Source: Amar Ujala (01-Oct-2018)

Bouquets to books: this IAS officer's change in tradition is an inspiration

It is common practice for Indians to welcome guests with garlands and coconuts. The gesture conveys respect and love towards the guest and establishes that they occupy a higher place (in a literal sense) than the host.

Suraj Mandhare is determined to change this very notion of hierarchy with government officials and civilians. Mandhare is the newly appointed CEO of Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP). He is an IAS officer who has worked as the Deputy Municipal Commissioner (land acquisition) with the Pune Municipal Corporation and as the Deputy Commissioner (revenue). He was recently shifted from the office of Chief Secretary in Mumbai to Pune. Mandhare wants to remove the sense of importance that government officials get. However, he is sensitive towards the sentiments of civilians and understands the show of gratitude behind the garlands and coconut. He urges citizens to swap garlands for books instead. Mandhare has also issued circulars addressing all the HoDs (Head of Departments) insisting they do not accept flowers or garlands from citizens either or their official tours or in the office. He believes that if people genuinely want to show their gratitude to the government officers, books would be a more suitable gift.

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