PM Addresses The IAS Probationers
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, addressed the IAS Probationers in New Delhi. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address:
“I am very happy to have this opportunity to interact with you. In the very beginning, I should like to extend a very warm welcome to the young officers from the Royal Bhutan Government. India and Bhutan have very special intimate relationship and I sincerely hope that the officers from the Royal Government of Bhutan will take full advantage of opportunities of acquiring latest skills in public administration during their stay in our country.
I begin by once again, I do it every year, to tell you how important a contribution each one of you can make to our nation’s progress. We are a mixed economy. Private sector co-exists with the public sector. And for the management of this mixed economy we need a strong, purposeful visionary Government. We cannot wish away the role of the Government in public life of our country and therefore what type of development we will have would very much depend upon the quality of public administration in our country. You have the unique opportunity to make India strong, prosperous and a country which will be lauded all over the world in terms of its achievements, in terms of its commitment to the eradication of poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflicts millions and millions of our people.
Our primary task is to get rid of this mass poverty and we have made considerable progress since independence but much more needs to be done. And in making this happen, the role of public administration is of critical importance. First and foremost any civilized country requires a public administration which is able to enforce law and order and provide a feeling among people that we have a just and caring administration. There can be no development without the maintenance of law and order and the maintenance of law and order in a country as vast as ours, as complex as ours would require special skills and I sincerely hope that when you join the IAS, please do not think that now that you have entered the IAS, you don’t have to gather more skills. I often say to the probationers before and I repeat it again that we are living in a world where human knowledge is increasing at a pace which was unthinkable even two decades ago. And if India is to realize its full development potential, it is really essential that our officers operate on the frontiers of knowledge. Life has to be viewed as one long continuous process of learning and re-learning. So therefore your attitude to acquisition of new knowledge is critical determinant of where India will be in 20-30 years from now.
Technical, professional skills are very important. I am sure the academy and other parts of your training will take care of those needs. But there is one thing I wish to emphasise that please do not neglect that you belong to an All India Service. We allocate IAS officers among various States because India is a quasi federal country. A large country like ours cannot be governed only by the Central Government. It requires cooperation between the Centre and the States to move this country forward. And therefore it is very important that in a public policy matters, what are the ground realities, should be the guiding factor in decision making processes. The fact that you serve in the States, come back to the Centre, go back to your State is a great advantage that this IAS service has in our country in meeting the challenges of management of very rapid changes which are taking place in our economy, in our policy and in the rest of the world.
States, India lives in States and States have to prosper. Therefore, Public Administration in States must be purposeful, must be dynamic but please do not forget that our Constitution has made India one large common market. You may work in a particular State, you may belong to a particular State, but never lose sight of the all India perspective that what you do and what you do not do has implication of the development over a billion people that live in our country and you have to play the leading role in strengthening the unity and integrity of our country, in ensuring that all classes and all groups of our people live in peace and amity. Therefore for this reason it is very essential to pay particular attention to the needs of the under privileged sections of our society. It was the dream of the Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi to wipe the tears from the eyes of each and every suffering Indian. That ambition may be too much to ask for but our task will never be complete unless we get rid of mass poverty.
So your knowledge skills are very important, make continuous adjustments in your thinking in the light of latest development in human knowledge, but it is equally important that there should be emphasis on character, on probity in public life. We cannot allow corruption in public services. And if we really look upon ourselves as the servers of the people of India, we must never forget that India is still a country where millions and millions of people go hungry, they are under fed, many of our children are under nourished. And when in public life politicians or public servants depart from the code of conduct which lays emphasis on maximum possible integrity in personal action and behaviour, then you are hurting those very people who are part of the suffering humanity of our country. I therefore urge each one of you to use your time to acquire the best possible skills for public administration, at the same time best possible skills to deal with law and order, to ensure that Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, our women are not feeling insecure, atrocities against the SCs/STs are a matter of national shame. Your duty must be to provide protection, succor to the most backward parts of the community and I would urge those of you who come from the State where tribals are a very large part of population, have a special responsibility to ensure that these tribal communities do succeed in joining the national mainstream, that they do succeed in becoming partners in national development and therefore I would urge each one of you to study very carefully the dynamics of social and economic change, the factors that are moving us forward, the factors if which neglected can push the pace of development and therefore do as best as you can while you are at the Academy, in acquisition of knowledge.
I would also suggest that in recent years, we have laid more and more emphasis on the third tier of development, the Panchayati Raj Institutions. I said that India is too large a country to be administered from the Centre or even from the State capital. We must decentralize power, we must decentralize decision making processes, we must decentralize the various development programmes so that the people at the ground level get involved in what is going to shape the future of them and their children. And therefore I would urge each one of you to pay special attention to how we can make the panchayati raj in our country a success, we have good examples, we have cases where panchayati raj institutions have not been functioning well, where panchayati raj institutions have not been able to make the type of impact that they should and I hope that I think there will be important case studies which will bring out what it takes to make for an efficient, equitable system of development administration through the panchayati raj. These are some of the thoughts that I thought I would mention to you.
I would also urge you that today our country is faced with many challenges and the challenges of Naxalite activity, the challenges of terror, the challenge of what I should describe as communal tensions, it is our duty to ensure that we should do our very best, to learn what are the factors which lead people to go astray from the mainstream thinking, what is it that we can do to bring back the misguided elements in our society. The law and order has to be administered and administered effectively. But we must also recognize that when we deal with problem areas in particular, when we deal with Scheduled Caste people in particular, that there are root causes of social and economic discontent and it is our duty while administering law and order, pay particular attention to promote the well being of the disadvantaged sections of the community. I have mentioned maintenance of communal harmony is absolutely necessary. Without that, India can break apart. And therefore communal harmony is a must, given a ray of hope and also a sense of purpose to the young people from tribal communities, from scheduled castes community is equally important and as administrators of various districts, various parts of our country, I would urge you to pay special attention to the needs of SCs, STs, minorities and women.
I should also say that changes are taking place in patterns of living all around India. In 20 years time, probably 50% of India would be living in urban areas. The management of urban chain, the management of infrastructure, the role of local level administration in meeting the needs of urban development, the needs of law and order, special problems that arise when large conglomerations in metropolitan towns become a fact of life. The policing of these areas requires special skills. And therefore our administration must be very alert to the challenges of rapid urban development, of course that does not mean that we should neglect rural areas. India still lives in rural areas. 52% of our urban population is still dependent on agriculture and it is there that Government has a major role to play in ensuring that development of agriculture takes place at a pace that our nation needs to provide food security, to provide employment security.
With these words, I once again express my joy in meeting you and wish you all the very best in tackling the challenges that lie ahead of you. You are fortunate that you are going to be the path builders of new India. Public administration in our country is a privileged service in the service of the people of India and this I sincerely hope and pray that you will come up to the expectations of our people. God bless you.”
Courtesy: Press Information Bureau