I am delighted to be here today at the Dr. Marri Channa Reddy Human Resources Development Institute (MCRHRDI) of Telangana and interact with the officers of the All India Services, Central Civil Services and Military Engineer Services, who are attending the Foundation Courses.
It is essential for officials at all levels to constantly upgrade their knowledge relating to various domains and hone their administrative skills. I am sure that these types of Foundation Courses will enable the participants to acquire newer insights and equip them with necessary skills to work efficiently in their respective administrative areas.
I am happy to note that about 15,000 officers are receiving training at this institute every year. As you all are aware, India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and the unifier of the nation, Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had conceived of the unique All India Services, which has been serving the nation wonderfully ever since its inception.
While the country has made impressive strides on social, economic, health and other indicators since Independence, the need of the hour for every stakeholder is to not only contribute his or her mite to accelerate growth, but must ensure it to be inclusive and sustainable. And officers like you are the important change agents who can bring about a rapid transformation in the country’s growth narrative.
Despite the global slowdown, India continues to be one of the bright spots and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. By continuing growth-oriented reforms, India has the potential to become the third largest economy in the coming years. And good governance is one of the key elements for India to achieve the desired growth trajectory.
The world has become a global village today. At the click of the mouse, you can learn not only about the best practices but also the latest practices relevant to improving administrative efficiency and improving service delivery. However, while seeking to adopt the best global practice you must also ensure that it is suitable to the local situation or local needs. If not, it should be modified as one cannot blindly replicate what is not relevant to the local context.
My advice to all of you is not to perform your task or whatever duty is assigned to you in a mechanical and routine fashion, but develop a passion to give your best. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had given a three-word mantra—Reform, Perform and Transform—that is to transform the nation.
To bring about the desired transformation, the need of the hour is for everyone to render his duty selflessly by adopting a reformatory zeal. I think it would be relevant here to remember the famous talisman suggested by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He had said:
"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melt away."
I have made a mention of Gandhi Ji’s talisman just to underscore the need for all administrators to be more empathetic and humane during their interactions with the people.
The ultimate aim of every government policy or scheme is to improve the living standards of the common man. You, the bureaucrats are the facilitators and implementers of the decisions taken by the government. You act as the bridge between the government and the people of this country.
It was the vision and foresight of Shri Sardar Patel that led to creation of the All India Services. He wanted the Civil Services to serve the people zealously with impeccable integrity, honesty and dedication. The officers of government are the most valuable and trusted partners in developing all regions. A Civil Servant, like all of us Indians, owes allegiance to the Constitution and consequently has a fundamental duty to strive hard to create a just society with equal opportunity for all citizens.
May be the time has come for all us to do a serious introspection as to what extent have we collectively realized the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and other national icons.
Even 72 years after independence, the country is facing challenges like poverty, illiteracy, corruption and lack of basic amenities in many rural areas, apart from social evils like gender and caste discrimination.
Civil servants like you have a major role in addressing these challenges and fast-tracking the progress of the nation. You have to be in the forefront in eliminating corruption.
All of you must spare a thought for the less fortunate and reflect on what needs to be done as the representative of the government in your own domain.
As stated earlier, there are pressing problems such as the rising gap between Urban and Rural areas which concern all of us. Poverty, illiteracy and social evils are yet to be rooted out from society.
There has to be a collective action from all of us as a society to address them.
As an officer, you must always ensure that all are given equal access to resources regardless of their social status—be it healthcare or education. It is an essential step in reducing or bridging the divide between the urban and rural areas.
As you all are aware, Administrative Human Resources is critical to public administration in India.
Understanding the nature, functioning and role of the three tiers of governance – Central, State, and Panchayati Raj is extremely important. I am happy that professional training such as this will enable you to understand the basic and fundamentals aspects of the governance of the three stages in general and your role in specific.
In a federal polity like ours, there is a clear distinction of duties to be performed by the Centre and States. However, it is the collective responsibility of the States and the Centre to ensure that the fruits of development reach the most deserving people. In achieving this goal, all the States and the Centre must act in the spirit of ‘Team India’.
As you all are aware, the Central Secretariat Service serves as the executive branch of the Government of India. The service serves as the backbone of administrative work and provides permanent bureaucracy and functionary staff in the Union Government ministries, Cabinet Secretariat, Central Secretariat and other offices of Government of India.
I was informed that based on the CSS service model, State governments such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh have their own independent services like the Bihar Secretariat Service and Provincial Secretariat Service of UP and recruit officials for government services.
I was informed that the officers of the Military Engineering Services are also here for their 2nd Foundation course. MES officers have been playing a crucial role in enabling the Indian Armed Forces, Indian Ordnance Factories, DRDO and the Indian Coast Guard in achieving their cherished goals.
Besides conventional building construction for the Armed Forces, Military Engineering Services is also involved in the execution of sophisticated and complex projects like airfields, buildings, roads, sports complex, runways, hangars, dockyards, wharves, and other marine structures.
I was told that MES is a military organization but has both the Army and the civilian component of officers and other subordinate staff.
Trained officers like you have a great opportunity to contribute significantly towards disaster mitigation, relief operations, public infrastructure development and nation-building at large.
Finally, I call upon all of you to always maintain a high level of integrity, commitment, transparency, accountability and constantly strive to achieve the goals of inclusive national development. Please remember that ensuring transparency in all government activities and achieving inclusivity in all aspects of governance are crucial steps towards becoming an effective, responsive civil servant.
I compliment Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resource Development Institute for conducting the Foundation Courses for officers of various services in this beautiful and green campus.