Coronavirus Pandemic Has Redefined India's Governance Models: Senior Bureaucrat V Srinivas
Senior bureaucrat V Srinivas on Thursday said the coronavirus pandemic has redefined India's governance models with virtual meetings and social distancing becoming the new normal. Addressing a webinar, he said the Indian experience of working from home has been successful at the national, state and district levels.
- Last Updated: October 8, 2020, 21:06 IST
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New Delhi: Senior bureaucrat V Srinivas on Thursday said the coronavirus pandemic has redefined India’s governance models with virtual meetings and social distancing becoming the new normal. Addressing a webinar, he said the Indian experience of working from home has been successful at the national, state and district levels.
“It’s an unprecedented year for governance, education, health care, economy, jobs and travel,” said Srinivas, Additional Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. He was speaking at a session on ‘Maintaining Mental Health: Working From Home’ during the webinar organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and the University of Melbourne, Australia.
“The coronavirus pandemic has redefined India’s governance models. It’s important to recognise the importance of leadership roles public administrators have played in the COVID-19 pandemic. The overwhelming motto has been commitment to the larger public good against all odds,” Srinivas said. Getting to live with the coronavirus has meant less contact governance, officials having to work in masks and gloves and adoption of work from home policies for nearly 66-75 per cent workforce, he said.
There has been a lot of emphasis on digital decision-making in the central secretariat, said Srinivas, a 1989-batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre. “The implementation experience has been successful. Seventy-five ministries adopted e-office, with 57 ministries achieving more than 80 per cent of work on e-office. Nearly 17 lakh e-files have been created in the central secretariat, he said.
During this long period of work from home, senior officials constantly interacted with staff in virtual meetings, Srinivas said at the webinar Mental HealthLooking Beyond COVID-19. This enabled employees to overcome a sense of feeling isolated, lonely or disconnected from an office environment. It also ensured that they stayed motivated and enabled prioritisation of work-loads, he said. Srinivas said employees were advised to create boundaries between work time’ and home time’; create a specific place at home from where they could work; and to stay connected with co-workers and top leadership by regular virtual and phone meetings. They were advised to manage stress through problem solving, relaxation and meditation, and doing activities which they enjoyed, he said. The officials worked long and hard from home at designated work places free of distractions, Srinivas said.
Stress levels were overcome by frequent communications at work, flexible schedules, social distancing and adoption of government regulations. The performance of Indian civil servants can be an inspiration to one and all, he said.
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