`No witch hunt in name of fighting corruption`

PM asked civil servants to show "boldness" in decision making, assuring them there will be "no witch hunting" in the name of fighting corruption.

New Delhi: Fighting the charge of policy paralysis in Government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked civil servants to show "boldness" in decision making, assuring them there will be "no witch hunting" in the name of fighting corruption.

Addressing them on the Civil Services Day here, Singh asked the bureaucrats to fight the tendency of not taking decisions because of the fear that things might go wrong and they might be penalised for that.

"It should be our endeavour that there is no witch hunting in the name of fighting corruption. It is our government`s commitment to put in place a system and create an environment in which our civil servants are encouraged to be decisive, and no one is harassed for bonafide mistakes of errors of judgement," the Prime Minister said.

Singh, however, also noted there is a growing perception, right or wrong, that the moral fibre of civil servants and public servants in general is not as as strong as it used to some decades back and that the civil servants are now more likely to succumb to extraneous pressures in their work.
"These perceptions might be exaggerated but I do think that there is a grain of truth in them," he said.

While maintaining that the decisions that civil servants take must be fair and objective in nature, he made it clear that the government stands committed to protecting honest and well meaning civil servants who might have made genuine errors in their work.

"...We cannot have a bureaucracy which is hundred percent risk averse. In fact 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," the Prime Minister said. .

"Our relations with China assume great importance for the overall peace, progress and development of the region. We have an ongoing strategic and co-operative partnership in place which began with the historic visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in 1988 laying the foundations of a much more vibrant relationship between the two nations," the statement said.

"The visit by Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2003 followed by the appointment of special representatives to solve the border issue has given a further thrust to the same," it further read.

"Successive governments at the Centre, across the board and irrespective of party affiliations have always advocated a peaceful settlement of the border dispute in a pragmatic and mature manner, through mutual understanding and through dialogue to discuss the disputed areas," the statement added.


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