Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today noted with concern that all is not well with the civil services in the country and called for reforms to enable promotion of meritocracy in bureaucracy to meet emerging challenges.
He was addressing trainee officers at the Dr Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resource Development Institute (MCRHRD), Hyderabad on the occasion of Civil Services Day.
Naidu said that while the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was set up by the British to perpetuate the exploitative colonial rule unmindful of the concerns of the people, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was envisaged to work for and with the people in pursuit of the welfare and development agenda of free India.
Tracing India’s developmental journey since Independence, Naidu said there is still work to be done in eliminating poverty, illiteracy, gender and social discrimination, among other issues.
Calling upon the civil servants to strive harder on addressing these issues, he said the Civil Services Day offers an opportunity to introspect and understand the opportunities and challenges for the services.
Naidu highlighted the flawed system of incentives and penalties and performance evaluation in which the performers and shirkers are not properly differentiated.
He stressed that “Continuation of the civil servants should be based on regular assessment of their contribution to formulation and execution of policies and programmes through new ideas, initiatives and practices”.
The Vice President voiced concern over the perceived rising nexus between the political executive and civil servants and its consequences for the people and the country.
He asked the civil servants to be frank and honest and stand for what is right and to speak truth to the political executive. He said that politicians being wise and receptive to good suggestions would not like the risk of being punished for any bad decision and wrongdoing and hence, the officials should present the truth and various scenarios in a convincing manner.
Naidu said: “When you (civil servants) are instructed to present a particular issue in a particular manner that suits the political executive, all you need is to speak for the right and if required, to do so in writing. If you are overruled, the concerned authority would be taken to task.”
He said: “Political and permanent executive should work in tandem and in the right manner. Political executive should definitely change.”
Referring to the recent reports of the state of finances in several States by incurring huge expenditure on ‘freebies’ in the name of welfarism, Naidu stressed on the need to harmonize the welfare concerns and development needs,
Harpreet Singh, Director General, MCRHRD; Benhur Mahesh Dutt Ekka, Additional Director General, MCRHRD; Anita Rajendra, Joint Director General, MCRHRD; officer trainees and other dignitaries were present during the event.