Address by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President to Participants of the 49th Advanced Professional Programme in Public Administration (APPPA) of IIPA in New Delhi on November 30, 2023.

New Delhi | November 30, 2023

Very good morning to all of you!

Shri Surendra Nath Tripathi, Director General, IIPA,

Shri Sunil Kumar Gupta, Secretary, Vice President of India,

Shri Amitabh Ranjan, Registrar,

Members of the faculty and distinguished participants in this advanced course,

The people before me are not ordinary people. In our country of 1.4 billion, you reach this milestone through a mechanism that is very tough, very competitive. And you are at that level of your career that you've traversed terrain hiccups, difficulties, and seen that the system is rigorous.

When you started your career, we had in the country an ecosystem which unfortunately had embedded in it an element of patronage, an element of corruption. People thought they were above the law. Now we have seen a big change. Our power corridors are thoroughly sanitized of power brokers, liaison agents, and middlemen who leveraged extra-legal decision making. We have an ecosystem that now every young mind has a level playing field. He or she can fully unleash his energy, exploit talent potential, realize ambitions and dreams. That’s a big change that has taken place, and you are the spinal part of it.

I am from Sainik School, Chittorgarh. I have a special inclination towards men in uniform, but after having been the Governor state of West Bengal, my respect for Men in uniform has gone very high. I see them in action. Coast guard, Indian Navy… when we had cyclones, super cyclones that could create havoc, these men came up to the highest level of performance. They exemplified their sense of duty by that sublimity and concern which will amaze anyone. In those three years, we had more than half a dozen cyclones, not a single mortality on the high seas. This was ensured by men in uniform. Calcutta suffered the worst-ever cyclone, and the army could do it within 36 hours, though it was called after seven days.

So I know the kind of sacrifice which is there in your mindset is unrivalled. I'm not trying to belittle those who are not from the services. Everyone has a role to play. But they have something very distinct that they are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. And their families know about it when they work; they have some sense of dedication. Therefore, I say to the Director, we must have programs that turn out to be blooming from a global perspective.

These days the world is facing challenges of a very different nature. We have to be equipped with that. Artificial Intelligence is only one facet. Disruptive technologies, their power has to be unleashed; we have to stay with them. They have made inroads in our houses, in our drawing room, our workplaces. The world is grappling. But for the first time, India is among the leading countries that is focusing on it. Earlier in technology, we used to wait for some country to help in technology advancement, they formalize a mechanism, and we get it. Now we are in research, quantum computing, we are in the frontline in the nation. Green Hydrogen, we are there, our country is one of the very few countries in single digits that are focusing on 6G. Commercialization of 6G will take place from 2025 to 2030.

When you started your career, the condition of the nation was a weak economy, fragile economy, hardly any foreign exchange balance, hardly any opportunity. The world ignored 1/6th of humanity. We did not have a Global Voice. Look at the distance you have traversed already! We are the fifth-largest global economy. We've been left behind the UK and France; in the coming years, by 2030, we will leave behind Japan and Germany. Our digital penetration has impressed global entities like the World Bank. What we have done is a model for the world to emulate. The International Monetary Fund holds out as a beacon of opportunities and investment in India for the entire world. All because of our human resource.

So, your program has to be different. It is not a refresher course. I will appeal to the director to send me a micro script of the program. I know, interaction among yourself and sharing among yourself itself is education, but you must take home after the course is over something which you never thought of because when you take on something, the entire group will benefit. You are not individuals. You are the nerve center and epicenter of big change. Each one of you here is in a representative capacity. Nations grow not on account of what people execute; no one knows better than you people that execution is easy. Taking a decision is difficult; you've faced it in your career. Those in uniforms, in particular, at the darkest of times, your people are ready to execute. But you have to make a decision. Everything has to coalesce. So the decision is right. The time has come to keep abreast of global developments to sustain our reputation to ensure that by the time we go to 2047- the centenary of our independence- we make a global mark as a developed nation. It is not easy what we have done.

People can say anything but just imagine every household having a toilet. Having a toilet in a country of 1.4 billion. Having a tap in every house, Road connectivity…we have 5G connectivity in villages, as sharp as in the metros. Look at the revolutionary change that has taken place in our rail, transport, both passenger and material, our roads, our highways. We can take pride now that the new version of Vikrant was launched by the Prime Minister last year. We have a country that is making. The Prime Minister flew Tejas, helicopters, whether it is sea, whether it is land, whether it is air, whether it is space, India is in the front league of Nations. We have to disseminate information that our ISRO has carved out a niche for itself. Satellites of the USA, UK, Singapore, France, and many other developed nations were put in space by ISRO. Why? Because of value for money and high efficiency. Chandrayaan-3 is not a small achievement, it is a big achievement.

All I mean to say is that this course must have a penetrating incisive input that you gain every day. Something which you've never dreamt of. This is the right platform. 10 months of your time given to the course will be a great service to our nation because those 10 months if calculated in terms of finance, we have someone from the ministry of finance and expenditure who will calculate immediately, it will come to 15 crores. Money doesn’t matter when you generate power from a powerful idea.

Friends, I don't want to burden you with a lecture that you will get from the members of the faculty but as human genius, we are the best in the world. We are unrivalled, even our uneducated people are techno-savvy, and that is why our per capita data consumption of the internet is more than that of the US and China taken together. That is why a farmer can receive direct funds from the central government thrice a year. And it is a huge amount, right now it is more than two lakhs 50 thousand crore rupees which means we in this country are born with a DNA where Eklavya is in us. Someone may skill us and someone may not skill us, we will learn it.

When I was a member of Parliament in 1989 and a minister, I couldn’t have dreamt what happened in this country. Body of IIPA, I appeal to them that they must have a module for district magistrate and district SP. How can this country suffer pelting on Vande Bharat? Those rogue elements must be brought to book, they must be meted out exemplary consequences and that should be the responsibility of the district officials, the district magistrate and SP. How in a country like this where infrastructure is matching the Global benchmark still we don't maintain discipline on the road? We have to generate an ecosystem, start doing it, I quite often quote. Most of us have been abroad. We have never thrown a banana skin out of a running car. We have never done it abroad. Because we believe the other countries believe in good mechanisms. Coming to this country we think it is our first right to throw a banana skin out of a running car. When the Prime Minister declared it from the Red Fort, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan… One of the Scandinavian countries they started converting waste into usefulness. Now that country doesn't have waste, they are importing waste from Europe. So these courses have to be catalyzed in your mind. They have to put you in a different framework.

I am sure no faculty can teach you how to do your job; you know much better. You have been through a rigorous mechanism where you can teach the faculty about what you know, the faculty has to teach you something which is innovative, beyond your normal working but relevant to your working. I conclude only by saying, it is a great opportunity so make the most of it, share your thoughts. Try to learn beyond the faculty also. We have mechanisms these days where we can self-improve every day. If every day you take out 30 minutes to know what is happening globally in a particular field and share it with your colleagues that will have a positive cascading impact. Wish you the very best and wish you New Year in advance. I can tell you one thing: the leadership of IIPA is passionate, committed, transparent, and accountable, so make it a point to give them your thoughts also. He has the capacity and potential to convert it into reality. Your greatest spinal contribution will be that further courses will be tailored based on your inputs.

Thank you so much.