English rendering of PM’s interaction with ground level functionaries of G20 Summit

IAS Prelims 2023

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

Some of you may not admit that you were fatigued at all. Well, I have no intention of taking up much of your time. But such a grand success has been achieved, the name of the country has been illuminated, and praise is pouring in from all sides. All of you are those people who were behind it, who put in day and night, and, as a result, this success has been achieved. It is akin to when a player goes to the Olympic podium and wins a medal, and the name of the country shines, the applause for that continues for a long time. Similarly, all of you have together illuminated the name of the country.

Perhaps people may not even realize how many people were involved in organising this event and how much work was done under what circumstances. And most of you are likely the ones who have never had the opportunity to work on such a large event before. In a way, you had to also imagine the event, think about the likely problems and what could be done to resolve them. What should be the response in different circumstances? You had to consider many things in your own way. That’s why I have a special request for all of you: Will you leave at that what you have accomplished? 

Some of you may have been involved in this project for three to four years, or for four months only. You should record everything since the day when you were briefed and the time you took to undertake this project. You should write down everything. A website should be created. Everyone should write in their own language, in which they are comfortable with, how they managed to do this work, how they perceived it, what shortcomings they noticed, and if any problems arose, how they found solutions. If your experiences are recorded, it can serve as a valuable guideline for future projects and institutions. In the future, they can use it as a resource material while carrying out any responsibilities at this scale. 

Therefore, I urge you to write down everything in detail and meticulously, no matter if it takes even 100 pages. You can store it in the cloud, where there’s plenty of space. Your experiences will prove to be very useful. I hope such a system is created and everybody should benefit from it. However, I want to hear from you, I want to know your experiences, if any of you want to initiate.

For example, you have been assigned to take care of flowerpots. If this feeling emerges and this spirit is born, the upkeep of flowerpots will ensure the success of the G20. Any mess-up with the arrangement of the flowerpots could cast a shadow on the G20. Therefore, this is a crucial responsibility. If you consider that no task is small for you then success starts kissing your feet.


Similarly, you should openly share and discuss your experiences with your colleagues in every department and listen to other people’s experiences as well. It is very beneficial. Sometimes when you are alone, you may think, “I have done a lot of work. If I weren’t there, what would have happened to the G20?” But when everyone hears each other’s stories, it becomes clear that others did more than what you did. You would find that they were working harder during the tough times. It is then that you realize that what you did was good, but others also did a splendid job and that’s how this success could be achieved.

The moment we recognize someone else’s capabilities, understand their efforts, envy fades away, and we get an opportunity to look within ourselves. “Well, till yesterday, I was assuming that I did everything, but today I found out that so many other people have also contributed.” It’s true that you would not have appeared on TV, your photos would not have been published in the newspapers, and your achievements would not have been discussed. You would be feeling that only those people hogged the limelight who did not shed any sweat and those who have expertise in it whereas all the work was carried out by us the labourers. Today’s program is a celebration of “Mazdoor Ekta” (labourers’ unity). I might be a slightly bigger labourer, and you might be smaller labourers, but ultimately, we are all labourers.

You must have also experienced the joy of this hard work. I mean, even on the night of the 10th or the 11th, if someone had called you and said something, you wouldn’t have felt like, “Why is he bothering me? The work is already done.” Instead, you would have thought, “No, no, something must be pending, let me do it.” It’s this spirit, you know, which is our greatest strength.


Many of you have worked before as well. Many of you have been working in the government for 15-20-25 years. Most of you may have been tied to your desk, dealing with files, maybe exchanging greetings with your colleagues nearby while handing over files. Perhaps you have discussed your children’s education during lunchtime or tea breaks. But, we often don’t get to discover the capabilities of our colleagues when we are involved in routine office work. Even after spending 20 years together, we may not know what additional skills and abilities are hidden within others because we are confined to a prototype job.

When we work in such opportunities, we have to think anew every moment. New responsibilities emerge, new challenges arise, and solving them becomes a part of the routine. And when we see a colleague in action, it feels like there’s excellent quality in him. This kind of shoulder-to-shoulder work in any field is beneficial for the success of any governance. It eliminates silos, both vertical and horizontal, and forms a team naturally.

You may have been working for many years, but this time you might have stayed up late at night, sat around, and maybe even searched for tea near the sidewalk during the G20 project. Among the new colleagues you met, you would not have come across in your 15 or 20 years of work experience. You must have met many colleagues with fresh capabilities in this project. Therefore, we should always look for opportunities to work together.

For example, as we can see, a cleanliness campaign is going on in all departments. If everyone in the department, including the secretary, steps out of their chambers and participates in this campaign, you will see that the atmosphere will change completely. You won’t feel like work; it will feel like a festival. Let’s clean up our homes, tidy up our offices, take out files from our desks – it’s a joyful task. And I often say to everyone, let’s have a department picnic once a year. Just take a day trip nearby, spend 24 hours together.

There is tremendous power in unity. When you’re alone, no matter how much you do, you sometimes think, “Should I be doing all this alone? Am I responsible for everything? Everyone else gets their salaries, and I have to do all the work.” Such thoughts come to mind when you’re alone. But when you’re with everyone, you realize that there are many people like you who contribute to success, whose efforts keep organizations running smoothly.


Another important thing is that we as seniors should always step out of the world of hierarchy and protocols that exist and think about the people we work with. We often can’t imagine what capabilities those people have. When you recognize the strength of your colleagues, you achieve remarkable results. Try this exercise at your office. I suggest you a game and you do it. For example, there are 20 colleagues with whom you are working in your department. You maintain a diary for a day. Then, one by one, ask each of the 20 colleagues to write down in the diary their full names, where they are originally from, what work they handle here, and what extraordinary qualities or skills they possess. Don’t ask them directly; instead, observe what you know about them and put it in the diary. Later, read what those 20 colleagues have written about themselves. You’ll be amazed to know that you were not aware of their qualities. You might say things like their handwriting is good, they are punctual, or they are polite, but you might not have noticed the deeper qualities they possess. Try it once, and you’ll have an incredible experience. You will find extraordinary qualities that exist in your colleagues. It’s like having an external perspective on imagination.

Friends, I have been working in human resources for years, and I’ve never had the opportunity to work with machines. My work has always been related to working with people, so I can understand these concepts well. However, these opportunities are extremely important from a capacity-building perspective. If an event is conducted correctly, it can yield great results. Otherwise, the common refrain is that things have been going on for ages and it will also be done this time. What happens with that approach? There are two experiences in front of our country in this regard. One, a few years ago, we hosted the Commonwealth Games. If you ask anyone about the Commonwealth Games, you’ll get an idea of how people of Delhi or those from outside Delhi perceive about these games. Those of you who are seniors may remember that event. It was truly an opportunity to brand our country, create an identity, enhance our capabilities, and showcase our strengths. However, unfortunately, the event got mired in controversies and mismanagement, leading to a tarnished image for our country. It also left a sense of disillusionment and a belief among people and those in the government that such endeavours were beyond us. 

On the other hand, with the G20, it’s not like there were no shortcomings. It’s not as if everything went exactly as planned, and every goal was achieved with a score of 99 or 100. In some cases, we may have scored 94, 99, and in some cases even 102. But the cumulative effect of these efforts was significant. The overall impact was that it showcased our country’s capabilities and showed the world our potential. The success of such events is in the cumulative effect they have, not just in getting 10 editorials published. Modi is least bothered about it. What brings me joy is that there is now a belief in my country that we can accomplish any task effectively.

In the past, whenever there was a calamity or a need to work on humanitarian issues anywhere, we would find the Western world hogging the limelight. People would say that if something happened in some part of the world, this or that Western country, with its resources and capabilities, stepped in and helped. Our country was rarely mentioned. Major Western countries were the ones in the spotlight. However, we have seen a change. When earthquakes struck Nepal and our people went there to assist, when cyclones hit Fiji and our teams responded, when Sri Lanka faced a crisis and we sent aid, when the Maldives had an electricity crisis and our teams quickly provided help, when Yemen was in dire straits and we sent assistance, when Turkey experienced an earthquake, and when there was a rapid response from our people, all of these instances have instilled a belief in the world that Bharat is capable of making a difference in humanitarian efforts. In times of crisis, Bharat reaches out to the world, and this has built trust and confidence in our capabilities worldwide.

When the earthquake struck Jordan recently, I was very much occupied with the summit. However, despite my busy schedule, I made a phone call to officials early in the morning and inquired about how we could assist Jordan. I asked them to prepare our aircraft and equipment, figure out what we need to take, and identify the team that would go. Everything was ready on our end. On one hand, the G20 summit was happening, and on the other hand, preparations were underway to provide aid to Jordan. This demonstrates our capability. Jordan, recognizing its topography, informed us that they wouldn’t require the kind of assistance we were preparing to offer. Finally, we did not have to go there. They managed their situation without our intervention.

My point is that where we were once invisible, where our name didn’t even come up, we have achieved that status in such a short time. We need global exposure. Now, here we all are sitting here – the entire council of ministers, all the secretaries – and the program is structured in such a way that you are sitting in the front whereas others are sitting behind you. It’s the opposite of how it usually happens. And this is what brings me joy because when I look at you from here it means our foundation is strong. Even if there’s some disturbance at the top, it won’t matter much. 

And that’s why, my colleagues, now we will work with competence and our every endeavour will be in the global context. Now, look at the G20 Summit – there were one lakh people from around the world who came here, and there were the crucial teams of their respective countries. They were part of the decision-making teams. And they came here, saw Bharat and celebrated its diversity. It is not that they won’t go back to their countries and keep these experiences to themselves; no, they will go back and become ambassadors for the tourism of our country.

You might think that you just greeted them when they arrived and asked what you could do for them. Would they like to have some tea or things like that?  It might seem like a simple gesture, but by greeting him, asking him if he’d like tea, and fulfilling any of his needs, you’ve sown the seed for him to become an ambassador for Bharat. You’ve done such a significant service. He will become the ambassador of Bharat and wherever he goes, and he will say, “Bharat is like this, Bharat has these things. In technology, Bharat is far ahead”. He will surely mention that. My point is that we have the opportunity to take tourism to a whole new level in our country.


DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.




Source PIB