NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented exercise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set up eight groups of secretaries to come up with ideas to drive economic growth ahead of the Budget and beyond it.

Each group has to make a presentation later this month to the prime minister on action points along with detailed plans about how these can be implemented, officials said.

Many of these ideas are likely to find their way into the Budget, which is being seen as a make-or-break one by a government under pressure to lift growth to a higher trajectory.

The eight groups are: accelerated growth; good governance; employment generation; farmer-centric initiatives; education and health; innovative budgeting and effective implementation; Swachh Bharat and Ganga rejuvenation with people’s participation; and energy efficiency and conservation. Modi briefed secretaries on December 31 to focus on quick delivery of Centre’s programmes. He will hold intensive half-day meetings with them on January 12, 15, 16.

The meetings are aimed at finalising the Practical Action Plan (PAP) for the eight priority areas. Each group is being assisted by two separate teams of joint secretaries, making for 16 such squads in all. Cabinet secretariat officials are also attending the meetings with the cabinet secretary himself keeping a watch over the entire process.

“The prime minister himself made a two-hour-long PowerPoint presentation, detailing his ideas and what he really wants done,” a senior government official told ET, explaining how the machinery is being cranked up before the Budget. Another official said daily meetings are being held by the smaller groups under the guidance of the secretarylevel groups to brainstorm and come up with implementable ideas. “There is a huge focus on implementation in the entire exercise,” said the second official. Modi’s December 31 presentation had made the point that the PAP should be a concrete solution and “not a generic wish list” so that it’s sharply focused, a top official said.

The groups are working on plans for all eight areas for one year, three years and the long term. The task has been put on high priority, secretaries across ministries said. The groups have been meeting for two hours everyday since January 1 with rehearsals for the presentation to the PM to be held on Saturday and Sunday. Top bureaucrats Hasmukh Adhia, Ashok Lavasa, Jugal Kishore Mahapatra, Anil Swarup, Amitabh Kant and Rajiv Kumar are among those who have been asked to “pilot” the group presentations that will be put together on January 16 as the final plan.

Each group has been given 20 minutes to make its presentation. The prime minister “asked us to focus on execution, and execution alone, as delivery is as important as vision. He has also said, don’t ask me for money. Let’s get things going within the usual resources,” a bureaucrat told ET. A special session will be held on planning for the Budget, which the PM has said needs “to be focussed on agriculture and rural areas” and making it people centric. Modi has also given suggestions to every subgroup.

These include a new crop insurance scheme, leveraging traditional health systems, energy audits of companies and a list of 100 towns that can be made model clean towns by October 2016. Senior bureaucrats said Swachh Bharat and Ganga rejuvenation will need to focus on people’s involvement and initiatives in health and education on universal access.

The PM has also asked for greater embedding of technology in government functions, which include digitisation, Aadhaar, space applications and skill development. The PM has asked for a comprehensive road map for power, coal, road and road infrastructure for the next three years besides plans for agricultural reform in the eastern states.

It should be noted that Modi will announce the Start Up India, Stand Up India action plan on January 16. Officials have been asked to come up with suggestions for the timely release of funds, reform of the direct tax system and areas of “wasteful expenditure”. A group is also looking at suggestions to leverage resources from outside government and how the system could be monitored in real time to prevent parking of funds besides ensuring their timely release.

The group on good governance is working on a mandate of process reengineering, which includes discussion of measures to reduce tribunals, laws and needlessly time-consuming processes. The group on education is looking at using technology to track attendance of teachers in schools and measures that will help Indian colleges feature in the global top 100. “They have also asked for ways we can get state governments of different political parties interested in this. That is the more difficult part,” an official said.