Don’t be robotic, Modi tells civil servants

modiNEW DELHI: Asserting that “political intervention” is necessary in a democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday made it clear to bureaucrats not to see this as a hindrance to good governance.

With a life full of tension one cannot achieve anything, especially when you have to run the nation, he told bureaucrats at a Civil Services Day event.
He also advised bureaucrats “not to live like robots” and to spend quality time with their families.Drawing a distinction between political interference and intervention, he said while the former will “destroy” the system, the latter is “necessary” and “inevitable”.

Addressing civil servants, the PM said the bureaucratic temperament and political interference were often talked about as obstacles in moving the democratic process forward.

“In a democracy, bureaucracy and political intervention go hand in hand. This is the speciality of democracy. If we have to run this country, we do not require political interference.
“But political intervention is necessary and inevitable, otherwise democracy will not work… Political intervention is required in democracy as legislators are elected by the people.
“Political interference destroys (the system),” Modi said. He also suggested there was a need to remove words like “obstacle” and “difficulty” from within the bureaucratic system.“One department is working but it is stopped somewhere. You will ask what has happened? It will say that is the bureaucratic way of functioning. Similarly, if some work is stuck somewhere, we say it is political interference,” Modi said.

Emphasising on accountability and responsibility, Modi told bureaucrats that every problem has a solution, which must be found.

“Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency — this ART is essential for good governance,” he said.Advocating reforms in the bureaucracy, Modi said there was a need to give impetus to reforms and technology as the day was not far when the world will look at m-governance or mobile governance.

Remembering Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the PM said it was natural to recall the contribution of country’s first home minister, who had worked for integration of India.

“Today, the need is socio-economic integration. We think of a model that gives importance to integration, that brings the people closer to each other,” he said.Asking civil servants to value the importance of life, Modi said otherwise it would become uninteresting, just like a page of any file.

“A life full of tension cannot achieve anything, especially when you have to run the nation… You are very good at time management, but do you spend quality time with your family? Please think about this,” he said.Modi asked bureaucrats to imagine whether or not their life had become “robotic”. “If it has happened, then this impacts the whole government and system. We can’t be robotic.

“That can’t be our life,” the PM said in an hour-long interaction with the civil servants.Giving a pep talk to the officers, Modi said none of them should look withered. “It is not that your life should become like a file.

“If a government is there, files will be there, there is no alternative. It (file) is your 2nd ‘ardhang’ (better half).
“If you do not care about life, it will get stuck in files,” the PM said, adding he needed bureaucrats who were full of energy.“I have never been to Mussoorie (location of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, where all-India services officers are trained).

“But is it there that one should be very serious, one should be carrying the world’s burden? … Why are you sitting like that?
“I am not going to ask you to do any new work,” Modi said, taking a dig at taut-looking officers, evoking peals of laughter.“You read a lot. You must have read books written by the best people in the world. You are basically of this nature … and that’s why you are here. He who does ‘union baji’ in college doesn’t come here.

“He who is lost in books come here,” he said, evoking a huge round of applause.“Our work is not only to run departments. We have to be innovative, modernise within the department as well,” he said, adding: “We need to give priority to perfection and capacity building.”

Modi also asked bureaucrats to follow the principle of ‘Sheelam Param Bhushanam’ (character is the highest virtue) — the motto of the Mussoorie-based IAS training institute.

Congratulating the officers who were honoured for their distinguished service in different fields, the PM said there was a lot to learn in order to replicate the good work done by the awardees. – From Asian Age

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