Civil Service Day: CM chose to hold the mirror to the bureaucrats

Suhas Kumar

Usually, newspapers do not hold my attention for more than 3 minutes as there is not much to read and learn, feel happy about or ponder over. I just scan through the headlines feeling sad and cheated. But today, I held the newspaper in my hand for whole 6 minutes and 10 seconds.

The reason were two news items – First about the Civil Service Day workshop in Bhopal, presided over by the Chief Minister and the other one was about a young commissioner, who is toiling hard to restore the riparian habitats along the Narmada in Hoshangabad district.

The first news would have been drab but for the speeches delivered by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The Chief Minister held the mirror to the bureaucrats. It was a dressing down that many public servants are worthy of. The arrogance, conceit, coercion, corruption, and tendency to consider others filth and muck all appeared plastered over their faces in that shining mirror that the Chief Minister held in his hand yesterday. There are only a few bureaucrats who consider themselves public servant and remember that the taxpayers give them their salaries to serve. ( Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal 21.4.2017)

In Delhi, Union Home Minister, Shri. Rajnath Singh reminded the babus that they were not punctual for the Civil Service Day Workshop. He then made a pertinent remark about a forgotten tenet of civil service – the code of conduct for all those who hold a public office. He said “ If a political executive gives wrong orders, do not be scared to show them the rules. Tell the political executive that they are legally wrong. Haan mein haan mat milaiye. Don’t betray your conscience.”(TOI 21.4.2017)

What Shri Singh said is a sacrosanct verse from the Bible of civil servants, but it seems a significant number of public servants are godless these days. I hope that what the Hon’ble Ministers have told the civil servants on the Civil Service Day this year will be honoured by both parties- the speakers as well as the listeners. I hope that the servants of the public whether they are politicians or a bureaucrats will mend their ways, drop their egos, arrogance, callousness, indifference and take upon themselves to serve the country, the constitution and the public at large.

Regarding the commissioner of Narmada Nagaram, I can only say here is a public servant who is conscious of his duties and responsibilities. Usually, officials outside the forest service give a damn to the environment and wildlife. The forest service is seen as an impediment to their development agenda. But little do they realize that what they perceive as development is a business that gives you short-term gains. The commissioner of Narmada Nagaram apparently understands this truth, and he is bent upon balancing his act- installing safeguards that would mitigate the adverse impact of lop-sided development that ignores environmental concerns. Hats off to him.

The author is former Principal Chief Conservator Forest, Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and Member Environment and Forests, Narmada Valley Development Authority, Madhya Pradesh.

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