Kiran Bedi discusses best practices for public officials at ThinkEdu Conclave 2023

Draws upon the teachings of the Bhagavad Geeta, explaining that public service benefits the community and creates a better world.

Published: 10th February 2023 01:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2023 01:25 AM   |  A+A-

Kiran Bedi

Former Puducherry L-G Kiran Bedi talks about 'Public Service as a Career: Empowering people' at TNIE's ThinkEdu Conclave in Chennai, Feb.9, 2023. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi spoke on the importance of public service at the 11th edition of The New Indian Express's ThinkEdu Conclave 2023 in Chennai, using a PowerPoint presentation titled "Public service as a career."

Bedi drew upon the teachings of the Bhagavad Geeta, explaining that true public service benefits the community, foster volunteerism, and creates a better world. She also touched upon the principles of good governance and discussed best practices for public officials.

Bedi emphasised the importance of transparency and accountability in public service, highlighting initiatives taken during her tenure in Pondicherry such as the creation of a WhatsApp group for top bureaucrats and the launch of an app called "My Government" for tracking grievances. She also spoke about the need to spend money based on budgeted schemes and the importance of field visits by top officials.

Full Coverage: ThinkEdu 2023

She posed a question to ChatGPT about the Bhagavad Geeta, asking what public service is. She said, according to ChatGPT, public service serves the community by benefiting it, promoting volunteerism, improving others' lives, and creating a better world.

When asked if there can be good public service, ChatGPT, representing Lord Krishna, responded that the Bhagavad Geetha teaches that public service is an important aspect of spiritual growth. Regarding the reasons why people deviate from the path of true public service, Lord Krishna, through ChatGPT, explained that it is because they are motivated by their own selfish desires and lack attachments, she said.

Bedi said the Bhagavad Geetha teaches one to practice yoga, meditation, and self-reflection; practices which help one cultivate peace. She further spoke about what constitutes good governance, stating that it must be accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable, efficient, follow the rule of law, and be participatory, as outlined by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia.

She added that she wanted to include an African proverb in her presentation, "If the dog is not barking when the thief is stealing, it means both are friends." Bedi discussed best practices for public officials and informed the audience that any complaints received in Puducherry were digitally tracked through a redressal system, regardless of their size.

The officials made use of various social media platforms, phone and chat options to serve the public and maintain transparency. To further improve their services, they introduced an app called "My Government," which enabled them to address all grievances from top to bottom. She also shared how they managed to overcome financial constraints and still provide quality public services.

Despite some contractors not receiving orders from the Public Works Department due to concerns over bill payment, they found a solution by bringing in the machinery and contractors and paying them directly. Junior engineers were assigned to oversee irrigation canal cleaning, which resulted in millions of rupees being spent by the PWD, she remarked. “During my tenure in Pondicherry, we have created a WhatsApp group in which top bureaucrats have participated and done positive things for the people's welfare,” she said.

She emphasised the importance of responsible spending, mentioning that funds should be allocated according to the budget's outlined schemes. In Pondicherry, they implemented the Direct Bank Transfer system, which helped them save significant amounts of money. Bedi stressed the importance of field visits, suggesting that top officials from all departments should dedicate at least one hour to visiting the field.


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