Addressing the IAS and other Civil Services trainees at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) here, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances,Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that bureaucrats are the key to good governance and have a vital role to play in achieving the Modi government’s goal of “maximum governance, minimum government”.
He was speaking after inaugurating the Academy’s new block “Aadharshila” .
Dwelling on the history of civil services in India, Dr Jitendra Singh observed that it has been a long journey since the times when the British introduced the Indian Imperial Service or Indian Civil Service (ICS) over a century and a half ago and said, the brief and responsibilities of a civil servant of British India and that of independent India are basically apart from each other. Citing an example, he said, during British Raj, a civil servant was expected to collect revenue for the empire and that is why he was known as “Collector” but in independent India, he is expected to generate revenue for public welfare and that is why he is often referred as “District Development Commissioner”.
Similarly, during British Raj, a Collector was supposed to assert the writ of empire on the masses, whereas in independent India, he is supposed to act as a bridge between people’s aspirations and the decision making political establishment,he added
Over the last 65 years of independence, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the task of a civil servant has become more demanding and the level of expectations has also gone high. At the same time, there is a constant scrutiny from public and media, which may sometimes add to the stress in the working of a civil servant, he said but hastened to add that the Modi government is committed to give a conducive and work-friendly environment for the officers. In this context, he referred to regular Yoga sessions started by Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) from 1st April this year for civil servants across the country. He also referred to Prime Minister’s emphasis on digitalization and e-governance to facilitate easy governance and reduce the potential for delay or corruption.
Referring to the relationship between bureaucracy and political establishment, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it has to be symbiotic and not contradictory, so that the two vital pillars of democracy can supplement each other’s role without acting at cross purposes. Acts of omission or commission begin to take place only when there are dubious intentions or a dubious nexus, he cautioned.
Dr. Jitendra Singh also referred to some of the current issues, including lack of faculty at the Academy and DoPT’s decision to revise the syllabus and pattern of Civil Services exam. He said, all these steps are intended to make the IAS officers better suited to serve the contemporary India’s requirements.
Director LBSNAA Rajeev Kapoor and Senior Deputy Directors Roli Singh, Jaspreet Talwar, M.H. Khan and Ravi Shankar also spoke on the occasion.