New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction, the government is focusing on decriminalising bonafide action or omissions which are not fraudulent, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said on Wednesday.
Addressing a gathering of civil servants, he said this move is based on the concept of “trust-based governance”.
“The risk of imprisonment for actions or omissions that aren’t fraudulent or the outcome of malafide intent is a huge problem for citizens, for private sector, creating opportunities for harassment and rent seeking,” Gauba said.
Under the prime minister’s directions, we are now focusing on decriminalisation of such minor offences and violations, he said.
“This work needs to be taken up as a mission by each one of us,” Gauba said after inaugurating the 15th civil services day celebration here.
He said expectations from civil servants are huge and they must equip themselves to meet these expectations.
“We need to constantly learn, innovate and adapt to be able to do justice to these expectations,” the top bureaucrat of the country said.
Besides job specific competencies, we need to be conscious of the larger context of our actions, of the overarching goals, priorities and our role in accomplishing them, he said.
Gauba said the prime minister has now enlarged the scope of this exercise to ease of living.
“We should make it our mission to make life easier for citizens. By reducing the burden of unnecessary compliances, by reducing their dependence on government, we need to rethink, the role of government in the economy and in the lives of people at large,” he said.
Gauba said civil servants “need to introspect”.
“We do need reforms like every other institution. If we want to remain relevant, we must focus on delivery. On improving our capabilities and our skills. And above all, on maintaining the highest traditions of civil service in our work and in our conduct,” he said.
Gauba said the prime minister has been stressing on the need to de-siloize the working of government departments and follow a “whole of government approach”.
“This concept of whole of government approach needs to become mainstream, a regular part of our work,” he said.
Gauba said technology can be a game changer, if it is fully leveraged.
“CoWin Platform is the latest and a shining example which has been globally acknowledged. There are limitless possibilities that can be leveraged as many young officers in the field and in various departments are demonstrating,” he said.
The good thing is that today, the ecosystem of governance is far more conducive to change than ever before and far more supportive of efforts at innovation, he said.
“We all must take full advantage of this and not allow ourselves to be discouraged by the sweeping generalisations made now and then about the civil service, in general or about a particular service. They do grave injustice to scores of civil servants who are working tirelessly and selflessly for the betterment of society,” he said.
The civil services day celebration was presided over by Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh besides senior civil servants from the central and state governments among others.
The government celebrates April 21 every year as civil services day as an occasion for civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens and renew their commitments to public service and excellence in work.
It is to commemorate the day when the first home minister of independent India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, addressed probationary administrative services officers in 1947 at Metcalfe House here. PTI AKV RHL
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