Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading a strong government at the Centre and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ruling in a number of major states today. So, the bureaucrats have a challenging role to ensure that the government does nothing that is in contravention of any law.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Home Minister (HM) Rajnath Singh, is known for being candid in expressing his views on important issues.
The home minister’s suggestion that, “the civil servants should always follow rules while taking decisions and should convince the political executives if any decision seems to them to be in contravention of law,” has come at a time when the country has a strong government led by his party at the Centre, and a number of states also have BJP governments.
There have been instances during the UPA’s tenure which indicated that bureaucrats had to play in the hands of the ministers, which led to irregularities and scams in different ministries, including the telecom and coal.
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The current NDA government, thanks to the stress on the clean image by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the very beginning, has done well by clearing the clouds of corruption.
But, with the government about to complete its third year in office next month, there would be pressure now from all corners to deliver good results in the next two years before going to the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
This is where HM Rajnath Singh’s suggestion—a civil servant should interpret and implement rules and regulations with an open and progressive mindset—will be extremely important for the secretaries and other senior officials in the ministries.
It is a fact that PM Modi’s pro-activeness in involving the secretaries of different ministries in taking final policy decisions is very different from the past, but that also entrusts a big responsibility on them to suggest the right course, also the corrective ones, wherever required.
If Jan-Dhan scheme is critical for financial inclusion, the officials have to also find out ways to plug loopholes, such as exploitation of these accounts to deposit unaccounted income by others.
While catching tax evaders based on the data collected during the demonetisation phase of November 9 and December 30 last year is necessary, it is also a necessity to ensure that this window is not used for harassment.
These are just a few examples, but strong bureaucrats are needed in all areas to avoid high-handedness and mistakes at this juncture more than ever.
Selection of officials for the top jobs has been handled by the government very efficiently and it is their job now to stand up to this task.