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Keynote Address by the External Affairs Minister at the eighth edition of Good Governance Day celebrations

December 21, 2021

Namaskar and good morning.

I am glad to speak to you at the eighth edition of Good Governance Day celebrations. In 2014, on the birth anniversary of former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji, Prime Minister Modi underlined that "good governance is key to a nation’s progress”. He promised our citizens a "transparent and accountable administration which works for the betterment and welfare of the common citizen”. It is in pursuit of that objective that we have gathered here today.

These seven years, with the spirit of ‘seva’ at the core of its efforts, the Government has worked towards transformative economic growth, improving the ease of living, social empowerment and building an Aatmarnirbhar Bharat. This is reflected in numerous national campaigns whose cumulative impact has been extremely powerful. Our endeavours assume special significance in the context of our Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. 

Those in the Ministry of External Affairs are particularly conscious of the profound transformation in the international order. Its expressions are many. We find ourselves in a different strategic environment. Our stature on the global stage has grown significantly. The world expects more from us. And in a globalized era, there is so much more that we too can seek from the world for our national development. All of this has direct relevance to good governance.

The Covid-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge that compelled us to address many issues with even greater urgency and vigour. Among them was to keep the supply chains open at a time when many borders were closing. Assisting Indian nationals abroad and our diaspora was a massive endeavour as well. Our efforts towards equitable access to vaccines have created a strong solidarity with other nations. Our Missions played an active role in procurement of items, medicines and medical equipment. And the Ministry led from the front in ensuring that our stranded nationals came back home safely.

Let me share a few observations on subjects that you will be discussing at greater length:

i. Our efforts at facilitating the issue of passports is illustrative of the changes brought since 2014. At various levels, there have been an effective use of technology for public good. This has made applications easier to receive and process. It has shortened processing time. And the use of post offices, the passport exercise is a real case of minimum Government, maximum governance. All these are central to our goal of approaching the world as a global workplace.

ii. Insofar as our nationals abroad and diaspora are concerned, we have again demonstrated through a ‘whole of the Government’ approach involving different Ministries that we are there when they really need us. It could be the Vande Bharat Mission or Operation Devi Shakti or the expanded use of Indian Community Welfare Funds. We are a human-centric Government dedicated to improving ease of living.

iii. Celebrations of International Yoga Day and International Ayurveda Day are telling examples of our ability to not only work seamlessly within the Government but also harness public energies. They have been extremely effective vehicles to project our civilization's message.

iv. Our economic activities also demonstrate the benefits of closer coordination and a broader reach-out. Whether it is the quest for technology, capital or best practices, or indeed the promotion of exports and projects, we have worked effectively with other Ministries to deliver. At a time when the Prime Minister himself has laid out a vision of our economic goals abroad, it is a matter of satisfaction that we have been able to step up performance substantially.

My appreciation goes to the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) for spearheading this event and for the opportunity provided to the Ministry of External Affairs to present our experience. At the same time, I believe this is an excellent opportunity for participants to observe and learn from best practices being followed by different Ministries and Departments with a view to effectively emulating them as appropriate.

Thank you once again. I wish you a very very productive day!

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