New Delhi, Apr 21 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday said the civil servant of today should not only be alive and sensitive to the problems at hand but also be well equipped to handle them, adding that this calls for a continuous updation and improved training.
Addressing the Civil Services Day, 2010 here on Wednesday, Dr Singh said: "Globalization and a more inter-connected and inter-dependent world in which we live in bring both new opportunities and new challenges. The civil services have a major role to play in helping government fashion a suitable and adequate response to all these issues."
"Since we live in an environment where developments at one place affect what happens elsewhere, civil servants today also need to work with greater coordination with each other," he added.
Dr Singh urged the civil servants to pay particular attention to agricultural areas.
"I would urge the civil services to pay particular attention to this area of national endeavour. Special efforts must be made to increase the productivity of dry land, rainfed farming. I have said this earlier and I repeat it today again that the agriculture departments in the states need to be manned by our very best officers," said Dr Singh.
"Civil servants have a pivotal role in ensuring that the benefits of our programmes percolate to the farthest and remotest villages of our country. It is a daunting task that will test the endurance and mettle of our civil servants, especially that of the All-India Services," he added.
Talking about the role that the Civil Services have played, Dr Singh said : "In the past 60 years or so since Independence, our civil services have played a critical role in establishing a secular and democratic form of government, in maintaining communal peace and harmony, in transforming our economy and in fighting disease, poverty, ignorance and inequalities of opportunities."
"The founding fathers of our Republic had conceived of a permanent, apolitical and representative civil service, which could work hand in hand with successive governments to face the challenges of nation building. On the whole, it would not be an exaggeration to say that our civil services have lived up to this expectation," he added.
"There is of course scope for improvement as there always will be. There are also areas in which the civil services should have and could have performed better," said Dr Singh.
"I hope that the future will see a removal or at least a reduction in the deficiencies in the performance of our civil servants," he added.
"We face many new threats to the integrity of our country, both from within and from without. Terrorism and left-wing extremism seek to challenge the very foundations of our democratic and secular polity," said Dr Singh.
"Climate change and degradation of our environment threaten not only the quality of our lives but that of future generations as well. An efficient and equitable management of the country's water resources presents new challenges," he added.
The Prime Minister said the last year or so was particularly difficult for the country.
"We faced a global financial crisis, probably the worst in the post-war period. There was hardly any country in the world, which was not affected by it, in some measure or the other. We were no exception, though our quick but calibrated response ensured that the adverse effect of the slow-down was much less on us than on other countries.
"Our country was able to post a respectable growth of 6.7% in 2008-09. The growth rate for 2009-10 is now estimated at 7.2 percent and the forecast for 2010-11 is 8.25 percent," he added.
The theme of Civil Services Day, 2010 was 'Innovations in Government'. (ANI)