An award is a form of honour, a felicitation to recognise one’s contribution in a chosen field. An award is not only a matter of prestige or a mark of excellence, but also a tremendous boost for someone to strive and excel higher and aim for even bigger accomplishments in life. gfiles May issue is dedicated to two awards—Prime Ministers’ Excellence Awards, celebrated as the Civil Services Day, and SCOPE Excellence Awards, celebrated as the Public Sector Day. gfiles has been covering these awards since 2007 and witnessing the robust performance of civil servants and public sector enterprises’ (PSEs) professionals.
Both the awards this time had a common thread in that they sought to recognise excellence in the implementation and impact of the Prime Minister’s flagship programmes. While the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya and Soil Health Card schemes resonated on Civil Services Day, Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, and Swachh Bharat programmes were reflected in the SCOPE awards. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence were dedicated to the implementation of the priority programmes by the District Collectors across 677 districts of India. Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha informed that implementation of the priority programmes was rigorously monitored and it was a tough competition among the districts. On their part, the PSEs have never shirked from their social responsibility. One can now criticise the dominance of the government over the PSEs, but recall the socio-economic conditions of the days when everything from oilpins to salt used to be imported. With a meagre investment of Rs. 20 crore, the CPSEs have grown manifold to 298 in number, as of March 2015, and with nearly Rs.11 lakh crore in total investments. PSEs registered a turnover of about Rs. 20 lakh crore, which is 16 per cent of the GDP of the country. Significantly, SCOPE has set up an Academy of Public Sector Enterprises, which will be a guiding force in shaping young talent into future leaders. The biggest challenge in making PSEs pride of India is that deadwood PSEs have to be either amalgamated into the profit-making PSEs or shut down.
Interestingly, the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Implementation of Priority Programmes have done away with the traditional system of selecting civil servants for the awards, where a committee used to invite nominations, scrutinise and recommend for awards. Narendra Modi has focused on a very significant point: the last mile delivery mechanism of priority programmes has to be implemented through the districts only and the civil servants who implement it well must be awarded. The last mile delivery has been the biggest bottleneck in the federal structure of India. Without the support of the Chief Minister; central government’s programmes are hardly ever successful in the States. As reflected on the 10th Civil Services Day, Modi’s priority programmes have indeed reached across India and finally, the citizen has not only benefitted but has been engaged to participate in a continuous mode. Modi gave a clarion call to civil servants, saying that if officers reformed and performed, transformation would become visible on its own. Let us transform India.