PM Narendra Modi Shares Why He Banned Mobile Phones In His Meetings

Story Highlights
  • PM Modi mimicked furious tapping on keypad while discussing ban on phones
  • He urged bureaucrats to 'think out of the box', take ownership of change
  • Since coming to power, government has stressed on workforce efficiency
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his session with the country's top bureaucrats, shared many nuggets of governance including why he had banned mobile phones in his meetings. He also stressed on the merits of anonymity while working on schemes.

Being faceless is a "big strength", advised the PM. "Many officers would have had vision, implemented something and the entire country benefited from the idea. But if you go looking for who came up with the idea, you will not be able to find them. This is the best quality of the Indian civil service," he said.

Of late, he complained, this had not been the case. "If I go and have my picture on Facebook administering two drops (polio campaign) then a question arises on the anonymity of officials," he commented.

Social media, he said, should be used to reach people for their welfare and benefit.

"These days... I see district officials so busy, busy, busy (with their mobiles) I banned mobiles in meetings," he said, mimicking furious tapping on a phone keypad as he addressed bureaucrats at a function to mark Civil Services Day.

"People have moved from e-governance to mobile governance, it is a reality today."

Since coming to power with a huge mandate in 2014, PM Modi has stressed on an efficient workforce. Sweeping changes in the bureaucratic ways of functioning began with his office.

Spelling out the need to revamp the mindset and style of working, the Prime Minister said, "there is a burden of hierarchy culture" that had been going on since the British rule. "If seniors or superiors feel that new entrants are doing good work and it is intimidating them, this is the pressure of hierarchy culture," he said.

Urging officials to use their experience well, PM Modi advised, "There is no way that there could be better suggestions and recommendations than yours." He urged bureaucrats to "think out of the box" and take collective ownership to bring change.

"I have the political will to bring reforms, but you are the people who perform and the public role is to transform. All three should be on the same platform," he said.
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