From practicising austerity,humility to objectivity,Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave some impromptu lessons to top brass of the Punjab administration on Thursday.
Presiding over a maiden meeting of financial commissioners,principal and administrative secretaries to ensure close liaison with the Centre for getting centrally-sponsored schemes sanctioned for the state on top priority,Badal told babus that despite spending heavily on such visits,he has hardly received any report from an officer on their return.
The chief minister instead advised them to frequently visit the countryside of Punjab to get first-hand information on functioning of their departments. Badal also sought their cooperation in curbing the practice of wasteful and unproductive expenditure for improving the fiscal health of the state.
His other lesson for the day was on objectivity. Asking officers to be objective while assessing performance of the employees,he said the practice of writing ACRs in a routine manner must be done away with. Hard working and sincere employees must be rewarded,but at the same time,those incompetent must be punished. A government employee attaining the age of 55 can be recommended for a three-year extension till superannuation at the age of 58. I am yet to come across such case in my long political career where any employee had been denied this extension, Badal said.
We must change our perception while judging the competence of an employee,which should be solely based on the basis of merit rather than whims and fancies, he said,adding that the practice of continuation of service beyond the age of 55 years should not be a matter of routine.
His third lesson was on humility. While asking the officers to be never shy of meeting officials of lowest rung in the different departments and ministries of the Centre for the development of the state,Badal said that he had never hesitated to meet such officials for the welfare of the state and had been immensely benefitted by this approach for this helped in getting many schemes and plans sanctioned for Punjab. He also reminded the officers that communication gap often leads to alienation,which must be bridged.
Badal also asked the officers to maintain decorum and punctuality and be available in offices from 9 am to 5 pm every Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday to carry out official work and redress grievances of the people. He further asked the officers to shun the practice of operating from camp offices at their residences.
Badal did not stop before taking a dig at officers who lobbied with Opposition Congress for plum posts before the poll verdict was out. Officers should remain loyal to the chair. Change of guards in the governments is a natural phenomena,They are expected to abide by the moral values for performing their duties with utmost devotion,dedication and honesty keeping away from political affiliations, he said.