Bureaucrats are an important cog in achieving the goal of inclusive development, the area of thrust for NDA government at the Centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving nothing to ensure that India pursues the path of inclusive growth in a serious manner. In his interaction on Wednesday with a group of over 70 Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries serving in the Government of India was a case in point. This was the first of five such interactions during which officers shared their experiences on subjects such as a digital and smart governance, administrative procedures and accountability, transparency, doubling of farmers’ income, skill development, Swachh Bharat, consumer rights, environment protection, and building of New India by 2022.
The Prime Minister said the combination of development and good governance is essential for the welfare and satisfaction of citizens. According to him, good governance should be a priority for the officers and emphasised the need for all wings of the government to work in harmony, and synchronisation, to achieve the best possible results. He said all officers must keep the poor and the ordinary citizens in their minds while taking decisions, a point which is rarely taken seriously by the officers and the politicians. Even after 70 years of Independence, the poor people do not have access to quality health and education facilities and in their sufferings lies an evergreen opportunity of self-aggrandisement for those who have institutionalised corruption overtly or covertly.
Prime Minister Modi rightly said the world is looking to India with positive expectations. He said that the entire world feels that a successful India is vital for a global balance. He said there is also a strong undercurrent for excellence from the common citizens of India. Youth from humble backgrounds, with very limited resources are achieving best positions in competitive examinations and sports. He asked the officers to work to promote this spontaneous upsurge of talent, recalling the spirit and energy that they themselves would have possessed in the first three years of their service. A miniscule percentage of real talent among subalterns is able to excel in competitive examinations for their inability to study in the country’s top schools, colleges and universities. It is high time to ensure that their presence in the important seats of learning becomes significant so that the dream of New India by 2022 does not go haywire.
The Prime Minister said this was a unique opportunity for officers to deliver their utmost for the benefit of the nation. He emphasised the importance of breaking silos, and efficient internal communication between various departments of the government. He also underlined the necessity of speed and efficiency in decision making. He said that honest decision making with good intention would always be encouraged by the Union Government. He asked the officers to focus attention on the 100 most backward districts of India so that they can be brought up to the national average level, on various development parameters. Needless to say Prime Minister Modi is trying to raise a hope for the subalterns, who account for India’s 80 per cent population. We need to wish him all the best!
(The writer is an independent commentator on socio-economic and political issues. Views are his personal)