Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Dr. P.K. Mishra, Cabinet Secretary Shri P.K. Sinha, former Cabinet Secretaries, distinguished former civil servants, esteemed colleagues, Additional Secretary, DARPG distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my privilege to welcome you all for the 12th Civil Services Day celebrations starting today.
At the outset, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Hon’ble Vice President of India. We thank you Sir, for graciously agreeing to be the Chief Guest for today’s function, as well as inaugurating the Exhibition. I also extend a very warm welcome to the Hon’ble Minister of State. Sir, your constant support and guidance have been invaluable in all our initiatives. I would like to welcome the Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, who has been a great source of strength for organization of Civil Services Day. I welcome the Cabinet Secretary who has all along guided and advised us as we made our preparations.
I welcome all those who are viewing these proceedings and joining us in celebrating this event across all States, UTs and Districts through our webcast and through the telecast on Doordarshan.
The theme for this year’s Civil Services Day is “New India – Shaping the Future”. Our two Plenary Sessions which will be held today and tomorrow, have been planned around this theme.
In the Plenary Session being conducted today immediately after this Inaugural Session, the theme is ‘Evolving Strategies for Transforming Aspirational Districts’. We will discuss the upliftment of these areas from the point of view of improving their major human development indicators. In the Session tomorrow on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Effective Governance”, we will look at how we have to prepare ourselves to meet the challenges and opportunities of new technologies. These two Themes i.e. bringing the Districts lagging behind at par with others and looking at how AI will affect public administration, are both essential components of ‘Shaping the Future’.
Regarding, the details of the Awards to be presented tomorrow by Hon’ble Prime Minister, I would not like to go into the same, as they are in your folders. However, I would like to flag some changes introduced this year.
The first change is in the category of Innovations undertaken in the area of public governance across the Centre, States and Districts. Hon’ble Prime Minister has a vision for ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’. Hence, this time, out of the two awards for Innovation, one is reserved for Innovations in such districts, because they are being seen as change agents for the economy.
The second major change is that 2 awards will be conferred on officers of Government of India – one each for Additional Secretary/ Joint Secretary category and Director/ Deputy Secretary category respectively. The aim is to recognise and appreciate outstanding work in the areas of policy formulation, programme implementation and effective delivery of services.
The third innovation that has been done in the Exhibition outside by keeping a small space for those civil servants who have creative interests in activities like art, music, literature, etc. to exhibit their talent. Finally, we have also introduced the Civil Services Day App ‘CSD 2018’, I urge all of you to download this App so that we can get instant feedback on each of the Sessions on a real time basis.
A short word on the process of selection of the Awards. DARPG has had regular engagements with Districts and implementing units through meetings, video conferences, regional conferences, and webinars in order to motivate applications for the Award since August 2017. This has generated excellent response. We received 3,009 applications from 643 Districts in the country. This is the highest ever both in terms of applications and districts. We also got 53 nominations from AS/ JS and Director/ DS category, from 25 Ministries and Departments. I sincerely thank all officers who have participated in the awards process in such large numbers. I would like to put on record my appreciation for the various levels of scrutiny by different Committees and the continuous support extended by concerned Line Ministries and Departments.
Similar to last year, the best practices in 53 shortlisted initiatives of this year’s Priority Programmes and Innovation categories have been shared with the IAS officers of the 2013 to 2016 batches. The idea was that the learnings from these case studies should be commented upon by these officers. Over 600 young officers have responded and given their feedback and suggestions which have also been shared with all of you.
71 years ago, our first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel addressed the civil services probationers on April 21st 1947 at Metcalf House. In remembrance of this event, the first Civil Services Day function was organised on 21st April 2006. The journey from 2006 to 2018 has been one of constant development and improvement, which will be shown in a short film. It is obvious that the role and expectations from civil servants today are very different. In many ways, the challenges are more complex, and the expectations are sky high. The civil servant now has to be more innovative, more collaborative, forward thinking technologically savvy and bring to the job a very high level of professionalism, passion and probity.
The Civil Services Day provides an opportunity to introspect and take stock of whether we have been able to fulfil these expectations for the benefit of our citizens. Today, in almost every aspect of life, we have more choices, more technology, as well as more personalised quality services. There has also never been, as good a time, as the present, to play our part in improving the public good.
Once again, I would like to thank all of you for being a part of this two day event starting today.