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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 30.03.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Indian Institute of Public Administration today (March 30, 2014) at New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that democracy is the soul and the core of our nation-building. No meaningful growth or governance can be achieved without the preservation and nurturing of this basic grid of our polity. All the three structures of governance, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary would need to continue striving to strengthen the democratic foundation. In this effort, the quality of public service plays a crucial role and it can only be delivered by a civil service that recognizes this reality. Their focused goal should be the welfare of the people.

The President said that for inclusive growth and development, the importance of the quality and efficient delivery of public services cannot be exaggerated. The people are demanding better and more efficient administration. They would no longer tolerate non-transparent and unresponsive administration. They expect the benefits of welfare measures to reach them efficiently. The increasing expectation of the people can only be met by improving good governance practices for on it hinges the welfare of the people.

The President said that though the term, Good Governance, appeared more frequently in the development lexicon only about two decades back, its importance was recognized since ancient times. As emphasized by Kautiliya in his "Arthashastra”, "The happiness of the people is the happiness of the king; Their good alone is his, his personal good is not his true good; the only true good being that of his people: Therefore let the King be active in working for the prosperity and welfare of his people”. Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Purna Swaraj or the idea of strong and prosperous India is based on the foundation of Good Governance. The importance of Good Governance is being increasingly accepted and recognized because of its inseparable link to social welfare and public good. This realization is growing as the absence of good governance has been identified as the root cause of many of the societal shortcomings. It adversely affects their security, social and economic rights when ironically the governance structure is established for their welfare and collective good. Good governance permeates virtually all aspects of human life. It is important at the local, national and international levels. It begins with the participation in decision-making and extends to all aspects of their implementation. It encompasses rule of law, participatory decision-making structure, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, equity and inclusiveness. The country’s administration has to run on these principles. This necessitates a reorientation in the outlook of our public administration.

The President stated that adoption of good governance practices across the entire domain of the government machinery is necessary to bring the tangible benefits of development programmes to the people. It demands the efficient working of the democratic institutions. In a country with the size and complexity of ours, a pragmatic requirement and not any utopian thought, is to take administration closer to grassroots through decentralization of power and decision-making. To enable people to be truly involved in formulating and implementing development plans that will shape their future, it is necessary that proper functioning in panchayati raj institutions prevail.

The President stated that if we have to achieve a faster growth trajectory, there has to be equal urgency in decision-making. But that does not imply that decisions have to be taken in haste or without adequate debate and discussion. It only implies that there should be no undue delay in decision-making and delivery of services. He stated that we have to transform our public administration into a dynamic and result oriented entity. Public services are critical for making India globally competitive. In this context, the role of IIPA and other similar institutions attains great significance.

The President said that there is need to develop and impart a broad outlook among public servants. It is satisfactory to note that IIPA has assigned critical importance to social sector issues, behavioural sciences, ethical administration, urban habitat management, environmental and climate studies, gender policy and budgeting, knowledge management, and e-governance in its training curricula. Though IIPA has done commendable work, there is much more that can be done to increase the importance as a catalyst for change in public administration. It should also make ethical governance the central focus in its training calendar.

The President said that India has a date to keep with destiny. The people of our country are the bricks which can erect a great society. There is no room for complacency. He emphasized that each one of us has to make our contribution.

Two commemorative publications of IIPA ‘Indian Governance Report 2012’ and ‘Jawaharlal Nehru and Indian Administration’ were released on the occasion and their first copies presented to the President.

This release issued at 1355 hrs