The meeting, which was originally scheduled on Tuesday and postponed by a day because of the sudden demise of Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde, was apparently modelled on a practice followed by some chief ministers who directly interact with the bureaucracy.
This is the first time a Prime Minister has interacted directly with secretaries without the presence of ministers.
Modi, who this week asked his ministers to prepare a 100-day agenda for their departments, is believed to have given a glimpse of his policy priorities in today’s meeting.
Sources said the meeting was more of an interaction where sectoral priorities were listed. In all, 77 top bureaucrats, including Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram, Home Secretary Anil Goswami, Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, were called for the meeting.
Sources said 16 groups were formed by clubbing related ministries. All finance ministry departments were grouped together, while secretaries of energy-related departments power, coal, oil, mines and atomic energy were put together.
Agriculture and related departments were clubbed under one head, while the infrastructure group comprised of railways, telecom, roads, civil aviation, shipping and posts.
Previously, the secretaries had been asked to prepare a 10-slide presentation for the Prime Minister listing successes and failures of the past regime as well as points of action for the next five years.
Sources, however, said individual presentations will take place later and today’s meeting was more of an interaction.