In an emotionally-charged message to the civil servants, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked the bureaucrats to ensure that every decision is taken keeping national interest in mind and this should be their touchstone for taking a decision. He was addressing civil services officers on the occasion of the eleventh Civil Services Day.
Describing this day as one of "re-dedication," the Prime Minister said that civil servants are well aware of their strengths and capabilities, challenges and responsibilities. The Prime Minister said that the conditions prevailing today are quite different from about two decades ago, and would evolve much further over the next few years.
Prime Minister Modi elaborated further and said: "Earlier, the 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 the 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 also emphasized the importance of competition, which brings qualitative change. He said that the sooner the attitude of the government can change from regulator to enabler, the faster this challenge of competition will become an opportunity.
PM Modi also had a message to the senior bureaucrats, he said: "Senior officers should ensure that experience does not become a burden that stifles innovation of younger officers."
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.
Reminding the strength of the civil servant officers, the Prime Minister said: "Anonymity is one of the greatest strengths of the civil services."
However, he further 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.
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.