In a series of tweets post midnight Wednesday, the prime minister wrote: "Had a very fruitful meeting with secretaries. Heard their views and asked to simplify administrative processes and make government people friendly.
"We talked about institutionalising processes as they will last longer than any individual and give better results to the people," he added.
"I shared my views on the importance of teamwork and usage of technology, which has the potential to address people's grievances."
The prime minister met all secretaries at his residence here without involving the ministers concerned.
"Such a meeting has taken place after more than eight years," the prime minister's office said in a statement here.
"It was a very interesting exchange of ideas. The PM asked us to tell him what we want him to do for the ministries. It was very nice and refreshing," a secretary told IANS after the meeting, on condition of anonymity.
The meeting was in the nature of an interaction where the secretaries outlined the sectoral priorities.
The prime minister "empathised with the sentiment expressed by the secretaries, and their anguish in not being able to realize their true potential because of circumstances", the PMO said.
As preparation for this meeting, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had instructed the various secretaries to prepare Power Point presentations in not more than 10 slides, which should not take more than 10 minutes.
A total of 77 top bureaucrats, including Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram, Home Secretary Anil Goswami, Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, were called for the meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday and postponed by a day because of the sudden death of Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident.
Modi's direct interaction with the bureaucracy is expected to be more frequent as part of his style of functioning.
"A direct dialogue with the bureaucracy makes them a direct stakeholder in the decision-making process, and also makes for more accountability," another secretary at the meeting told IANS.