We can find examples for the ideal cabinet from developed countries in our own backyard (say Singapore) or globally (the USA). The reality is close to the 31 member cabinet formed in January 2015, because that is the minimum we have seen in practice here in Sri Lanka.
As I argued in articles published in Financial Times and Dinamina, whether we get a cabinet of 30, 48 or more, we should hold the government accountable in terms of a shorter set of 16 key portfolios which I derived empirically using present Cabinets of Singapore and USA and out own past Cabinet of January-August 2015.
The present set of 48 portfolios is really a result of an deconstruction of the 16 into smaller components. We should worry more about the 4000+ government or government-affiliated institutions that will perpetuate themselves under any government.
Stay tuned for more on the set 4000+ state or state affiliated institutions, which is the real prize for ministerial appointees.
The list of 16 that I derived is as follows:
“Agriculture & Fisheries; Communications and Information; Cultural and Religious Affairs; Defense; Development; Education & Employment; Environment; External Affairs; Finance; Health; Home Affairs; Human Services; Infrastructure; Law & Justice; Labor; Trade & Industry.”
Other similar proposals have been made elsewhere.