Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that focus of the Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is on capacity building of officers still having 25 years of service. These officers are the ones who have the opportunity to devote the next 25 years with full energy and capability to the making of India at 2047, he said.
Addressing the inaugural session of 16th Civil Services Day at Vigyan Bhawan here, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the officers who are in the age group of 30s should be our main focus for capacity building as they have another 25 years to put in, before India celebrates its 100 years of independence and they are the ones blessed with the privilege to be the architects of India at 2047. Our responsibility today will be to contribute to the capacity building of this group of officers, he said. If we are able to do that effectively, we will be doing justice to India at 2047, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the 16th Civil Services Day events commencing today reflect the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined by him from the ramparts of Red Fort in his Independence Day address when he gave a clarion call as the nation stepped into “Amrit Kaal”.
The theme for the 2-day Civil Services Day 2023 is titled “Viksit Bharat: Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile”. The saturation approach envisaged in implementation of Priority Programs in the Amrit Kaal period can only be achieved when the Nation’s civil service pursues this objective with a seriousness of purpose, steely determination and a deep sense of commitment to the national cause, said the Minister.
Quoting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s address to the very first group of civil servants in 1948 that “Your predecessors were brought up in the traditions in which they … kept themselves aloof from the common run of the people. It will be your bounden duty to treat the common men in India as your own”, the Minister said that much has changed with the passage of time.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that soon after this government came to power, the Prime Minister gave us the mantra ‘Maximum governance, Minimum Government’. In a simple sentence, it means a Government which is a facilitator, not an intimidator. When we talk of a government like this it means increased transparency, increased accountability and most of all increased citizen participation, he added.
The Minister said that Citizen participation has already happened and one of the most striking examples of it is the SVAMITVA scheme. It is a reformative step towards establishment of clear ownership of property in rural inhabited (Abadi) areas, by mapping of land parcels using drone technology and providing ‘Record of Rights’ to village household owners with issuance of legal ownership cards (Property cards/Title deeds) to the property owners. Another hallmark is the grievance redressal. One of the benchmarks of transparency and accountability is the grievance redressal mechanism, said Dr Jitendra Singh. When we introduced CPGRAMS, in 2014 we just had about 2 lakh grievances being filed across the country every year, today we have about 20 lakhs, 10 times more. This is the result of increased trust of people in grievance redressal. We were prompt, worked very hard and we ensured 95-100% disposal every week. Now we have institutionalised a mechanism wherein after the redressal of complaint, one of our officers calls up the complainant to find out the level of satisfaction, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that similarly, Mission Karmayogi is also a pathbreaking reform because if you want to have last mile delivery, you have to be competent for that. So Mission Karmayogi is one of the novel experiments whereby any officer taking up new assignment, would be able to build inherent capacity within themselves for the new assignment. Overnight you can prepare for the next assignment. We have used technology and transparency to bring out the efficiency of the officer. The credit goes entirely to Prime Minister Modi, he said.
The Minister said that the Aspirational district was another experiment of similar nature where the government decided the indices on a scientific basis. We have a dashboard which is updated real time and there is constant competition happening and it’s absolutely objective. Moreover good governance indices up to the district level have already been initiated starting with J&K and Uttar Pradesh, so that they also have the same scientific parameter to access themselves, within themselves and also vis-à-vis others. Additionally, the Assistant Secretaries stint of 3 months have been introduced for the first time before you go to the respective cadre. Thus you have an opportunity to know the priority of central govt and to cultivate mentors. Most of these reforms brought in by Prime Minister Modi is also initiating a new form of political culture, he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh complimented the DARPG team for the successful Swachhata 2.0 campaign. For the first time, the realisation dawned in the society that Swachhata could also fetch you money. The Swachhata Campaign was conducted in 1.01 lac office sites, 89.85 lac square feet of space was freed and Rs. 370.83 crores revenue earned from disposal of office scrap including the electronic scrap.
Moreover, Dr Jitendra Singh said, when covid struck, the work in this Ministry did not get affected even for a single day, rather the output sometimes was even more. In CIC, in one single month of June 2020 when India was facing the height of the pandemic, the disposal of RTI applications was higher than the corresponding month of June 2019 in the non-covid times due to prompt online functioning, he said.
Talking about digital transformation, the Minister said that e-Office version 7.0 has been adopted in all 75 Ministries/ Departments of Central Secretariat by end February 2023. This is a commendable achievement that 89.6 percent of all files are processed as e-files in the Central Secretariat.
Dr Jitendra Singh also mentioned that the Prime Minister Modi is a man of several innovations in governance and the Chintan Shivir laid down a futuristic model of governance representing far-reaching administrative reforms in the Amrit Kaal period. The Chintan Shivir represents an administrative best practice where de-siloization and free exchange of views has been possible. Team building exercises breaking vertical silos conceptualised in Chintan Shivir with an average duration of 48 – 72 hours. The Minister urged each of the Ministries to conduct Chintan Shivir to transform institutional dynamics suited to 21st century governance models.
The Minister said that the Prime Minister Modi would be addressing the nation on Civil Services Day, April 21 2023 and conferring the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration. The Prime Minister has devoted considerable time and energy to personally restructure the scheme to ensure that high meritocracy is rewarded, evaluation processes are robust and participation is inclusive. 15 Awardees from 2520 nominations would be receiving the awards tomorrow. The Minister congratulated all the awardees. He further said that he is pleased to note that the overall efforts and nominations received are commendable, with 97% of districts registering for the PM Awards for Excellence in 2022.
Dr Jitendra Singh concluded by appreciating the efforts of DARPG in ensuring a fair and transparent selection process for the awards. It is essential for civil servants to embrace innovation and technology to improve public service delivery and governance. The rigorous evaluation process involves multiple rounds of scrutiny, including on-site visits to the nominated organisations. After the evaluation process, a shortlist of candidates is sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for final selection, he added.
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The Vice-President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar unveiled an e-book on ‘National Good Governance Webinar Series’ during the event. He also inaugurated an exhibition on ‘Good Governance Practices in India- Awarded Initiatives’. Shri Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Shri Sunil Kumar Gupta, Secretary to the Vice-President of India, Shri V. Srinivas, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and other senior officers of the Government of India were also present in large numbers on the occasion.