Recently Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Civil Services Day (April 21) told bureaucrats to take bold decisions and not be afraid of witch-hunting. The PM stressed the fact that there was no truth in the perception that the moral fibre of our civil servants and public servants in general is not as strong as it used to be some decades back and that our civil servants are now more likely to succumb to extraneous pressures in their work. He felicitated the talent in the Civil Services, saying that many of our civil servants would rank among the best in the world.

The bureaucracy has been evolving with the countrys evolvement. But certain principles have stood the test of time. In this special issue BT pays tribute to iconic bureaucrat and Padma Bhushan recipient PS Appu who fearlessly depicted his views to the Government to the extent of resigning from the coveted post of Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration on account of injustice. The incident is known to many but the above said incident is not his claim to fame. Larger than life, Appu was a nation builder and did not bend in front of wrongdoing. A man of his word, he did not seek publicity but actively promoted good values and principles through his writings in various publications. He inspired many during his tenure in the Civil Services. Most bureaucrats who knew Appu describe him as a person with impeccable integrity. 

Good work is always appreciated and acknowledged as we see in the case of the Maharashtra Police in which five officers have been ensuring peace and safety of citizens. And for making a successful Village Health and Nutrition Day, 2004 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS officer Saumya Gupta and her team were awarded the Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in Public Administration.

If reforms and growth has to happen, then we need officers who believe in Appus principles. When people walk on these principles, policy paralysis can be prevented. And as the Prime Minister said, we should encourage boldness in decision making, provided that the decisions are well considered and as per the law of the land. A civil servant who does not take decisions might always be safe, but at the end of the day he or she would have contributed nothing to our society and to our country.

Suhaib Ilyasi