Rajnath Singh pulls up bureaucrats for delay in event, counsels them on punctuality and accountability

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked bureaucrats to stand up against the wrongdoings of political masters, and take decisions in the interest of people and the nation.

FP Politics April 20, 2017 20:11:12 IST
Rajnath Singh pulls up bureaucrats for delay in event, counsels them on punctuality and accountability

It is not usual for Home Minister Rajnath Singh to lose his cool in public.

When it comes to following basic governance norms, top bureaucrats on Thursday, found it the hard way that they can't take liberties with Singh. The occasion was the inaugural ceremony of the two-day 11th Civil Services Day at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital. Singh arrived five minutes ahead of the scheduled time — 9.45 am, however, the top babus were not prepared to begin the programme on time.

Rajnath Singh pulls up bureaucrats for delay in event counsels them on punctuality and accountability

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

On Singh's apparent display of mild irritation, the programme finally began at around 10 am, or 9.57 am, to be precise. The home minister, obviously, didn't take their excuses lightly as it was evident from his opening speech. He didn't mince his words when he said that there were certain red lines for him and his government, one of which was delay in holding programmes.

"I reached the venue at 9.40 am but the event started at 9.57am. Why?," he asked.

The implicit meaning was that if the bureaucrats could make the home minister — designated number two of the country — wait, then one could imagine what would be the fate of ordinary mortals who visit offices of senior officers across the country for a variety of grievance redressal issues or other works.

Ever since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May 2014, it has been stressing on the new work culture in government offices — punctuality, cleanliness and transparency. It has introduced a variety of measures to ensure speedy delivery of goods and services and timely implementation of policies.

It was incidental that the top babus displayed their usual lethargy and high-brow status only a day after the Modi government had done away with red beacons which had become the symbol of the prevalent VIP culture in the country. The VIP culture is also a state of mind which gets reflected in multiple ways, for instance making the home minister wait.

Singh conveyed his sentiments to the bureaucrats:

Singh's counsel was that since the bureaucrats had the good fortune of joining the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), envisaged as the "steel frame" by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and have the associated aura, perks, privileges, it was incumbent on them that they worked to ensure speedy and effective delivery of services.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision is focused on development and good governance. With the help of technology, the civil servants can improve delivery," he said. He also said that the civil servants should endeavour to be part of the solution.

Singh was obviously speaking from his own experiences, gathered over the years while holding a number of positions in the government including minister in UP, chief minister of UP, Union minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and his present term as the home minister in Modi government. However, one is not sure how the bureaucrats would incorporate his guidelines to bring in the new work culture.

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