New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday gave a pep talk to young civil servants, narrating how he entered public life to "wipe" the tears of the country`s citizens.
During an interaction with IAS probationers at his residence here, Singh noted that he came from a very humble background, being born in a distant poor village in a place which is now part of Pakistan.
"I did not see a doctor till the age of 12 years. There were no roads, no safe water. For the first time, I experienced what goes on at the grass-roots level. It always influenced me," he told the young officers.
He narrated how he got educated, served in various key positions in the government, worked with the United Nations and came back to serve the Indian government as Finance Minister earlier and the Prime Minister now.
"My ambition was to do little bit to tackle poverty," said Singh, who has also served as Secretary in the government, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission and UGC Chairman.
Citing Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, he said they had underlined that poverty is a great source of depravity and there was a need to "wipe out tears off" every citizen`s eyes.
"This influenced me to be a part of public service," he said.
"Individuals can do only little things. But the sense of purpose in public administration is something we need so that people feel that there is a caring government, a government which cares for well-being of its citizens, particularly the under-privileged," he said.