Perform, Modi tells civil servants

Pep talk:Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the Civil Services Day function in New Delhi on Friday.Sandeep Saxena

Pep talk:Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the Civil Services Day function in New Delhi on Friday.Sandeep Saxena  

PM assures officials that he will stand by them if they take decisions with honest intention

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said anonymity was one of the greatest strengths of civil services, cautioning government officials that the use of social media should not lead to a decline in this strength, even as social media and mobile governance were leveraged for connecting people to benefits and government schemes.

At the Civil Service Day function, Mr. Modi also assured the civil servants that he would stand by them if they took decisions with an honest intention and in public interest.

Different era

He said the conditions prevailing today were quite different from about two decades ago and would evolve much further over the next few years.

While earlier the government was almost the sole provider of goods and services, which left a lot of scope for ignoring one’s shortcomings, people now very often perceived that the private sector offered better services than the government. The Prime Minister said with alternatives now being available in several areas, responsibilities of government officials had increased in terms of the challenges, not the scope of work.

Emphasising the importance of competition, Mr. Modi said it brought a qualitative change. He said that the sooner the attitude of the government would change from a regulator to an enabler, the faster the challenge of competition would turn into an opportunity.

Describing the day as one of “rededication”, Mr. Modi said the civil servants were well aware of their strengths and capabilities, challenges and responsibilities.

He said while the absence of government in a sphere of activity should be perceptible, its presence in a sphere of activity should not become a burden.

Jump in applicants

Noting that there was a quantum jump in the applications for Civil Service Day awards, from less than 100 in 2016 to over 500 this year, the Prime Minister said that the focus should now be on improving quality, and making excellence a habit.

He also urged senior officials to ensure that experience did not become a burden stifling the innovation of younger officials.

Mr. Modi said while “political will” was needed for reform, which he did not lack and may be had a bit extra, the “performance” part must come from civil servants and that “transformation” was enabled by people’s participation.

He said the civil servants should ensure that every decision was taken keeping national interest in mind, and this should be their touchstone for taking a decision.

Recalling that 2022 would mark 75 years of Independence, he urged the officials to play the role of catalytic agents in fulfilling the dreams of the freedom fighters.

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