Address by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President to the Officer Trainees of the Indian Defence Estates Service in New Delhi on July 8, 2024.

New Delhi | July 8, 2024

Good evening, all of you!

Numbers don't matter, spirit matters, from my perspective and yours as well!

It's a great day, I will ever remember it. I always get inspired, motivated, surcharged, energised, when I come across young professionals like you because it is on your shoulders as most vital stakeholders to see that vision of Bharat fructifies as viksit bharat in 2047.

Shri. Giridhar Aramane, Defence Secretary!

Going to the background you will find a man, his hands are full. He has to attend to so many aspects related to his functioning. His presence here means a lot. A bureaucrat with commitment and has navigated the ministry to the greater Heights. Things have been systematized, change has been brought out and it is perceptible. Look at Vikrant, we have it, look at frigates, look at Tejas, look at helicopters, look at what happens in the sky, look at what the prime minister announced in 2019 space to space. He is a critical fulcrum to bring about this big change and therefore it's time and the kind of commitment he has shown you must always remember.

Shri G S Rajeshwaran, Director General, Defence Estates

Shri Rajendra Pawar, director NIDEM

It gives me immense pleasure to address this occasion and this is a momentous occasion in your career for you, your family and friends to be part of the service in a country that is home to 1/6th of humanity. It is not easy to be part of the present growth story of Bharat. You are fortunate. During my time it was absolutely unbearable. what we saw and what we felt was very different then what you are feeling today. As a matter of fact you have an ecosystem that allows you to fully exploit your talent, realise your ambitions and your one ambition has fructify.

Now onwards you are a vital aspect of governance with potential to be harbingers of change and a change that is well scripted and firmed up on recent foundational phenomenal accomplishments making our Bharat one of the fastest growing large global economies.

You will be surprised when I was elected to parliament in 1989 I was a Union Minister. The size of the Indian economy was smaller than the size of the economies of Paris and London. Look at where we have come. We are already the 5th largest economy and on the way to become the third largest global economy in the next 2 to 3 years.

Your presence here, as a culmination of hard work and academic excellence, is a testament to your commitment to the noble ideals of public service.

I find from your profile that you could have gone to other areas. You could have fallen prey to money but what you get in this service is satisfaction and happiness to be part of governance that is making life better for 1.4 billion people. That satisfaction you have everyday and this because you are destined.

I'm sure you will avail the opportunity to serve the nation with dedication and commitment.

Resolve, you will never take shortcuts, Resolve you will never be tempted to make in transgression of laws. You have to exemplify your conduct by highest ethical standards. As a matter of fact to the people at large you are a symbol of change that can bring about change. People will look into you and tell their children to be like them.

We have moved into times when variations are taking place and every service of the union is now of standalone importance. It is a big change that has taken place. Your contribution is as significant as any other service. I have no doubt you will vindicate it.

All through you need to exemplify discipline, decorum and worth emulating commitment to nationalism.

Friends, you are more than part of the service. Don't take it that you are a member of IDES. You have to represent a profound commitment. When you got selected there was great relief for your parents, for your relatives, and for others. just imagine one person in the family getting into the service and value of family changes socially. It does not happen when you get a fat package in corporate. that is the distinction

The landscape of defense and governance is rapidly changing. Technological advancements, geopolitical shifts, and complex administrative functions require us to continuously adapt fast changing and evolving technologies and innovate.

There was a reflection on how Technology can be used. Disruptive Technology has come to stay here. They offer challenges, they offer opportunities. In your field you will have to use them. Artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning, blockchain all these things you will have to grapple with. To me not long ago these were just words but when I got a presentation from the secretary of the department it was an eye opener for me. as impressionable Minds in technology you keep on learning. Your learning will never stop. The moment you stop learning, your commitment to public service will slide and downwards so update yourself at global benchmark

Defense lands are crucial to our national security. These support various establishments, training facilities, and strategic installations. Your innovative spirit, foresight, and contributions will have a lasting impact. You have to be innovative, you have to be different. You have to ensure not only the physical boundaries are safe, you have to nurture. You have to take care of environmental issues. I am happy to note that in the last few years there has been a paradigm shift in handling this matter. But the world is changing at every moment you can contribute. You have land which grows trees but you can be little more. I had the occasion to go to one of the institutes and talk about herbal plants, herbal Gardens. I indicated to them that every village must have that maybe time taking but not with your establishment in a structured manner. If you make it a point it will impact the society at large. I am sure you will take note of it.

Managing defense estates is turning out to be a growing challenge. It is getting beyond physical maintenance. You're required to update yourself with the latest land record techniques of a global nature. These technological helps you to immediately detect the changes that have taken place over a period of time. they constitute a great evidence value. you have to use it. you have to be extremely careful about.

It is not a matter of maintenance, it is much beyond physical maintenance. Unauthorised encroachments and unauthorized constructions is undeniably concerning and calls for swift systemic resolution but timely effective action would always generate deterrence. This aspect calls for due attention of all concerned. These efforts safeguard the sanctity of our defense installations and uphold the rule of law.

If there is a challenge by way of encroachment that challenge in civil society is painful but when it comes to Defence establishment, defense States it's very alarming. One cannot be more serious than an encroachment, unauthorised construction in a Defence Estate

Litigation handling should also be structured. We have a system that is changing but it is too slow so far. In a sense it is rewarding for the encroacher, it is rewarding for the one who has engaged in unauthorised construction and I would therefore appeal that those of you who get the opportunity to deal the litigation side of it please do your homework and get thoroughly into it and I am sure there will be great benefit to the institution you are serving.

Your advisory role to the Defence Ministry on matters concerning Cantonments and defense land is invaluable. Your insights and recommendations shape policies that enhance the operational effectiveness and sustainability of our defense infrastructure.

Let me tell you a plan development has no substitute. At home development is very painful. Let me give your small illustration: in 1989 I was elected to Parliament. We had the main Parliament building which is now sanvidhan Sadan and we went for an extension annexe, then we added another extension then we added a library. Fortunately now with a new building of Parliament coming up things are taking shape. So you have to be very thoughtful, you have to take a view from like a satellite view. If you have a role to play make sure it fits in the plan.

Cantonments are unique administrative units that house our defense personnel, their families, and a significant civilian population.

your roll is very critical. There will be pressure, there may be pulls but you have to be firm. your firmness has to be firmed up by legal premise. Always ensure that in cantonment your efficiency must be reflected. they should be in a position to quote what happens in cantonment should happen in other areas

In any Municipal area cantonment management is far ahead. they quote it but you have to be on incremental trajectory

While ensuring secure and well-managed estates is critical, your vision can extend beyond the traditional scope.

We are kind of having the fourth revolution in the shape of destructive Technology. Now you can be innovative. you can know the development from your office. you can inspire the people working under you. even if they are all the category that they are not technically literate because it is our country where adaptability is Swift and that is why in digitisation our country is a model to be emulated as per the World bank. So in spite of others if you hand hold your subordinates, counsel them they will also get technologically literate.

I would strongly suggest that special attention be paid to Horticulture and that has not to be ADHOC. You don't have to manage in conventional way. You don't have to manage in physical way. You have to manage in scientific way. You have to employ technology at every moment. if you are managing a street or part of the management. The mobile in your hand is good enough to let you know what is happening where at any point of time. you must learn it.

Most of you are drawn from engineering section but those who are not drawn are in much better place because you will have the urge to learn more. they have already learnt so no one is a loser here.

Friends, India is a country like no other. Look around which country can boost of civilizational depth of 5000 years, no other country and look at our Civilization ethos, look at our concept full of sublimity. Taking note of entire humanity Vasudev Kutumbakam, the Defence Secretary knows the kind of success we have in G20. every part of the country had the occasion to host G20 functions and the one and delhi Bharat Mandapam or the new building of the Parliament you just go there you will be exposed to 5000 years of Civilizational depth.

In your Defence Estate you will have historical aspect. Wherever you go you will find a heritage relativity to Defense establishments that has to be measured because Heritage is a source of pride and needs to be effectively communicated to the world

When we were of your age there was no electricity in the village, no road, no toilet, no gas, no connection, no bank account. We did not know what is meant by mobile telephone. Then we slowly saw that to phone in house was a status symbol and slowly we came there was no television. Then we had television for 1 hour and neighbours used to come. Where have we gone look at now.

A great change your noticed when no marriage in rural India was complete without a VCR or VCD. Do we see it now? it has been vanished

In late 90 is a great revolution came that you have telephone booth. Big revolution! Line used to be there at midnight. People will call their relatives abroad. It has been vanished because technology is the greatest leveller. My firm belief is that education is the only conveyance that brings about equality and contains inequity. Next to education Technology. It is a part of education as a matter of fact. it brings about change. Over the night it can create a landscape unimaginable.

Friends you stand at a time when India is in Transformtive mode. The growth trajectory is continually incremental. There is a marathon March for viksit Bharat at 2047 by virtue of your position, age you are part of this Marathon March. You are significant part of this Marathon March your stake holding in governance is far more critical than our stakeholding. We can help you now but you have to be the drivers you have to be the main propelling force to see India becomes a viksit nation in 2047.

Governance of our country for last 10 years has been amazing. What my generation never dreamt what my generation ever thought of, what I never dreamt I am fortunate to see it as a ground reality. When I was a number of Parliament 34 years ago every member of parliament was given 50 gas connections and to him it was a great opportunities to get 50 gas connection. Look at now how many crores gas connection have been given to the needy. I don't want to take you to the development landscape but could we imagine in a country like ours every household will have a toilet.

The Defence Secretary is a part of the mechanism that has brought about a big change in the country. On civil services day I spoke to the nation in Vigyan Bhavan that we have enormously talented Bureaucracy in the country which is unrivalled. it can achieve anything at nuclear speed provided it does not carry a deadweight of flawed policy's delayed decisions that change is now coming. when a nation is in a long journey there will be air pockets, those air pockets will be in economy we came out of it, there will be air pockets in political journey but these don't generate deterrence. That directional approach is correct and I can assure you the next coming years governance in the country will define our position globally. The entire award is looking at Bharat as a Shining Star. We have an ecosystem of hope and possibility. The world acclaim us as favorite destination of investment and opportunity and in that ecosystem your role is very significant. you have to protect just not it's physical boundaries but from security angle also. I have no doubt that all of you will rise to the occasion.

Your pivotal role in managing defense estates and optimizing resource utilization is crucial to our national progress.

Your dedicated efforts ensure that our defense forces have the essential infrastructure to safeguard our nation and its interests.

Together, let us continue to build a stronger, more prosperous India in line with the vision of "Viksit Bharat@2047".

Let us harness the immense potential of our people and resources to shape a future that not only exceeds the dreams of my generation but also sets new benchmarks for future generations.

I wish all of you success in your careers. I appeal to you: whatever challenges you may face, always prioritize our Nation First. This isn't a choice; it's the only path forward toward realizing our aspirations of "Viksit Bharat@2047".

It is not optional! your commitment to Nation should take precedence over everything else and you are attached to a mechanism which is relatable to the security of the nation and the best way of Defence is to be ever prepared for War, the best way of Defence is to have your establishments in a dry powder situation that you will be doing in your life.

Thank you. Jai Hind!