"Nation First" should always inform government decisions, Modi tells bureaucrats
New Delhi, April 21, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told bureaucrats that the idea of "Nation First" should always inform all their decisions and that their duty is to nurture, unleash and support the capability of the society.
Speaking after conferring the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration on Civil Services Day, he said that, for bureaucrats, wherever they are in the system, their prime responsibility was the unity and integrity of the counry and there could not be any compromise in this regard.
"Even local decisions should be measured on this touchstone. Every decision of ours should be evaluated on its capacity to provide strength to the country’s unity and integrity. ‘Nation First’ should always inform our decisions," he said.
Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Personnel, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, and Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, were amongst those who attended the function held at Vigyan Bhavan here.
The Prime Minister suggested that there should be efforts for improving governance and sharing of knowledge. He said all training academies could virtually share the process and experiences of the award winners on a weekly basis.
Secondly, from the award-winning projects, one scheme may be chosen for implementation among few districts and the experience of the same may be discussed in the next year’s Civil Service Day, he said.
He recalled that he has been interacting with Civil Servants for two decades, first, as Chief Minister of Gujarat and later as the Prime Minister. It has been a mutually learning experience, he said.
Modi underlined the significance of this year’s celebration as it is taking place in the year of the 75th Year of Independence (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav).
He asked the administrators to call past district administrators in this special year to the district. This will infuse new energy in the district and will provide a welcome dynamism in perspective of district administration informed by the experience of the past. Similarly, Chief Ministers of States can call former Chief Secretaries, Cabinet Secretaries from the state during the year to commemorate and take benefit from the flag-bearers of administrative machinery that have contributed significantly in the journey of Independent India. This will be an appropriate way of honouring the civil service in this year, he said.
He said Amrit Kaal is not just for celebration or praising the past and the journey from 75 to 100 years just could not be a routine matter.
“India @100 can’t be routine. This 25-year period should be seen as a unit and we should have a vision from now itself. This celebration should be a watershed. Every district should move with this spirit. There should not be any let up in the efforts and this is the time to rededicate ourselves to the pledges and directions that Sardar Patel gave on this day in 1947," he said.
The Prime Minister said that in the country's democratic set-up, there should be commitment to three goals.
"The first goal is that there should be a change in the life of the common people in the country, their life should be easy and they should also be able to feel this ease. Common people should not have to struggle in their dealings with the government, benefits and services should be available to them without hassle.
“Taking the dreams of the common man to a level of resolve is the responsibility of the system. This Sankalp (resolve) should be taken to Siddhi (completion) and that should be the goal for all of us. We should be there to handhold at every stage in this journey of Sapna (dream, to Sankalp to Siddhi,” he added.
"Secondly, given the growing stature and changing profile if India, it is imperative that whatever we do, that should be done in the global context. If we don’t follow the developments at the global level, it will be very difficult to ascertain our priorities and focus area. We need to develop our schemes and governance models keeping this perspective in mind," he said.
Emphasizing that the systems and models of governance should be updated regularly, he pointed out that the challenges of today could not be met with the systems of the last century.
"The great culture of India, our country is not made of royal systems and royal thrones. The tradition that we have for thousands of years has been a tradition of carrying on the strength of the common man. This also informs the county’s spirit of accepting change and modernity while preserving our ancient wisdom," he said.
Modi said that it was the "duty of the government system to nurture, unleash and support the capability of the society".
He gave examples of innovations taking place in the start-up ecosystem and agriculture and asked the administrators to play a nurturing and supportive role.
Underlining the difference between the typist and sitar player, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to live an examined life, a life of dreams and enthusiasm and purpose.
“I want to live every moment so that I can serve and help others to live well,” he said.
Modi exhorted the officers to live beyond the beaten path and think out of the box.
"Reform in governance should be our natural stance. Governance reforms should be experimentative and as per the needs of the time and country," he said.
He referred to reduction of obsolete laws and number of compliances as one of his key priorities.
The Prime Minister said that the system should not change only under pressure but should try to improve pro-actively.
"We should not be governed by the regulations and mentality that emerged in the period of scarcity, we should have an attitude of abundance. Similarly, we should anticipate rather than just react to the challenges," he said.
"During the last eight years, many big things have happened in the country. Many of these campaigns are such that there is behavioral change in its origin," he said.
He urged the officers to adopt the key reforms in their personal lives. In this context, he mentioned cleanliness and payments through UPI in this regard.