According to the multiple sources in the secretariat starting from officers in the ranks of principal secretaries to section clerks, Palaniswami is much faster with file movements, when compared with the previous chief ministers. Files get signed within a day and sometimes gets the second day.
“The CM’s daily average file movement is around 120 to 150 and he makes sure that there is no piling up,” said a senior government official.
The CM, according to highly placed secretariat sources in the past four years had cleared more than 17,000 files and he spends about 60 to 90 minutes daily to clear the files. The interesting part is that there are very less questioning and doubts related to files. Once when he is thorough with subject files get cleared at a super-fast pace without any delay.
According to secretariat sources the CM spends 60 to 90 minutes to clear the files and the rarely the files reach the CM’s camp office at Greenways road. In 2018, there was a day where Palaniswami cleared around 350 files and since then he had never allowed the files to crop beyond 120 150 mark.
Though Edappadi Palaniswami lacks the stature or legacy of the former chief ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, the officers who had worked with both admit that EPS is easy to access, unlike the previous political leaders due to his low popularity and stature.
“He is accessible and encourages industrialists and investors. Whether it is a small company or big investor the response is same and that is one of the reasons for TN continuing to get attractive investments even during the time of Corona lockdown,” said a senior IAS officer in the industries department. The business captains also enjoy free access without any intermediary systems.
However, there are counter views on Palaniswami’s administrative skills.
“EPS has not shifted any ministers in the past four years. This makes the file movement routine and monotonous and the clearances at the ministry at times are on autopilot mode and thus it gets cleared faster at the CM chamber, an official said.
Political commentator R Mani opines that the administrative skills of CM EPS seems to be better in handling corona pandemic and but he kick started the election campaign too early in December 2020.
This will certainly affect the administrative role of any Chief Minister.
“Starting the election campaign six months before is something new for a CM in TN. Once the campaign starts you are more a politician than a Chief Minister,” Mani opined.