UPSC Essentials: Get Inspired – What was APJ Abdul Kalam’s Oath for Public Servants?
During his presidency, APJ Abdul Kalam used to visit civil service trainees at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. Prospective civil servants traveled to Rashtrapati Bhavan before their final assignment. He always encouraged public servants to be creative and follow the innovative leadership style. The wise words of People’s President APJ Abdul Kalam bring us back to basics. What was his message for public servants? Let us know.
Relevance: Use it to add value in your essay, GS II-Role of public services in a democracy, GS IV Ethics, personality test. Moreover, read it and also apply in order to stay motivated in your own journey of preparing for public office and beyond as a good and ethical citizen.
At the start of service, a young officer is ethically upright and resolute for integrity. However, over time, how can they continue to follow the same values with strong determination?
Kalam believed that young officers entering governance must determine a long-term goal for which they will be remembered. This goal will inspire them at all times in their careers and help them overcome any problems. Our nation’s young bureaucrats must remember that when they take on difficult assignments, there will be problems, but we must conquer the problems and succeed.
How can a public servant address the problem of the corrupt political system that leads to compromises on ethical standards?
Kalam was in charge of large assignments involving a huge investment in human capital. His message to young officers was very clear. Young officers can establish a mark of integrity for themselves. He will ward off anyone who wants them to compromise their ethics. He warns that there could be problems. But, eventually, the best of human beings will find a way to succeed.
If a public servant’s job is to provide good governance to the nation, how can this goal be achieved?
According to Kalam, governance is judged by its proactivity and responsiveness to people’s needs. Governance should help people lead morally upright, intellectually superior and high quality lives. This requires the acquisition and enrichment of knowledge.
Kalam suggested evolving a Societal grid which includes a knowledge grid, a health grid and an e-governance grid that feed into the PURA grid.
To note: Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) is a rural development strategy in India. This concept was given by the former president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Knowledge grid– It will equip citizens with appropriate knowledge in a democratic way, thus ensuring the growth of the knowledge society.
Health grid– It will ensure that the benefits of quality health care services reach the needy. This will improve their quality of life and increase individual productivity. This will lead to faster development of the nation.
E-governance grid– This will lead to transparency of government services and ensure that they reach all citizens uniformly without dilution of quantum or quality.
Kalam was of the view that if these networks complement each other and connect Indian villages, the villages will be self-reliant and our country can experience self-sustaining growth. According to Kalam, “autonomous villages ensure good and intelligent governance”. He was convinced that the societal network model is technologically possible and will help us achieve the goal of transforming India into a developed nation.
What thought must a public servant always remember to stay motivated?
According to Kalam, officials should always remember the inspirational words of Maharshi Patanjali (Yoga Sutra, over 2000 years ago).
“When you are inspired by a great goal, an extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limits, your consciousness expands in all directions and you find yourself in a new, big and wonderful world. dormant strengths, faculties, and talents come alive, and you find yourself a far greater person than you ever dreamed.
During his presidency, civil service trainees would come to Rashtrapati Bhavan and take a five-point oath to him. What was that Kalam’s five-point oath for public servants?
Kalam’s five-point oath for public servants –
1. I will work towards literacy for 100% of the people in the area where I work and also ensure that no child drops out of school.
2. I will see to the enrichment of the status of women and will work for parity between girls and boys.
3. I will ensure that no one can lead me into the temptation of corruption.
4. During my tenure in any district, I will ensure that at least one lakh of trees are planted and nurtured.
5. I will work towards the realization of at least five PURA complexes in the district where I am assigned and create employment opportunities for at least 25% of the population through the establishment of rural enterprises.
Key points to remember
1. Kalam’s five-point oath for public servants revolved around literacy, status of women, integrity, environment, PURA and employment.
2. Kalam asked the official to recall Patanjali’s words of wisdom.
3. Kalam suggested developing a societal grid that includes a knowledge grid, a health grid and an e-governance grid that feed into the PURA grid.
4. Young officers can establish a mark of integrity for themselves.
Point to ponder: The bureaucracy is trained and known to maintain the status quo. In this context, how can a civil servant be creative, innovative and ethically honest?
(Sources: Pathways to Greatness by APJ Abdul Kalam, Goal 3 billion by APJ Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh.)