2016 highlights included PM awards for J&K, Assam: Dr Jitendra

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh briefing the media after releasing the “Year-end Review 2016” of the Union Ministry of Personnel (DoPT & ARPG) at North Block, New Delhi on Friday.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh briefing the media after releasing the “Year-end Review 2016” of the Union Ministry of Personnel (DoPT & ARPG) at North Block, New Delhi on Friday.

Excelsior Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Dec 30: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that the important highlights of the year 2016 included the declaration of of Prime Minister’s Awards for peripheral States like Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, which were hitherto considered to be somewhat out of mainstream and also possibly, yet to catch up with the other developed States.
Briefing the media after releasing the “Year-end Review 2016” of the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, which includes Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) and Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (ARPG), Dr Jitendra Singh said, what is most significant and noteworthy is that the greatest success stories of the Ministry emerged from the areas which were inspired directly by the innovative inputs from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For example, he said, it was PM’s idea to widen the scope of annual PM Awards presented on Civil Services Day in order to include the priority programs and flagship schemes. The result of this, he said, was that in “Swachh Vidyalaya” programme category, the award went to the militancy infested district of Anantnag in Jammu & Kashmir along with other lesser competitive Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Ananthapuram in “Northeast & Hill States, UTs and Other States” groups respectively. Similarly, he said, under “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana” category, the award went to Nagaon in Assam in “Northeast & Hill States, UTs and Other States” category.
Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, DoPT could take a decision which none of the previous Governments had mustered courage to take in the last seven years. This, he said, was the decision to abolish interviews for selection to junior posts from the 1st of January 2016.This, he said,  offered a level-playing field for job-seeking candidates from  diverse backgrounds regardless of their socio-economic strata.
It was on the advice of Prime Minister Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, that for the first time in 70 years’ history of independent India, a new designation of “Assistant Secretary” was introduced in Government of India in order to enable the IAS probationers coming out of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie to spend a three-month stint in the Government of India before proceeding to their respective State cadres of posting. The experiment has not only proved highly successful, but has also inspired an unusual excitement and enthusiasm among the new IAS officers who feel blessed with the rare opportunity to directly interact with the Prime Minister of India even before joining their first posting in Government of India.
Prime Minister Modi addressed the 2014 batch IAS officers and later also second time, chaired the Valedictory Session for the same officers who made three selected presentations before him on various themes of governance such as DBT, Swachh Bharat, e-Courts, Tourism, Health and Satellite Applications in Governance, etc. he added.
Referring to some of the other path-breaking unique initiatives taken during the year, Dr Jitendra Singh referred to the six major online initiatives of DoPT announced on “Good Governance Day” marking the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 25th December this year. The initiatives launched included online Immovable Property Returns, online Recruitment Rules Formation, mandatory online filing of APRs by IAS officers and revamped website of DoPT.
Earlier, on October 28, Dr Jitendra Singh said, an Employees Online (EO) App was launched as a mobile application which enables its users, including officers, media persons and stakeholders to stay updated on real-time basis with all the appointments and postings, including those made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
Seeding of Aadhar numbers in Pensioners’ accounts was accomplished in the first-half of 2016, said Dr Jitendra Singh, and similarly for the convenience of officers, the DoPT has eased the guidelines for Leave Travel Concession (LTC). Meanwhile, a new concept was initiated to receive telephone feedback of grievance redressal.
On the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to some of the unprecedented accomplishments of the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), for which 2016 proved to be an eventful year marked by two successful launch vehicle technology initiatives including “Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator” (RLV-TD) and SCRAMJET technology demonstrator. Additionally, it is a matter of pride that Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) of India completed two years in its orbit and proved its worth as a 100% “Make-in-India” mission, he said.