Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged bureaucrats to change their mindset and style of working and "make excellence a habit" as the days of citizens depending on the government for every need were over.
He also stressed on political will for reforms and said - "I do not lack it". "With changing times, a need may arise that we may have to change our working style. From regulator, we need to be an enabling entity," PM Modi said, addressing the country's top officials at a function in Delhi to mark Civil Services Day.
"Earlier, the role of the government, from healthcare to wanting to set up an industry, was very strong. Things have been changing for the past 15 years," he said.
This, he added, was the time for out-of-the-box thinking and confident decisions. "Your word is of great value. Your signatures can change things. Can we change?"
In a strong dig at red tape, the PM said, "During my PRAGATI sessions (the platform where he reviews government work by interacting with offiicials) I have found files and projects stuck for years are cleared in 24 hours. I learn from this. If this can happen then it has to become a lesson for all."
He deplored bureaucratic delays and tangles, questioning, "Why are government departments fighting in courts against each other? Why is there one government, two stands? Is it ego? Let is all think. This is clogging the judicial system and causing delays and waste."
Attacking an old bureaucratic habit of dressing statistics to present achievements, he said, "Does jugglery of statistics achieve anything? The culture needed is outcome-centric vision for governance."
Officials should take decisions that are in national interest, said the Prime Minister, urging his audience to take "collective ownership" to bring change.
"Don't make decisions which are temporary or offer a temporary fix for your particular area...It is important to make ourselves relevant in changing times or else, we will become obsolete."
Since coming to power with a huge mandate in 2014, PM Modi has stressed on an efficient workforce and he started with sweeping changes in his own office.
While making a point, he shared why he had banned mobile phone in his meetings. "These days... I see district officials so busy, so busy, so busy," he said, mimicking furious tapping on a phone keypad.
The PM gave away awards for excellence based on the execution of the government's priority programmes. Winding up his speech, he asked bureaucrats to go back to their roots and focus on outcome not just output.
"Think of the dreams you had when you were on your way to the IAS academy and your parents and dear ones had come to see you off."PM presents awards, PM full text of address on Civil Services Day
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today presented awards and addressed civil servants on the occasion of the eleventh Civil Services Day.
Describing this day as one of “rededication,” the Prime Minister said that civil servants are well aware of their strengths and capabilities, challenges and responsibilities.
He said conditions prevailing today are quite different from about two decades ago, and would evolve much further over the next few years. Elaborating on this, the Prime Minister said that earlier, Government was almost the sole provider of goods and services, which left a lot of scope for ignoring one’s shortcomings. However, now, very often, people perceive that the private sector offers better services than Government.
The Prime Minister said that with alternatives now being available in several areas, the responsibilities of Government officers have increased. He added that this increase is not in terms of scope of work, but in terms of the challenge.
The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of competition, which brings qualitative change. He said that the sooner the attitude of Government can change from regulator to enabler, the faster this challenge of competition will become an opportunity.
The Prime Minister said that 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. He asked civil servants to strive towards such arrangements.
Noting the quantum jump in the applications for Civil Service Day awards, from less than 100 last year to over 500 this year, the Prime Minister said that the focus should now be on improving quality, and making excellence a habit.
The Prime Minister urged senior officers to ensure that experience does not become a burden that stifles innovation of younger officers.
Shri Narendra Modi said that anonymity is one of the greatest strengths of the civil services. He cautioned officers that the use of social media should not lead to a decline in this strength, even as social media and mobile governance are leveraged for connecting people to benefits and government schemes.
Speaking in the context of “reform, perform and transform”, the Prime Minister said that political will is needed for reform, but the “perform” part of this formulation must come from civil servants, while transformation is enabled by people’s participation.
The Prime Minister said that civil servants must ensure that every decision is taken keeping national interest in mind, and this should be their touchstone for taking a decision.
Recalling that the year 2022 would mark 75 years of independence, he urged civil servants to play the role of catalytic agents in fulfilling the dreams of freedom fighters.