Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today called for a total war on corruption and described corruption as a major canker which skews growth and development, deepens poverty and increases inequality.
Delivering the ‘IC Centre for Governance Sardar Patel Lecture on Governance’ in New Delhi, Vice President Naidu said that various transformative policies and programmes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padao, Ayushman Bharat, Goods and Services Tax and ‘Swachh Bharat’ are aimed at accelerating the progress and empowering people. “We can accomplish the desired goals only if we have a robust governance system and there is an unflinching commitment to excellence at every level”, he added.
He asked the bureaucracy to be more proactive and ensure that there was no gap in the intent, execution and delivery of various services to the people.
Observing that it was critical for the state institutions to be agile, adaptable and resilient in the rapidly changing 21st century, he called for strengthening program implementation, improving competency and credibility of institutional structures and adopting a work ethic that keeps national interest at the top and public welfare at its core.
Wondering whether degeneration in moral and social values in the society has led to a general decline in the functioning of public services at every level, Vice President Naidu called for introspection and said that it was imperative to initiate a movement of ethics at all levels in the governance of the country.
The Vice President said that there was a need to foster public trust in institutions and the integrity of public officials while injecting greater accountability into decision-making. “I feel that it is imperative that a movement of ethics is initiated at all levels in governance of the country”, he added.
Asserting that people must be at the centre of an effective and just governance system, Vice President Naidu called for efforts to ensure that the poorest of the poor and most deserving gets the benefits of government schemes.
“Perhaps, we need Process Reengineering in governance. We don’t have to change the system, as is being suggested in some quarters, but we have to make the system work better”, he added.
Paying glowing tributes to Sardar Patel, he described him as the unifier and Iron Man of modern India.
Observing that India owed a huge debt of gratitude to Sardar Patel for unifying the nation into a single territorial entity, the Vice President said that nothing mattered more to Sardar Patel than the interests of the nation.
The Vice President said that Sardar Patel wanted the All India Services, which he conceived as a ‘steel-frame’ of the nation, to provide people-centric governance. “With a clear vision for an efficient administrative system, Sardar Patel wanted the civil servants to maintain the highest standards of probity and efficiency and strive to uplift the conditions of the poor without any fear or favour”, he added.
In this context he recalled that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to Indian Union was total, final and irrevocable. He also pointed out that Article 370 was only a temporary provision and said that it had outlived its purpose long back.
The Vice President said that unity and consensus on larger issues facing the country was the need of the hour. He advised people to develop a positive outlook and not become cynical. He urged the youngsters in particular to adopt a constructive approach towards nation-building.
The Vice President said that all Indians must work together, a collective endeavour, for ushering in Gandhi Ji’s Ram Rajya, where there is all-round inclusive growth without poverty, discrimination, inequality, illiteracy and hunger. ‘Every citizen must strive to protect the unity, safety, security and sovereignty of the country’, he added.