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Yoga Day: How ‘Chintan Shibir’ conceptualised in 2003 became hallmark of Modi governance

New Delhi, June 19: As the global community gears up to celebrate the 10th edition of International Yoga Day, this will mark another year of glory for India. Yoga, having taken birth in India, went global after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

It was after PM Modi’s address in the United Nations in September 2014 that Yoga was recognised by the global body and an annual day was allocated for its worldwide celebration. Interestingly, PM Modi’s penchant for Yoga not only earned it a global name and fame, but it also went to inculcate a new efficient work culture in government offices, which came to be associated with the idea of ‘Chintan Shibir’. After becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi was determined to imbibe a new work culture in the state, and as part of a larger vision, emphasised on developing co-ordination and synergy between the ministry and concerned government departments. For this, he also suggested informal meetings between the two.

It was here that the idea of Chintan Shibir came into existence in 2003. Chintan Shibir, an annual bureaucratic conclave held in Gujarat brought together the Chief Minister, his Cabinet and the entire bureaucracy ranging from District Collectors and development officers for a brainstorming session for three days. During the three-day period, bureaucrats also performed Yoga with then Gujarat CM Modi. Officers and employees of every category started attending these meetings and also began getting to know each other personally.

As a result of this new sociable working style, officers and other staff got along well with each other and most problems began to be solved through informal ‘phone calls’ rather than through paperwork. This informal mechanism of governance also made the officers ‘responsible’ and ‘accountable’. The Chintan Shibirs, started by (Gujarat CM) Modi in 2003, showed promising results. His new style of governance and handling of the bureaucracy made such an impact that it started drawing praise from all over and many other states came forward to emulate the Gujarat model.

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