Think out of box to solve problems: PM tells bureaucrats

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday asked civil servants to “think out of the box” to solve problems and urged them to use technology to ensure government benefits reach everyone.

The prime minister referred to a book that lists 14 good governance initiatives from various parts of India.

“This brings me to the issue of the collective capability of our civil services to be innovative in their approach to solving problems and to think out of the box,” he said at the 8th Civil Services Day here.

“We also need to make full use of new and modern technology not only in the delivery of public services but in governance in general,” he added.

He cited the example of Aadhar and the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme as the best examples for delivering public services to people by using modern technology.

“A good example of such use is the Aadhar program for providing all the residents of our country a unique identity, and also the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme based on Aadhar numbers,” the prime minister said.

Dubbed as the “game changer” by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the scheme will provide direct cash transfer under 26 government schemes to the accounts of the beneficiaries.

The prime minister said the scheme now covered 121 districts.

“It will lead to better targeting of subsidies and reducing delays in the delivery of benefits such as scholarships and pensions to the intended beneficiaries.

“It will also help in curbing wastages and leakages, and result in greater financial inclusion.

“I think it is also important to recognize the fact that the programs like the Direct Benefits Scheme also give a sense of empowerment to our people, increase their faith in the processes of governance and therefore have a far larger positive effect than can be measured by the direct advantages they confer.”

He urged bureaucrats involved in its implementation to ensure its success.

Manmohan Singh said the bureaucrats need “skills” to ensure the complex task of handling “good governance and managing the economy” at the same time.

He said they “need to be provided top class training early in their careers to equip them with the tools necessary to understand the underlying logic and complexities of governance and having good systems in place”.

He said an effective system should be put in place to “incentivize innovation and remove inefficiency”.

“We must recognize that we have a lot of work to do to bring the delivery of some of our basic public services up to the requisite standards.”

The central government was also pushing for the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill.

“This, when enacted, will give our citizens the right to receive specified goods and services in a time bound manner,” he said.

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