The lateral entry scheme, announced in June, has been held up so far amid the UPSC’s struggle with ‘sketchy’ applications.

New Delhi: The candidates who applied for the Narendra Modi government’s lateral entry scheme for IAS and other civil services will have to send in fresh applications because the original advertisement was reportedly poorly drafted and understated the eligibility criteria.

In an advertisement issued by the Department of Personnel and Training in June, the government announced its decision to appoint 10 private sector specialists as joint secretaries in different departments of the Central government.

By 30 July, the deadline, an estimated 6,077 candidates had applied.

But the process has been held up as the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) struggled to shortlist candidates on the basis of the “sketchy” and “unusable” information received, sources said.

Now, the Modi government has issued a fresh job advertisement seeking “detailed” applications.

But with just months to go for the general elections and no timeline for recruitment set by the government, it is unlikely that this pet initiative of Prime Minister Modi will see the light of the day before the new government is formed.

In a notification issued this week, the UPSC said, “The essential qualifications indicated in the original advertisement are the minimum and mere possession of the same does not entitle candidates to be called for test/interview.

“The candidate should, therefore, mention all his/her qualifications and experience in the relevant field over and above the minimum qualifications,” it added.

The commission also said that it may take a recruitment test to shortlist candidates.


Also read: Modi govt’s plan to allow lateral entry into IAS is stuck


Wrong advertisement

The original advertisement just cited a graduation degree from a recognised university/institute as the qualification criterion, and did not ask for supporting documents.

The new notification seeks the testimonials for a candidate’s educational qualifications, as well as his/her professional experience.

“For experience, up-to-date… experience certificate, unambiguously indicating the nature of duties, dates and duration of experience, level/position, responsibilities etc issued by the employer may be uploaded,” the UPSC ad states.

“The information we had got from the applications that the DoPT invited was very sketchy, and not adequate to make any assessment, so we had to invite detailed applications,” a top official in the UPSC said.

The UPSC has made it clear in the notification that applications without supporting documents will not be considered.

“People can claim anything [about their qualifications], but one has to go according to documents… It is basic HR policy,” the official said.

Longer wait?

The idea of the lateral entry scheme is to invite fresh talent into the government. It is also pegged as a measure to address the shortage of IAS officers in the Central government.

The concept itself is not new. Two prominent examples of lateral entry in today’s administration are Rajesh Kotecha, special secretary in the Ministry of AYUSH, and retired IAS officer Parameshwaran Iyer, who is a Secretary in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The government’s advertisement for the 10 joint secretary positions was an attempt to institutionalise this practice.

The UPSC official approached by ThePrint said they would try to complete the selection process “in a timely manner”.

“The information we’ve sought now is specific and pointed,” the official added. “The forms we have sent are like the online recruitment forms available on the UPSC website for other things, so we’ll try and complete the process in a timely manner.”

Also read: Centre’s IAS officers shortage: Need for lateral entry of experts or should states fix gap?

‘Confusion’

ThePrint had reported earlier that once the July deadline expired, the UPSC and the cabinet secretariat were at sea about how to take the recruitment process forward.

“The reason why there was so much confusion is that the DoPT advertisement was not drafted properly,” said an IAS officer who did not want to be named.

“Had the criteria been specified properly in the first go, they wouldn’t have got so many applications to begin with…

“The government did not know what to do with 6,000 applications, many of which may have been not worthy of consideration…,” the officer added.

However, Abhishek Chandra, the secretary of the IAS Association, said even the new advertisement left one question unanswered.

“As bureaucrats, we have a two-year cooling off period, before which we cannot take a corporate job, to prevent conflict of interest,” he said.

“Would the same restriction apply to people who are being recruited from the private sector [when their assignment with the government ends]?” he added.

“In fact, for them since they come from the private sector the cooling-off period should be five years,” he said.

“If such a provision is added then a lot of people will not apply.”

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Take the example of Shakti Kanta Das. He is BA and MA in History, and has/had been pushed into economics jobs. An engineering or math student can handle such a job better because it requires more than a passing familiarity with mathematics and statistics. These two are not the subjects that you can “start” learning past your prime learning years, say up to the age of 20-22. Up to this age Mr Das was occupied and engrossed with History.

    So, it looks a candidate’s “pliability” is a bigger qualification than the relevant professional experience in the eyes of the present government. Lateral entry into IAS could facilitate just that. Not just the present, but future governments too may exploit this facility to accommodate “desired” candidates (as against “desirable”).

    Why not instead adopt an open mindset to INVITE “consultants” from the relevant private companies on short tenures? This will also give the minister flexibility to try out more than one consultants, or different consultants for different arms of a project. The biggest advantage of the consultant route will be that only a few select people with PROVEN expertise will be approached, instead of taking a blind call as advertising in newspapers etc. Take the example of Mr Sridharan (I hope I have got the name right) who fructified the Konkan Railway, and was thereafter also involved with Delhi metro. He is the kind of outsider who can replace a senior most IAS officer when it comes to such projects. Let such an expert “choose” other younger experts for some feeder projects, each of whom might replace or act in the place of another IAS officer, and so on.

    This idea of facilitating blanket entry of outsiders into IAS cadre through advertisements is a dangerous one and liable to be misused, or most likely to be misused as long as the BJP is in power. Because in their case, the “alleged” suitable candidate will necessarily have to carry the Hindutva feather in his cap otherwise he won’t be found suitable.

  2. Every government will have its own requirements.If,as mr.Bhatia says,the BJP would like someone who sympathises with its views,surely,the Congress party is more than likely to want someone who will acquiese to their commands.

    • Preeta ji, I too have voiced the same fear in the second para of my comment (the “desired” and “desirable” bit). But we must remember that the Congress was in power for many decades and never did this idea of lateral IAS come up; BJP too was in power under Atal ji and this idea was never mooted; it is only under Mr Modi that it has come up, and brought with it the fears of possible misuse, because there are other examples under the present government when a person has been selected for a post that wasn’t justified by his background. Like Mr Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief. Lastly, my name is BhatLa. (Never mind, I’m used to seeing people make this mistake!)

  3. As an IAS officer, Das did an advanced financial management course from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and got development banking and institutional credit from the National Institute of Bank Management. He also got in-service professional training in financial management in Institute Public Enterprises.

  4. Dr Das is fit candidate. If you have no technical qualification it means nothing. TrumpTheresa May PM Modi are politician who run the foreign policy. And all big inventions were done by those who were not scientist in true way. IAS officer are prrfect
    They know much. Who can discuss issue in WTO in UNO. They have run RBI before and will run best. So dnt pass poor comment pl

  5. High time UPSC was wound up. It has been an unmitigated disaster. Delays all around. The Govt ought to punish persons who drafted original advertisement.

  6. That our Babus don’t change their red tapism shows when one of them says “They should have a cool off period of 5 years from employment”. Imagine someone quitting their job today and living off others to apply for a few lateral entry positions after 5 years. This is a sure recipe to have single digit applicants so that they can select easily.

  7. When there is a shortage of an IAS officers in the adminstration why the posts are being reduced every year even though there are number of vacancies ? On the other hand pm modis government is heading towards minimum governance .so what could be the better solution to fill the shortage ?

  8. The government is fully capable of doing what it really wants to do with excellence. The key phrase “it really wants”. If a few months have gone by and it is still not able implement a policy decision taken at the highest level, there is a serious possibility that some of the key people involved in the implementation are not having their heart in this decision.
    I have been one of those who joined laterally into a PSU at about a similar level from a private sector background. I have seen how in small ways the system is made to not accept outsiders. When I had been interviewed for a Director level position in the same PSU by the PESB, one of the members mentioned about the inability of private sector people to handle the complexity etc.
    Also the initial advertisement in the present case is for a contractual position. There will be lots of tacit discrimination through which, even when the positions are filled by competent people, they will be not welcome and not allowed to function. The hidden traps of CVC and others also exist amidst the confounding cross rules and procedures , as only those who are past masters and who are trained in the system to think like them can survive these hidden traps. But for those who feel the thrill of the unknown and are desirous of making a small difference, there are lots of opportunities provided one is lucky to get a good boss and/or team. One must have patience and tolerance for lots of wastes in the system.

  9. The Lateral Entry Scheme Will Certainly Be Misused To Bring In Favorites In Top Seats So That They May Be Used As The Political Masters Desire. Urjit Patel. Former RBI Governor Is A Case In Point; Though He Revolted Against Who Brought Him In. Now A History PG Has Been Brought In Economic Affairs? Will He Do Justice To RBI Except Licking Soles Of His Masters?

  10. It is not the problem of lateral entry, some of the members saying it is a pet project of Modi ji , yes every p m will come with some dream project, as it was atal ji golden quadrant , so the infrastructure boom developed, but the lateral entry must go through a transparent process and some good technocrats will be part of our elite civil services

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