‘Political intervention necessary in a democracy’

Modi asks bureaucrats to reform the system from within.

April 21, 2015 07:22 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:08 pm IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI, 21/04/2015: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth during the  Civil Services Day function, in New Delhi on Tuesday.  Photo: V. Sudershan

NEW DELHI, 21/04/2015: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth during the Civil Services Day function, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

Describing political intervention as a necessary element in a democracy for addressing public issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday advised civil servants against viewing it as a hindrance to their functioning.

At the Civil Services Day function, Mr. Modi’s observation about bureaucrats listening to him with all seriousness drew a hearty laugh when he said: “I have never been to Mussoorie [Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration where All-India Service recruits undergo training], but do you remain serious like this there as well? … Why have you all been sitting like this, I am not going to ask you for any new work.”

Stating that a bureaucrat’s life should not remain confined to files, the Prime Minister said though they were good at time management, they needed to spend quality time with their families. “A stressful life … I do not think under these circumstances anyone can do justice to any cause … How would you run such a large country, if you become dull,” he said adding he needed colleagues filled with energy.

Mr. Modi drew a distinction between political interference and intervention, stating that the first one ruined the system but the other was necessary and inevitable in a democracy, for public interest-driven decision-making. “Political intervention and democracy go hand in hand in a democracy,” he said.

Call for reforms

He exhorted bureaucrats to reform the system from within, with a goal to bring in more accountability, responsibility and transparency.

Mr. Modi said civil servants should have a positive outlook and strive towards perfection, converting adversities into opportunities. Recalling Vallabhbhai Patel’s contribution to national integration, he said social and economic integration was among the civil services’ objective.

National unity today meant an end to the digital divide, urban-rural divide, and all forms of socio-economic inequities, he said.

The Prime Minister asked senior bureaucrats to visit educational institutions and spend time motivating the youth of the country to join the civil services.

Referring to a Goldman Sachs report that India would take a decade to reach the Asian average on government effectiveness, Mr. Modi sought to drive home the urgency of carrying out administrative reforms. He urged the bureaucrats to work as a team to take on the challenges ahead, develop a large reservoir of institutional memory bank and at the same time, help raise the next generation of talented civil servants.


The Prime Minister conferred the “Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” for 2012-13 and 2013-14 for outstanding initiatives in public administration.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.