Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked bureaucrats not to be afraid of the “political executive” and refrain from signing orders that are illegal. Addressing the inaugural session of an event to mark Civil Services Day, Singh said, “If a political executive gives wrong orders, do not be afraid to show them the rules. Tell the political executive that they are legally wrong. Do not sign the orders. Haan mein haan naa milaiye (Do not become yes men). Do not betray your conscience.”
He also urged civil servants to be impartial and show no hesitation in taking decisions. During the function, which was attended by Cabinet Secretary P K Mishra among other officers from the IAS and all-India services, Singh said, “Civil services has power. But with power comes big responsibility, accompanied by accountability. We should always remember this. Along with responsibility and accountability, impartiality is the third most important aspect of our civil servants. Lack of impartiality may affect your decision-making capabilities,” he said.
Taking a dig at officers who “avoid” taking decisions, the Home Minister said that such hesitation could harm the country’s interests. “If necessary, discuss and deliberate with your seniors but there should be no hesitation in taking decisions. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had said that if civil services was called the ‘steel frame’ of India it would not be an exaggeration.”
Singh also focused on punctuality. “I was a little worried today. The programme was supposed to start at 9.45 (am). We reached five minutes before the scheduled time. But it started at 9.57 (am). I am saying this as I think we all should conduct a serious introspection… I thought it was appropriate to raise the issue before all of you. As a minister, I have seen that whenever I have to attend a function, people reach the venue a few minutes before schedule. But for the first time I have seen… (people getting late),” he said.
Indian polity has never faced a vacuum as civil servants contributed largely in maintaining continuity, Singh said. “This administrative continuity in India has been one of the important reasons for the success of the Indian democracy.” The Narendra Modi government is transforming good governance into smart governance through ‘Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile connectivity’ convergence, he added.