An all-time high of 748 districts participated in the prime minister's awards scheme for excellence in public administration, and a record 2,540 nominations were received from them, senior bureaucrat V Srinivas said on Monday.
He said the Civil Services Day 2023 would be celebrated from April 20-21 this year on the theme 'Viksit Bharat' -- 'Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile'.
Srinivas, Secretary of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) under the personnel ministry, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would address the nation's civil servants and confer the PM's awards on April 21.
Civil services day is celebrated on April 21 every year by the government as an occasion for civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens and renew their commitments to public service and excellence in work.
This date is chosen to commemorate the day when the first Home Minister of Independent India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, addressed the probationers of the Administrative Services Officers in 1947 at Metcalf House, Delhi. He had referred to civil servants as the "steel frame of India".
"An all-time high of 748 districts participated in the PM's awards scheme for excellence in public administration 2022 and 2,540 nominations were received under the scheme. Of these nominations, 16 would be shortlisted for PM's awards which would be conferred by the prime minister on April 21," Srinivas told PTI in an interview.
The Centre, in 2006, instituted the prime minister's awards for excellence in public administration to acknowledge, recognise and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by districts/organisations of the central and state governments.
The scheme was restructured in 2016 for recognising the performance of district collectors in priority programmes, innovations, and aspirational districts. It was further restructured in 2020 to recognise the performance of district collectors towards economic development of the district.
The awards scheme has been revamped with a new approach in 2021 with the objective to encourage constructive competition, innovation, replication, and institutionalisation of best practices.
"Under this approach, the emphasis would be on good governance, qualitative achievement, and last mile connectivity, rather than only on achievement of quantitative targets," he said.
For the year 2022, the scheme for PM's awards for excellence in public administration aims to recognise the contribution of civil servants in promoting 'Swachh Jal' (clean water) through 'Har Ghar Jal Yojana', 'Swasth Bharat' (healthy India) through health and wellness centres, quality education with an equitable and inclusive classroom environment through 'Samagra Shiksha', holistic development through the Aspirational District Programme overall progress with special focus on saturation approach, and innovations, Srinivas said.
"The focus of the 16th civil services day 2023 is to motivate civil servants of India to dedicate themselves to the 'nation first' approach," he said.
The key takeaways from the two-day event would be empowering citizens and reaching the last mile with a saturation approach, said Srinivas, a 1989 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Rajasthan cadre.
"Civil servants would be advised to focus on saturation of ongoing schemes to ensure holistic development in priority programs," he said, adding that there would also be discussions on achieving Viksit Bharat by 2047.
Vision India@2047 plans at the district level were formulated in several districts as part of good governance week 2022 and these would form the basis of the roadmap forward to achieve Viksit Bharat, the senior bureaucrat said.
He said the civil services day 2023 preparations commenced with the launch of the scheme for PM's awards on October 2, last year.
"The scheme was implemented by DARPG with tremendous commitment and gusto with a number of outreach meetings, in which, district collectors of all states/Union Territories participated.
"This was followed by outreach meetings with states/Union Territory governments and all ministries/departments of the government of India. This resulted in record participation in the scheme for PM's awards for excellence in public administration 2022," Srinivas said.
"The massive response has created tremendous momentum for civil services day 2023. This year's civil services day events have been curated to ensure the participation of all stakeholders and domain experts. Concept papers and presentations from speakers are being prepared to ensure maximum dissemination of knowledge from the deliberations," he said.
Nearly 3,500 officials would be participating in this year's civil services day programme, Srinivas said.
The PM award winners would also be invited to present their governance models in the national good governance webinar series in the year 2023-24, he added.
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