President Pranab Mukherjee today said he shared the perception that bureaucrats face political pressure and advised civil servants to be patient and communicate to politicians what cannot be done.
Mukherjee told IAS officers that they need not subject themselves to political pressure or interference, but asked them to also understand the compulsion of political leaders who are answerable to those who have chosen them.
"I know more often we hear the complaint that many a thing could not be done or implemented due to political interference. I do not hesitate to share the perception, yes it is there," he said, while addressing IAS officers at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.
"My advice to senior civil servants is be a little patient, tell him (politician) this cannot be done, why it cannot be done," he said.
Mukherjee recalled his first stint as a minister in the 1970s, saying he had a learned IAS officer as secretary whom he once asked if he felt "embarrassed" taking instructions from a newcomer like him
He quoted his secretary's reply, "Mr Minister, when I receive instructions from you, I do not look at your face. I look beyond your face, at the vast multitudes of people of this country who have chosen you to be here".
The President said India could never become a theocratic state and stressed that secularism was deep-rooted in the country.
He urged IAS officers to work towards strengthening institutions and said women should be encouraged to come forward as this was necessary for any civilisation to grow and prosper.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said bureaucrats should be neutral and work to strengthen institutions.