to strictly comply with a nationwide lockdown that has been in effect for over a month.

He stressed the need to sustain India’s “people-driven” war against the coronavirus.

The prime minister, a popular leader in country of 1.3 billion people, urged Indians to wear masks, follow social distancing norms and avoid spitting in public places calling these measures “the biggest medicine to fight this disease in the days to come.”

Indian Prime Minister
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country about complacency in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Flickr

The message comes as India takes tiny steps to restart the economy, raising worries that this may cause a spike in coronavirus cases. It is also seen as targeted at areas which remain unaffected by the virus — most of India’s infections are racing through densely packed cities while its vast countryside is largely unaffected.

Modi said people should “not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that in our city, in our village, in our streets, in our office, coronavirus has not reached and that is why it will not reach.”

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Indians have so far adhered zealously to the calls for a stringent lockdown as the dreaded infection spread a wave of fear. Several neighborhoods in cities have imposed their own strict guidelines while volunteer squads in many villages do not allow outsiders to come in.

Whether such strict compliance will continue remains to be seen as the country begins to unlock  on Saturday it allowed shops in rural areas and neighborhood stores in cities to open. Farm based businesses and some factories restarted earlier this week.

Indian Prime Minister
Indian people stand on the lines drawn to maintain safe distance as they wait to receive free food being distributed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chennai, India, April 1, 2020. VOA

However not everyone is rushing to open their shutters and some traders remain wary about doing business while the infection is still raging. “Many shop owners told me they may not open immediately because customers are unlikely to come, so why should we expose ourselves,” according to Praveen Khandelwal, the Secretary- General of the Confederation of All India Traders. “It will take time for them to pick up confidence.”

But as calls grow to open up more sectors of the economy, specially from big business, the government is expected to draw up a strategy on Monday about how it plans to exit the lockdown that is due to end on May 3.

Also Read- UNICEF Warns That COVID-19 Crisis Prevents Shipment of Vaccines for Children

India saw its biggest spike in cases of coronavirus infections on Saturday with nearly 2,000 new cases taking the nation’s total to about 26,500. 824 people have died.

Although those numbers are modest compared to many countries, many fear they may not reflect the accurate spread of the infection because testing has been limited so far and is only now being ramped up in areas that are “hotspots.”  (VOA)