Record 643 districts competing for PM awards: Dr Jitendra

Excelsior Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Apr 20: Out of a total 700 odd districts in India, a record number of 643 districts are competing this year for the prestigious PM Awards which are to be presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the valedictory function of the two-day Civil Services Day programme tomorrow.
Disclosing this here today in his inaugural address on the first day of the two-day Civil Services Day programme, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy & Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that in the last three to four years, the entire format of the Civil Services has been changed and given a wide-based, representative and academic character.
This, he said, has been possible because while, earlier the PM Awards were primarily based on the achievements of individual officers or group of officers, in the last three years, these awards are primarily decided on the basis of the targets achieved by different districts in certain flagship programmes of Government of India which are notified for each given year. Accordingly, for this year’s awards, four programmes had been earmarked, which include “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” (PMFBY), “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana” (PMAY), “Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana” (DDU-GKY) and promotion of Digital Payments, he added.
Earlier, Vice-President of India, Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated an exhibition depicting the achievements of different districts in various flagship programmes and schemes of Government of India.
In a lucid speech, heard with rapt attention, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that the new experiment of programme-based competition for PM Awards was started just three years back and in 2016, when the first award function based on this new criteria was held, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a very thought – provoking observation as to why only 10 percent districts had participated. The Prime Minister’s observation was accepted as a challenge by us in the Ministry of Personnel and Department of ARPG, he said, and thereafter, a fast-track persuasive methodology was adopted which produced amazing results. In the very next year in 2017, there was participation by 599 districts and this year, the number has gone up to 643.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, soon after the present Government took over in 2014, PM Modi laid the target of “maximum governance, minimum government”. “As we understand the essential tool of good governance is a Civil Servant and therefore, in the Ministry of Personnel, several important decisions have been taken to create a work-friendly environment which could be compatible for an officer to perform to the best of his potential,” he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to extension of citizen participation in governance which has, in the last three years, resulted in creating a vibrant Grievance Cell with CPGRAMS Dashboard and a Pension Portal catering to the increasing number of elder citizens.
Additional Principal Secretary to PM, P K Mishra, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Union Secretary ARPG Eapen, Senior Secretaries to Government of India, former Cabinet Secretaries and Civil Servant representatives from different parts of the country were present on the occasion.