Public Welfare is Ultimate Object of Good Governance: Vice President Ansari
Bhopal — Describing public welfare as the ultimate object of good governance, Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari Thursday said those in public service can do justice to their job and the provisions of the Constitution only by assimilating this spirit, he was speaking as part of RCVP Noronha Memorial Lecture Series at the Academy of Administration and Management in the state capital.
Dr. Ansari’s audience included Governor Rameshwar Thakur and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Stressing the need for consolidation of ethics in administration to check public disenchantment, the Vice President lamented that despite six decades of Independence, we remain a feudal society with deep asymmetries of power, wealth and status and urged his audience to start downplaying these asymmetries in daily behaviour and practice.
He underlined the need to encourage the general direction of the government towards deregulation, decentralization and grassroots empowerment. And reducing discretion, eliminating monopolies, improving competition, enhancing transparency and transactional facilitation that he said, would shrink the public space for breeding of corruption.
Calling for an amplification in the concept of integrity amongst public servants, he described financial integrity as one aspect and said functional integrity and high levels of efficiency were equally important.
Public servants have an obligation to protect and promote our constitutional ideals enshrined in the preamble, to uphold the rule of law, dispense administrative justice and ensure administrative facilitation. Associations of IAS/APS officers in some states have conducted peer reviews on the issue of corruption; this practice could be extended to cover other areas of work, he said.
The Vice President said that as an elite segment of society, public servants have an important role in informing and even formulating public opinion and perception of various issues. Civil servants from Madhya Pradesh have been well known for taking a keen interest in tribal affairs, rural development and social sector issues including education and public health. They should keep it up, he said.
Dr. Ansari said that the district magistrates remain to this day the fulcrum of administration in the country. Today, in addition to their traditional duties of revenue administration and executive magistracy, they handle a number of functions focused on rural and human resource development, economic development and local self government. They have become agents of social and economic change with wide mandates. They can lead by example and even raise the profile and priority of various social themes and economic issues.
The Vice President said that there is need for district magistrates and other public servants in the districts to revert to the age old methods that facilitated interaction with common citizens and strengthened institutional memory. He stressed the need for regular inspections by officers.
Paying his tributes to late RP Noronha, the Vice President said that the norms and ideals set by him are ever relevant. His commitment to uplift the tribals and public welfare is a worth emulating example for all public servants. He was among the distinguished and committed civil servants known for their sensitivity, honesty and rectitude.
Welcoming the Vice President on behalf of the people of Madhya Pradesh, Govedrnor Rameshwar Thakur noted the huge surge in public awareness and aspirations, especially in the fields of education and health. These aspirations have to be met successfully through efficient administration.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said welfare works without development are incomplete. With this in view Madhya Pradesh government is accelerating the pace of development and welfare works while maintaining transparency. He said that administrative officers are an important component for national rebuilding.
He said public servants should be fired with a passion to serve the cause of common people. The officers of All India Services have the powers and opportunities to do so. They should discharge their duties with a missionary zeal and not merely as a paid servant.
Referring to innovative practices like Samadhan Online and One Day Governance and said that all out efforts are underway to ensure maximum benefits of development to the weakest sections of society.
Director General of the Academy Dr. Sundeep Khanna delivered the welcome address and Managing Trustee of Noronha Foundation Ashok Noronha proposed a vote of thanks.
Chief Secretary, Avani Vaish, officer trainees of All India Services, retired and serving administrative and police officers were also present on the occasion.