Text of the Vice President’s speech – Inauguration of Civil Services Day -2023

IAS Prelims 2023

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

Civil Services Day is an occasion for civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens and renew their commitments and excellence in work.

This is of considerable significance for the nation, reminding us all of the spinal role of this class in the administration and development journey of our country.

Indeed an honour and privilege to be part of this seminal occasion. An opportunity for the Central Government to evaluate the work of various departments and equally for the civil service to reflect to enhance its contributions. Such self-auditing is highly productive.  

It was on this day in 1947 the ‘Iron Man of India’- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel referred to the civil servants as the ‘steel frame of India’, – the executors of the policies of the government of the day – a pillar on which the wheel of governance that churns policies and programs for the country.

Vision of the Sardar- the Unifier of Modern India, continues to inspire and motivate civil servants, as also all of us across the country to make exemplary contributions for the nation. It is our collective ‘dharam’ to always keep the interest of Bharat uppermost.

We all are proud Indians and must take pride in our astounding accomplishments and growth as also our civilisational ethos that date thousands of years ago.

Our global image is at the moment the highest ever. The world today awaits the ‘Voice of Bharat’ on global issues. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s statement in the year 2020: ‘the age of expansionism is over, this is the era of development…’ and in 2022 “today’s era is not of war” became the voice of the world defining our global stance.

‘Nation Always First’ has ever to be our guiding principle. Those out of line need to reflect and revisit their thought process as anything otherwise will be antithetical to our nationalism.

Friends, privileged in availing this opportunity to connect with the world’s most potent human resource, repository of enormous talent and expertise. You are commendably engaged in transforming lives of one sixth of the humanity.  As a class you are role model to millions- and powerful influencers for effecting change and growth.

Your positioning is on merit evaluated by the most stringent selection process. It is beyond any largesse or patronage.

It is a known scenario that even after succeeding in the toughest exam, the fiscal benefits of civil servants are not comparable to the alternatives available.

However, there is something unique and special about civil services that make it the envy of your peers in the alternatives. It affords you a sublime and godly opportunity to serve the people and bring about their upliftment.

You are significant stakeholders in ensuring progress of the nation and so positioned to improve the lives of our citizens. You are the most visible and effective agents of change that are dotting our landscape.

Civil service is the backbone of our government and plays a crucial role in the smooth running of the nation. You, in Amrit Kaal, are the warriors of 2047, laying foundations that will shape Bharat when it celebrates its centenary of Independence.

In recent years to enhance work efficiency of civil services, series of steps have been taken securing:

·     increased flexibility in mechanisms and modalities of implementing policy directives;

·      rationalisation of multiplicity of accountability and

·    firm defining of goals and benchmarks to be achieved thereby providing a clear perspective vision that is quintessential for any development.


Incorporation of Section 17A in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 in 2018 is a step in the right direction. It now regulates investigation of issues as regards the recommendations made or decisions taken by the public servant in the discharge of official functions and duties by providing prior approval of the concerned authority for investigation.

This also affords the civil service to “play in the joints”. Enhanced assurance in decision making is already generating exponential results.  

The theme of this year’s Civil Service Day is very apt- Viksit Bharat (विकसित भारत) aimed at ‘Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile’.

The theme underscores the Government’s resolve and firm commitment to achieving a more equitable and prosperous India for all its citizens by engaging in inclusive growth.

Civil Service is the fulcrum for achieving Viksit Bharat through its commitment to achieve “Sankalp to Siddhi” (संकल्प से सिद्धि). This theme is a reflection of the Preamble of our Constitution that seeks to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE; LIBERTY; EQUALITY and FRATERNITY. A soothing scenario- the nation is fast marching on this path with your momentous contribution.

Two plenary sessions and four breakaway sessions will for sure afford an opportunity of meaningful interaction and exchange of ideas. There will be enough to take home for you all from the discussions and deliberations that will contribute significantly to the ongoing efforts of various Ministries.

 Chintan Shivirs, a well thought out mechanism, where Ministries/ Departments engage at all levels to bring a whole of government approach, have been a rewarding experience. Such self-assessment and auditing enhances transparency and accountability in the system operations.

 The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances is commendably promoting excellence in governance.  Its efforts towards driving administrative reforms, promoting innovation, and strengthening citizen-centric service delivery are bearing fruit and transforming the way government operates.

 Today, thanks to a series of governmental policies and initiatives- India is on the rise as never before. It is inspired by the surge of aspirations and innovations and validated by the achievements of our citizens.

 This coupling of leadership vision, genius of our people and commitment of the civil service makes Bharat a favourite global destination of opportunity and investment. The country has the tag of being the fastest growing large economy in the world.

 As a consequence of this seamless synergetic functioning, the vision of the leadership is being catalysed by civil service into ground reality resulting in extensive adoption of technologies like digital platforms, artificial intelligence, big data science and the Internet of Things.

 Innovative and inclusive solutions are mitigating and addressing the challenges faced by marginalized communities. The solutions are fructifying the people’s aspirations in access to quality healthcare, education, and basic amenities. These have been met with steely resolve and determination by civil services.

 Creditable execution by civil service of governmental initiatives and policies has resulted in India becoming a hub of global value chain to facilitate a new entrepreneurial culture and facilitate innovator startups.

 All these are now an essential part of public administration to meet the demands of an Atma Nirbhar economy- our new mantra.

 People at large are beneficiaries of the emergence of an ecosystem that promotes a series of system solutions, ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’; direct benefit transfer; Shift from Rule to Role; Citizen-Centricity; transparency and accountability in Public Service Delivery.

 Like our polity, civil service composition is continually getting more representatives, encompassing all societal segments. Many foreign countries are yet to contend with you, and they think it is not so, but the change is so dramatic and evolutionary, that this can be felt. Now young talent from remote villages, from humble families, from marginalized communities is joining the Civil services. These young people have closely seen the positive role that public administration plays in eradicating poverty and improving chances of realizing their full potential.

 It is also heartening to see that more and more talented young women are joining the civil services, ready to face the challenges of public administration. Their presence will be wholesome and will lead to a more sensitive and well-rounded bureaucracy.

 Vision and policies of the political executive are quintessential to optimising your performance and exploitation of your talent and potential. Fortunately, this today is a ground reality with there being an environment for optimal output.

 With steadfast and visionary leadership and stable governance at the helm, there is emergence of a wholesome ecosystem in recent years enabling unleashing of bureaucratic prowess in expeditious execution of policies.

 Inclusive growth, which was just a concept is now a ground reality, with benefits reaching to those who needed it the most, is a new norm. It has revolutionised governance at all levels, particularly in rural and semi urban areas.  

 Availing technology extensively has been a big game changer in governance.  CoWIN portal for vaccination success has been acknowledged globally and I have felt its warmth in my visits abroad.

 Civil servants played a laudable role at all levels in the country in the fight against COVID-19, setting a new global benchmark. You brought about great success and laurels to the nation.

 Civil servant mindset focus is now upon service delivery to the common man. Technological involvement has sped up service delivery and, in the process, ended a long-standing menace of ‘middlemen’.Civil services have never created a middleman, they have invariably suffered over decades by the presence of middlemen.The achievements are astoundingly impressive- be it in the field of rural housing, cooking gas, sanitation, drinking water, power supply, bank accounts or digitization of payments.

 Transparency and accountability are now inalienable part of a well embedded order. Exponential growth is also due to empowerment of the system by introduction of technology. This technology has gone to the Villages, people are availing it extensively, which is a big relief to the people who never dreamt of it.

 Aspirational districts and Smart Cities, imaginative ideas, are changing the landscape. I was happy and delighted to note that a district where a District Magistrate would not like to go earlier, is now a hot favourite destination because it is an aspirational district, which creates an opportunity to take it to a higher level. This big change is well thought out and effective execution as regards aspirational districts and smart cities proves what regular indicator-based monitoring can achieve. For ordinary men, Smart City meant that it has to be smart, but do you admit that it must be smart in an authentic spinal manner, i.e. people living there must have access to technology and facilities which were once taken to be exclusive and preserved.

 Saturation approach, a great concept, a Gandhian recipe for growth, has ensured accrual of benefits to the last man in the queue. This could not have been possible without your passion, mission, commitment and direction.

 Importance of a stable government for effecting development can never be overstated. I was elected as Member of Parliament in 1989, and had the occasion to be a minister during that period. We were running more than 12 parties; I am one of the very few who knows the constraints of Coalition Government. In that perspective, political developments in 2014 and 2019 are watershed moments. This has turned out to be impactful for governance and more importantly it has led to the rise of a Global Image of this Country.

 Sanitisation of power corridors of deeply embedded undesirable elements, who for long extra-legally leveraged governance, is a milestone accomplishment and has been widely acclaimed. The presence of these undesirable elements was never due to the civil service. The civil service had to suffer due to them and this is no longer a situation now.

 Eclipse of the once flourishing lucrative industry of power brokers, is particularly a boon to civil service because it enables the civil service to unleash its energy and work without fear or favour.

 India is on the rise as never before and the rise is unstoppable. Thanks to the effective implementation of affirmative initiatives and policies, India, today is the global destination of opportunities and investment.

 India has had in recent years some spectacular successes that have transformed the country, while setting an example for the rest of the world. Take for instance a simple thing. 220 crore people who got vaccination, their certification is available on the mobile. No country in the world can match these feats. All this is because of the leadership vision and your most effective execution of it.

 Genius of our people and commitment of the civil service helped us achieve in September 2022 the status of the fifth largest global economy, surpassing our erstwhile colonial rulers. By all indications, India is bound to be the third largest global economy at the turn of the decade.

 Direct transfer of fiscal benefits at gigantic scale has fixed the pernicious leakages in public service delivery. The enormity of this leakage can be gauged from the anguished assertion of a former PM that only a small fraction was actually reaching the beneficiary.  This leakage has now been plugged irreversibly.

 The blueprint of growth of India is now a ground reality, it is being executed. If we go by the global innovation index, we have jumped by 40 positions and this is reflected by research and filing of patents.

 India has the 3rd largest ecosystem with over 80,000 startups and the 3rd highest number of unicorns in the world.

 Such a phenomenal incremental growth trajectory is the outcome of a series of affirmative steps and initiatives as also evolution of the ecosystem enabling our citizens to fully exploit their talent and potential. This is just not on paper, now every young mind is enabled by virtue of this ecosystem to exploit his or talent to the best of their capacity.

 It is a constitutional imperative that there should be uniformity in administration across the Union and States so that Federalism blossoms into Cooperative Federalism as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this emergence, Civil service has a critical role to play.  

 Challenges being encountered by Civil Service are being addressed. All-India Services function with interchangeability, common to the Union and States, a significant facet of federalism.  However, stance of some states on this count is a cause of concern. This scenario is straining the quality of the civil service apart from denting the federal system.  There is an urgent need to smoothen out the issues so that efficacy and sublimity of civil service is not lost.

 There are some concerning areas that call for reflection at your end as individuals and through associations. The emasculation of the ‘Steel frame of India’ is taking place due to ingratiation with the political masters in some parts, straining federal structure and making transparency and accountability a casualty.

Some bureaucrats at the state level are turning out to be a real challenge to politicians. They wield more power that can be the envy of any politician. This needs to be introspected and counselled so that this falls in line with the spinal belief the civil service has, and with the reputation it has nurtured over the decades.

 Scrupulous adherence to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968 and related legal regime is not optional. By way of illustration, prescription in these rules ‘A member of the Service who has received oral direction from his official superior shall seek confirmation of the same in writing, as early as possible’. In some parts, this is observed in breach. Governance by oral fiats has unfortunately graduated to an acceptable form of governance that can come to end only when there is counselling and guidance from your powerful fraternity, either through association or otherwise.

 Functioning in harmony and togetherness between the Centre and States is a constitutional imperative and in this the civil service plays a pivotal role by exhibiting scrupulous adherence to conduct legal regime.

 These critical issues call for resolution beyond scratching the surface. Seniors among me will have to deep dive to contain these messes that are in the micro category, in some parts.

 In the 1980’s when I was an advocate, I could never have a sound sleep unless my name appeared in the press. Over a year, I became a senior advocate and learnt that this was not the right thing.  You belong to the most distinguished category of Human resource, and there is no one in the country who can say I never aspire to hold your position. I would therefore say, the Media bug has afflicted some in the civil service and there is need for systemic guidance by your structured associations.  


Bureaucracy suffers in natural course interventions from Legislature, Judiciary and political executive.  In my capacity as Chairman, Rajya Sabha, I have structured it. We need to have the highest respect and regards for our civil servants. We cannot initiate a process at the drop of the head. This receives the highest attention at my level.

 These Institutions are expected to act in Harmony with the attitude of collaboration and not of confrontation. The Doctrine of Separation of Powers has to be observed if our democracy is to blossom and sustain.

 Mission Karmayogi (मिशनकर्मयोगी) – a National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building launched in September 2020 is turning out to be a game changer shaping future-ready civil service with the right attitude, skills and knowledge, aligned to the vision of New India. It is also working for the people working at the lower level in the Government.

 It is in fitness of things that the PM Awards for Excellence in Public Administration have been revamped with a new approach in 2021 with the objective to encourage Constructive Competition, Innovation, Replication and Institutionalisation of Best Practices. These awards serve as an inspiration for civil servants across the country to strive for excellence in public administration.

 Consequently, your passion in execution of policies with missionary zeal is being increasingly reflected in optimising welfare of the people.  

 This has also resulted in sea change in the rise of India. Empowering Citizens by leveraging Public Digital Platforms, Promoting a sustainable economy, Piped Water for all through the national Jal Jeevan Mission, Holistic Health for all through PM Jan Aarogya Yojana, Improving Quality of Education through Samiksha Kendras, and rest- we are doing it.

 Just take a simple illustration of how economy gets transformed. Ayushman Bharat, it is not just giving benefit to the individual, it has also resulted in the growth of medical education, medical colleges, nursing colleges, paramedical courses, hospitals, nursing homes.

 The PM Awards are a befitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of our civil servants and serve as a reminder of the critical role that public service plays in our nation’s progress.

 Congratulations to all the Award Winners for their well-deserved recognition. Their success stories would certainly inspire and motivate many civil servants to pursue their replication and dissemination.

 It is gratifying to note that in Amrit Kaal, where obviously expectations are elevated, the administration’s delivery by realising government policies is commendable.

 We are the largest and mother of democracy.  Our democracy is most functional and vibrant at all levels – the village, the municipalities, the states and at the centre. In no other constitution of any other country, you will find a provision for panchayats, municipalities. We have it in our part IX of the Constitution. This kind of hierarchical democratic mechanism is nowhere else in the world.

 Our level of freedom of expression is next to none and there is no tangible reflection of enforced silence.

 It is indeed painful to suffer some who adopt an ostrich stance to our phenomenal growth and flourishing democratic values. In and out of the country they engage in misadventure to demean, decry, taint and tarnish our democracy and constitutional institutions.

 It is baffling why some amongst us enjoyably resort to self-goals when it comes to economic growth, policy-making and implementation! This unwholesome stance needs to be antidoted.

 Civil servants are eminently suited to be guiding lights in this as also in promoting economic nationalism and observance of fundamental duties.  

 We must inculcate discipline in the people.  Always remember “Be you ever so high, the law is always above you!”.  None is above and beyond the reach of law.

 A soothing aspect-by and large our civil servants are optimally unleashing their energy in the service of the nation, making all of us realise that national dharam is imperative and not an option.

 I am confident that in the unprecedented growth trajectory of the nation on the way to attaining global place at pinnacle with the attainment of the centenary of our independence in 2047, civil service will be spinally supportive.

 Our democracy, on path to unprecedented growth and glory, needs that its wings- the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive-act in tandem and togetherness for smooth upward flight journey.  We all must ensure this.

 These constitutional entities can ill afford to weaponize authority by effecting incursions in the domain of the other. Legislature, Judiciary and Executive serve best while functioning in their respective domain.

 Dangers are emanating from outfits, within and without, including some foreign universities doubling up as centers of subversive anti-Bharat activities out to demolish our civilisation ethos and sully and muddy our growth. Disturbing insights in the hidden agenda of the so-called elites in India is alarming and unfortunately getting reflected in our constitutional institution working.It is the responsibility of the Parliament to safeguard India’s national sovereignty and cultural integrity, from any kinds of threats internally or externally.

 Have my assurance – Parliament alone is ‘incharge of legislation’ and competent to enforce it. Legislation is the exclusive preserve of the Parliament, the most authentic reflector of the will of the people at large.

 Under our constitutional scheme neither the Legislature nor the Judiciary can emerge as a powerful political actor- this is best left to the political class.

 I have full trust and belief in your intellect and capacity to reach and outreach as influencers to neutralise anti-Bharat narratives and to effect execution of policies of the Government and visionary leadership.

 I seek to conclude by reminding you all of the reflections of Dr. B R Ambedkar in his last speech to the Constituent Assembly. He said “What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people.……But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.”

I wish all of you to bear in mind these very significant observations of Dr.  B R Ambedkar and continue on a path, when India is gifted with visionary leadership and powerful bureaucracy, nothing is beyond our reach and recent accomplishments have so demonstrated.


Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!



Source PIB