Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Saturday a gathering of probationary civil services officers of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie via a video-conference from the exhibition hall of the Statue of Unity as part of the second edition of Aarambh — training initiated for the probationary officers since last year.
Modi handed out an exercise to the officers, who could not visit Kevadia this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, asking them to prepare a list of items of their personal use and check for foreign brand of products. Urging them to take it as a “personal challenge”, Modi asked the aspiring officers to check if they could substitute foreign brands with Made in India products to push the “Vocal for Local” campaign initiated by the government.
“…I have an assignment for you all. In the next few days, make a list of the things that you use every day and see how many items are Made in India or locally – right from your shoes to your phones and whatever personal use items you own. Make a list of those which are of foreign brands. Check how many of these foreign brands can you do without for your personal use or if you can substitute with local Indian products. You will find that a lot of products you use are made in other countries. You may have never known about their origin or thought about it before you purchased it,” Modi said.
The PM further urged the officers to look around the LBSNAA campus for products that are manufactured in other countries and suggest what could be replaced with Made in India products. “Also check your campus which is named after Lal Bahadur Shastri and is the place which generates officers like you, who will now make decisions for the nation. So, look around the campus and make a list of things that are not made in India. Check if it can be replaced with local items…”
Laying emphasis on the upcoming quarter of the century of India’s independence, Modi told the probationary officers that their decisions for their allotted jurisdictions should be in the larger interest of the nation and not for earning praise. He invoked the words of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and said that Patel, who addressed the first ever batch of the civil services in India in April 1947, had referred to the bureaucracy as a “steel frame”.
Modi said, “Whatever be the frame, it cannot function without sound principles. So write down your own thoughts and goals in your diary and use it when you take up your responsibilities…”
Stating that he has directed elected representatives of the BJP to maintain a low profile in media, Modi said, “Media and social media will distract and lure you. But there is a difference in being in the media for good work and in doing work only to be in the media. You must follow role models who worked anonymously for the country with much discipline. There have been many bureaucrats before you who have left behind a legacy of good work but no one even knows about them…”
Modi urged the officers to promote local arts and culture of districts and areas that will be eventually allotted to them. He said, “Civil servants are identified by what they do differently from routines. Get out of your files and think differently. When you work in district blocks, you will find global potential in local arts and products. You have to support them with all your strength and vision to help them go global.”
Urging the trainees to resist the temptation of choosing the “easy road”, Modi said, “When you come out of this training, there will be two roads. Ek rasta aasan hoga, ek rasta kathin hoga. You will fall in trouble if you choose the easy road. Accidents happen on straight roads. On roads with bends and curves, drivers are alert. I will advise you to connect with people when you go for your field training. Don’t let the ‘babu’ get into your head. Remember the roots, earth and culture you come from. The society will be your strength. This is Jan Shakti.” Modi also urged the trainee officers to develop team spirit so as to ‘include successors’ and pass on incomplete projects to the next generation to carry forward. “You should not be identified by your name plate but by your works,” Modi said.
Adding that the government has “democratised the training for civil servants”, Modi said that the government had begun assigning the roles and responsibilities to bureaucrats based on their aptitudes to help them be “content and work better”.
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