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Uttarakhand CM’s move to bring bureaucrats closer to people gets thumbs up from civil society

Bureaucrats in Uttarakhand may have worked in isolation since the state’s formation 17 years ago but chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is trying to reverse the trend by bringing officials closer to people and inviting their innovative ideas to ensure effective governance, political observers say

dehradun Updated: Nov 18, 2017 20:17 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Indian Administrative Service,Bureaucrats
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat interacts with top bureaucrats at the inaugural session of the five-day conference of the Uttarakhand cadre IAS officers in Dehradun on Thursday. (HT File Photo)

Bureaucrats in Uttarakhand may have worked in isolation since the state’s formation 17 years ago but chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is trying to reverse the trend by bringing officials closer to people and inviting their innovative ideas to ensure effective governance, political observers say.

The impression gained ground owing to the bureaucrats’ “social connect” seen for the first time in programmes organised to mark the state’s 18th Foundation Day function here on November 9.

Analysts and officials gave credit to the chief minister for the “fresh approach”, saying it will give a much-needed boost to the hill state’s growth.

They are also appreciative of the way he “encouraged” officers from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to visit the state-run schools in Dehradun as part of the Foundation Day celebrations.

They not only interacted with students, but also got to know the level of education they are getting. Besides, as part of the celebrations chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh invited to his office toppers from different schools in the city and shared tips with them.

As part of the Foundation Day celebrations, the chief minister also led a ‘Run for Good Governance’ on the secretariat premises. All the officials, from top bureaucrats to the members of the middle and lower bureaucracies, participated in it.

More recently, at the inaugural of the five-day IAS week that concludes on Sunday, the chief minister sought the bureaucrats’ views on a host of issues facing the hill state. These pertained to strengthening the health, farm and education sectors, besides augmenting the self-employment opportunities for the local youth

Incidentally, all IAS officers present at the function came out with “innovative ideas”, suggests an official note.

The initiative on part of the chief minister to bring top officials closer to people and elicit their ideas on good governance has got a thumbs-up from the intelligentsia as well as the state bureaucracy.

“This (BJP) government’s move to facilitate bureaucrats’ interaction with people and encourage them to share their innovative solutions to the problems facing the state was never seen before,” said Prof MM Semwal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University.

“The chief minister deserves appreciation for such a fresh approach, which will give a push for development,” he said.

The sentiment is echoed by his colleague Prof JP Pachauri, who is appreciative of Rawat’s move to organise the senior IAS officers’ visit to schools as part of the state’s Foundation Day celebrations.

“Such moves send positive signals that the government of the day is genuinely willing to resolve the problems facing the people,” he said. “Besides, the state government also gets an idea of the status of its schemes at the ground level.”

Anand Vardhan, the secretary of the IAS Association of Uttarakhand, feels officials should frequently visit the districts.

“Such visits give planners a ground level perspective, which helps them formulate sound, pro-people policies,” he said.

Prof MC Joshi of Kumaon University feels not only bureaucrats but technocrats, professors and teachers too should be roped in to teach students in far-flung places during their summer or winter vacations.

Semwal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University said similar steps have already been initiated by the District Magistrate of Rudraprayag, Mangesh Ghildiyal.

“The young IAS officer has put together a team of officials who regularly monitor schools to check whether they are functioning properly and also teach students when required,” he told HT.

Semwal said the DM’s wife, Usha, “also teaches in the state run girls’ inter college at Rudraprayag, which is facing acute shortage” of teachers.

“The DM has also assembled a team of engineers, judges and teachers, who in their spare time, help prepare the local youth in Agastyamuni to prepare for various competitive examinations.”

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 20:17 IST