NEW DELHI: Miffed at a 12 minute delay in starting the Civil Services Day function here on Thursday, Union home minister and chief guest’ Rajnath Singh used the opportunity to chide bureaucrats on their lack of punctuality and even asked them to introspect whether the delay was due to a “laxity of commitment”.
Singh, being his punctual self, arrived at the venue at 9.40am, five minutes before the event was scheduled to commence. However, it was 9.57am before it could formally begin. While conceding that there may have been reasons, including valid ones, for the said delay , Singh began his speech by suggesting that the civil servants needed “to introspect as to why the situation is such as it is today”. “Has there been a laxity in our commitment?” Singh asked the gathering of senior IAS and IPS officers including the cabinet secretary P K Sinha, additional principal secretary to PM P K Mishra and secretaries of various ministries and departments.
“It would have been good had we not deviated (from the scheduled time). Has there been any laxity in our commitment?” he asked.
Singh cited his own example to remind the bureaucrats of the need for public servants to keep time. “When I was invited for a function during my days as chief minister, it was quite natural that I would reach the venue 10 minutes before the scheduled time. As a (Union) minister also, I have seen that whenever I have to go to attend a function, people reach the venue a few minutes before the scheduled time. But for the first time I have seen… (people getting late),” he said.
Referring to the country’s first home minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had termed the civil services as the `steel frame’ of India, Singh asked whether the `steel frame’ of the civil services has become weak.
Singh went on to guide the civil servants on how to ensure responsibility , accountability and impartiality in their functioning. The most significant advice he gave to the bureaucrats was to stand up against any possible wrongdoings of political masters and show them the rule-book to prevent any violations.
“If a political executive gives wrong orders, do not be scared to show them the rules. Tell the political executive that you are legally wrong. Do not sign the file.Haan mein haan naa milaiye (Do not be a yes-man). Do not betray your conscience,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh asked the civil servants to reorient themselves to `Making of New India’ and adapt themselves to the vision of contemporary leadership.