Cautioning young IAS trainees to guard themselves from being identified with one or the other political dispensation or individual, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said that they are mandated to serve the people first.
Addressing the participants of the 119th Induction Training Programme of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the President said that as public servants, they need to be role models in their personal conduct.
"There is also a perception that, over time, certain officers get identified with one or the other political dispensation or individual. You must guard against this," he said, stressing the the most important challenge before them is to give confidence to the people of India that civil servants are fair, honest, professional and efficient.
"In your professional conduct, honesty and integrity, humility, and sensitivity to the diversity of India and of our society are non-negotiable.
"A question that you need to ask yourself is: Whom do you really work for? The usual answer would be that you work for the people of India," he said.
Kovind also noted that there are people who need the government and who need their support and service more than the others.
"These are our fellow citizens who are economically weak, socially disadvantaged and politically under-empowered. Or those who are treated with a disadvantage only because they are women. It is on these groups that you must focus your energies."
The President also told them that civil servants must have the courage to provide frank advice, independent and free from bias, to the political executive and they must not ignore perceptions about the quality of governance systems and bureaucratic mechanism because they matter even of they "may be more adverse than reality warrants".