Development Administrative Officers should be trailblazers in technological advancement - Prime Minister | Daily News

SLIDA Convocation 2023:

Development Administrative Officers should be trailblazers in technological advancement - Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the SLIDA convocation.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the SLIDA convocation.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday said that the Development Administrative Officers should become trailblazers in technological advancement. 

“Gone are the days when one would demand for a desk and chair and clerks. Most of all now sits by a device no more than the size of your palm. Even more, you are now both physically and virtually potential to serve the people,” he said 

He added that corruption, waste, and idling has been top of the accusations against State agencies. Newest to join this wagon is ‘duplication’ of institutions and roles. 

“Not only vertically as State or provincial or local authorities, but even horizontally in each of these layers, these four burdens are the most criticized drawbacks that need to be addressed and rectified by Sri Lanka’s Administrative Service in the next 25 years,” the Premier said. 

The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote speech at the SLIDA Convocation at the BMICH yesterday. 

Excerpts from the speech: 

“At the very outset, let me extend my warmest congratulations to all graduates being admitted to the Master’s in Public Management and Diploma in Public Management at the SLIDA Convocation 2023. 

“It is indeed a great moment to have completed and accrued knowledge while achieving an academic excellence in the arena of Development Administration, certainly one of the most important pillars of our nation’s forward march. 

“Just as much as in any other corner of the world, the books, texts and scripts at this institution would have correctly taught you that in concept the ‘Development Administration’ is a complexity of agencies, management systems, and processes a government establishes to achieve its development goals. 

“Development Administration is about projects, programmes, policies, and ideas among others, focused on socio-economic or socio-political development of society, carried out by talented and skilled bureaucrats. However, this similarity in concepts and theories end at the ‘venue’ and ‘time’ of implementation. 

“In your case, Sri Lanka in the post-Covid era is striding towards celebrating its centenary since independence. I’m talking about the next 25 years. 

“As a rule-of–thumb look at the Agriculture sector, intuitive methods can no longer feed our growing population and its demands. Previously, it was a meeting place for agronomist, chemist, microbiologist, geneticist, and practically every branch of science. But this meeting place now demands a greater role from the administrative structure as well. 

“From grassroots government officers through divisional secretaries to district secretaries to a variety of other related agencies consists of this structure. That is why this very important meeting place is getting transformed under the Government’s declared policy of ‘Food Security and Nutrition’ drive, and surely this drive must keep pace and direction.

“Secondly, the truth about the angry men and women of Lanka, both in the service, as well as among those the service has to deal with in society. 

“The difference here is that you would know clearly what it is that has generated your anger, as men and women in possession of the highest forms of knowledge in the age in which you live can make available to you. 

“I can well imagine that you must often shed tears of sheer frustration, living and working as you do in the post-Covid society still burdened economically, politically, socially and psychologically. 

“Let me share some advice my father the late Philip Gunawardena gave; “The important thing is that you do not permit your anger to cool and to degenerate into a permanent attitude of passivity; that you do not become resigned to the present state of affairs; instead that you utilise your creative powers and disciplined minds to devise new ways of directing your anger, so that the obstacles with which you are faced today will finally be overcome. 

“This is certainly is a great challenge to all of you, but remember that it is one that you equally share with colleagues in all other post-COVID countries. 

“Look at Asian giant India, they have become the fourth largest economy in the world and remained the largest democracy throughout its post-independence of 75 years. This is mostly thanks to a well wielded administrative infrastructure put in place by India’s first Home Minister Sri Vallabbhai Patel. 

“His wisdom in foreseeing that India, which was a scattered place of princely States and colonial territories before, transformed into as a one country and a robust place for economic growth designed with participation of entrepreneurs and the people in the development”. 

“Then look at Asian giant China, they are the second largest economy in the world and have been the most populated country in the world for the past 75 years. Their political doctrine rescued over 100 million people out of poverty in the past year, and further rescued close to 800 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years. 

“This was possible only as a result of the transformation helped by ‘barefoot doctors’ where individuals even from no-medical fields played dynamic multiple roles in rural development, understanding poverty, malnutrition, and indigenous industries. 

“Sri Lanka joins these Asian giants in celebrating 75 years of independence. In the next 25 years, climate change will be the biggest challenge, period, especially, even more as an island nation. Development Policy and Implementation both will have to seriously revisit the demands of Nature. 

“Just last year Sri Lanka lost US$ 300 million through flood damage. I remember this figure was around US$ 250 million 20 years ago when I co-chaired the ozone summit. Climate change is real and is already making a serious impact on Sri Lanka.” 

“In conclusion, as a mark of gratitude I wish to remember a galaxy of outstanding men and women who served and inspired the Civil Service and us. Therefore I call upon all of you and SLIDA to shoulder a new path to deliver the aspirations of Mother Lanka.” 


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