New Delhi: Dubbing civil servants as the "steel frame" of India, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked them not to follow "wrong orders" of a political executive or become "Yes masters", but take decisions in the interest of the nation.
"Civil services have power. Decisions should be taken on the basis of national interest and in the interest of the people. If a political executive gives wrong orders, do not be scared to show them rules. Tell him that you are legally wrong and do not sign the file," the Minister said, addressing the inaugural session of 11th Civil Services Day function here.
Rajnath Singh advised bureaucrats not to become "Yes masters" and betray their conscience.
"Haan mein haan naa milaiye (Do not become yes masters). Do not betray your conscience," he said at the function attended by officers belonging All India Services.
He also lightly hit out at officers who "avoid" taking decisions, saying such hesitations may harm the country's interests.
"If necessary, discuss and deliberate with your seniors but there should be no hesitation in taking decisions," he said.
The Home Minister lauded the role of bureaucrats dubbing them the "steel frame of India" and advised them to follow the guiding principles for civil servants as enunciated by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on April 21, 1948.
"Sardar Patel said that if civil services was called the steel frame of India, it would not be an exaggeration. Guiding principles for civil servants as enunciated by Sardar Patel in 1948 are extremely important in present day context as well. The steel frame of our civil services has not weakened even after 70 years of Independence," he said.
The politician also asked civil servants to be always responsible, accountable and impartial.
"We should always remember responsibility, accompanied by accountability. Along with this, impartiality is also a most important aspect of civil services. Lack of impartiality may affect your decision-making capabilities," the Minister said.
Rajnath Singh said Indian polity has never faced a vacuum and witnessed continuity in seventy years of Independence as the civil servants have contributed largely in maintaining continuity.
He praised the administrative continuity in the country, saying it has been one of the important reasons for the success of Indian democracy.
Singh said the Narendra Modi government through its ‘Jan Dhan, Aadhar and mobile connectivity (JAM) convergence is transforming good governance into smart governance.
The Home Minister said the central government is committed to successfully implementing ‘Antyodaya', a scheme for providing subsidised food to millions of poorest families, and the civil servants have to play a more active and effective role in its implementation.
"Our government is known for its commitment and conviction. The Prime Minister has a dream of ensuring ‘Roti, Kapda, Makan, Siksha and Swasthya' (food, house, education and health service) for everyone by 2022. Civil servants must ensure that the dream becomes a reality," he said.
Rajnath Singh also stressed on the need for punctuality to a group of bureaucrats when the event began 12 minutes late.
"I was a little bit worried today. The programme was supposed to start at 9.45 (a.m.). We reached five minutes before the scheduled time. But it started at 9.57 (a.m.)," the Minister said.
He said that while there could be some legitimate reasons for running the event late, but there should be an introspection over the issue.
"It would have been good that we would not have deviated (from the scheduled time). Has there been any laxity in our commitment?" the Minister wondered.