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5 reasons why IAS officers are alarmed by Modi govt’s lateral entry push

Civil servants raise concerns as Modi govt wants to recruit larger numbers of domain experts at the director and deputy secretary level.

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New Delhi: The Modi government’s plan to reform the civil service by laterally recruiting scores of domain experts has alarmed civil servants.

The Modi government had in its first term recruited nine joint secretaries from the private sector on a pilot basis. After returning to power with a thumping majority last month, it wants to recruit larger numbers of domain experts at the director and deputy secretary level.

The government has already begun working on the proposal which was part of the 100-day plan prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training.

While it is not clear when the modalities of the proposal — such as who will recruit these officers, what exactly will be their terms of recruitment etc. — will be fleshed out, the plan itself has led to serious concerns among serving civil servants.

The following are the five key concerns of civil servants, a wide cross-section of who spoke to ThePrint on the condition of anonymity to be able to express themselves freely.

What about us?

The move is bound to have a demoralising effect on serving civil servants who join the service at a young age of 24-25 and continue to work in the government for their entire career hoping to climb the ladder with time, say officers.

“Suddenly, you say that you guys continue to work at the lower levels, but for the higher ones, we will hire people from the private sector… It’s not fair,” said a director-level officer working in the central government.

Also read: UPSC has shortlisted lateral entry aspirants, but no one knows when they’ll be appointed

“If you want lateral entry, then allow lateral exits also,” said another senior IAS officer.

“These lateral entrants are going to go back into the private sector with more leverage after working in the government… But existing officers can’t go anywhere — you are taking their domain away from them, and not allowing them to explore other options,” the officer added.

Former Union secretary Anil Swarup said civil servants may not be experts, but have leadership qualities. “You can outsource expertise but not leadership.”

Fewer government jobs

If the government’s proposal of recruiting hundreds of individuals via lateral entry comes through, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will have to hire fewer people, an official from the commission said.

“Logically speaking, we will have to hire fewer people if the proposal comes through… Otherwise it would only mean that we take more people and their growth gets arrested at higher stages,” the UPSC official said.

This would mean fewer prestigious government jobs since five-year contracts cannot be called full-fledged government jobs, said the IAS officer quoted above.

“Domain experts don’t really need jobs… So by giving them contracts for a few years, you’re not ensuring employment,” the officer said.


While it is unclear if the government will give reservation to officers recruited through lateral entry, even if it does, it would be extremely difficult to find successful individuals from the reserved communities in the private sector at senior posts, said a Dalit IAS officer.

“The private sector has never had reservation and therefore, people from underprivileged communities hardly ever make it big there… So how is the government going to find domain experts from underprivileged groups?” the senior officer said.

Of the nine laterally recruited domain experts by UPSC this year, none belonged to the SC/ST communities, the officer pointed out.

Moreover, the Modi government’s own quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) will be rendered “un-implementable”, he added.

“Which domain expert will you find in the private sector who belongs to the EWS category?”

Also read: This madrasa graduate is in line to be IAS, IPS officer, says it helped him crack UPSC exam


If the government goes through with its plans, it must chalk out a foolproof method to ensure accountability of these domain experts even after the end of their contracts, said another IAS official.

“We remain accountable to the government throughout our careers because the government is our karta-dharta (whole and soul),” the official said.

“How will you ensure the same degree of accountability from someone who is simply going to walk back into a well-paying private job after five years?”

There is no cooling-off period that has been stipulated for the nine laterally recruited individuals for the post of joint secretaries. Even the 54 domain experts to be hired by Niti Aayog are not going to have a cooling-off period.

Swarup too agreed that accountability will be a major issue.

“As civil servants, we take an oath to the constitution…if something goes wrong, we’re held liable. How do you fix responsibility here?” he asked.

What about specialised services?

The criticism of being “generalists” may hold true for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), but officers from other services like the forest, revenue, telecom, etc. believe that they are domain experts, who have been neglected at the cost of the IAS.

“If the government is taking such a radical step, it might as well stop recruiting officers from specialised services altogether,” said an IFS officer.

“For so long, we are neglected because our expertise is apparently too limited, and then suddenly we are told we need domain expertise, but we’ll bring it from outside… It doesn’t quite add up.”

Also read: UPSC recruitment has fallen 40% since 2014 while govt struggles to fill IAS-IPS vacancies


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  1. A lot of people are saying > UPSC is a exam of RATTA. I ll give you my car and house if any of you can clear it with ratta. go try . ignoring and incompetent people who failed miserably in life stroking their ego by belittling the exam. BTW it is such a ratta exam that IIT RANK 1 prutvi tej / iim iit both gold medalist topper and many more iit aiiims iim topper are topping it. by RATTA. okay. those type of comments only show how ignorant you are. barking at such qualified people dont reduce their shine. when elephant goes many dogs bark. dont matter to elephant . remember that.

  2. We need domain expert to fuel growth. Government officials become complacent after qualifying exam and become lieutenants of politicians. Most of these officers stop learning and do not update themselves with time unlike peers in private sector who keep growing and grooming themselves due to fear of being removed at any time Also, reservation has led to casteism in various services. I myself have seen officers who have no knowledge of their field.

    IAS officers are not industry expert and are just managers who enjoy excessive powers. Most of them have no knowledge and expertise about departments they are handling. They often undermine junior officers of the department who are more qualified in matters pertaining to the department.

    Govt should examine and test officers every 5 years. All the benifits should be ended.

    IAS service should be ended. Promotee officers from respective services should lead their department and not IAS. This will increase efficiency and remove politics from government services.

  3. Today’s India can’t afford to let the wheels be driven by officers who are inept and incompetent.
    We may not have a strong govt like this again and we got to make full use of the next 5 years.
    only take / promote people who are worthy and not cs they belong to a certain caste.
    The rot of these inept lazy and corrupt ias officers have pulled india down for far too long. Time to take only the best , Even if it means outsourcing from private sector.

  4. U won’t find dalit student Or st/sc student in expertise level in private sector because there is no reservation as they only focus on talent not some bullshit title. Reservation will be waterloo of India.

  5. Our ias officers are nalayak. Even if you demote all of them , they will continue service because they are incapable, lazy

  6. Why hue&cry,is it worth while to carry out oldest model for New India.Change is the law of nature let it takes place.Bureaucratic monopoly is like kingship & howlong is to be carried out.Secondly every system has ills let them clean up.UPSC has its santity in recruiting finest civil servants so it will recruit finest specialists too.

  7. Definitely we require domain experts in every Departments, generalists are no more required, see logic is clear cut, if somebody has cleared IAS, 30 years ago, only this criteria is not sufficient to head a Scientific Department.

  8. All these comments disregarding and disrespecting officers have no right whatso ever to say such things……cracking india’s toughest exam and surviving at a minimalist salary of 56k per month yet striving to do their work continuously…getting transferred every 2 years on different districts with their child’s education suffering and not gettig a day off at high times of the year….and not even a fixed time of work isnt something these no names can even think of yet they speak ill of those officers who are giving their all to the country…..imagine if the ias officers stop working for the government what would happen…..its easy to say that they live like kings and queens but we must not forget that to live like a king one has to strive like one…..oh but sorry these lazy asses wont understand that since they are influenced by evil repersentation of officers in shitty bollywood and south indian movies which is not true most of the time

  9. The government itself had a culture of domain experts. There were any number of solid professional recruited through the Indian Engineering Services with resumes so impressive it would put the best from the private sector to shame. However, over the years emphasis moved from merit to things like social justice. In addition, every job that does require serious expertise today is also overseen by IAS officers. A generalist running the show typically has little patience for serious expertise – that’s human nature.

    Increasingly, the world with rely on data driven decision making, and modern governance will have to evolve to fit that paradigm. The IAS system is completely unfit for purpose in that new paradigm.

    However, I do agree that any IAS officer that wishes to seek jobs in the private sector should be allowed to do so freely, merely after ensuring that there is no conflict of interest.

  10. Yes we need domain experts in this age of globalisation and specialisation. Also we need generalists who can connect expertise across domains. Those that connect expertise across domains don’t need to have domain expertise but general knowledge. That’s why we have IAS. Well, technicalities aside, those that are appreciating Modi for this move should remember that Modi isn’t an educated man and his ministers too are less educated for the roles and jobs they have now. Which domain experts shall we recruit for the post of a “generalist” politician? We have the need to implement the same in politics if we have the need to implement it for the learned ones’ job – IAS.

  11. People who are saying that IAS has not contributed positively in the development of this country are ignorent or they simply don’t know or don’t understand the reality. It has negative side also but it does not mean that it is completely useless. Tell me one doesn’t private sector indulge in many illegal activities to maximise their profits. Candidates of IAS have immense experience of working on the ground root level which a professional from private sector is completely devoid off. Yes there is a need of structural reform like passing civil services act, which is even repeated by supreme court several times. The political interference is immense in their day to day work, which is completely absent in private sector. U remove this one hurdle and u will see how efficient our civil services is. They can even surpass private sector in this case. Candidates recuited through civil services are way more talented and genius as compare to private sector guys. Afterall they join civil services after clearing the toughest exam if this country,whereas u can easily get selected in private sector by simply cracking a simple campus placement. First government should try to utilize talent of civil servents by bringing structural reforms and by removing several bottlenecks like political interference.

    • Stop repeating “toughest exam” crap all the time. The new generation is not interested nor awed by it. Passing the toughest exam doesn’t mean intelligence or creativity. Jobs guarantee should be only for effective delivery and problem-solving and not passing an exam.
      And remember India is still a third world country with all these toughest exams passed out candidates managing it.

      • You are right.. UPSC IS NOT THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST EXAM… GMAT and other exams are tougher… It’s just a ratta maar exam where candidates reproduce the same from newspapers and coaching materials in mains exam… Interview also doesn’t test their spontaneity and wit!

        • Ohh really Ratta maar? IT’s anything but ratta maar. You need to have deep knowledge to analyze a current issue and form your opinion. Go through a CSE paper and you guys will be ashamed of your level of knowledge pertaining India and the world. You don’t have the guts to join the system that’s it. Just admit that you are ignorant and an escapist. !

      • You are just an ignorant fool. New gen is very much awed by it. Young IITians/top graduates are striving to be a part of IAS just to make a positive difference! You private sector employees are just a bunch of frustrated idiots. You can never see the positive side of India’s development. Today policies like SBM, Ujjawala, are successful due to these officers. You idiots can never provide solutions or have the guts to join the system. Just blame and live your pathetic life. And yes its the toughest exam.!! And you dont have the balls to crack it.

      • You are just an ignorant fool. New gen is very much interested to join the civil services. IITians/Top graduates are striving hard to be a part of it and make a positive difference. You private sector employees are just a bunch of frustrated idiots without any authority to influence the system. Schemes like SBM, Ujjwala, are successful due to these officers. And can you idiots generalize every IAS as corrupt? Haven’t you heard of corporate scams? You people can never see the positive side of Indian development. You don’t have the guts to join the system. And yes its the toughest exam!! You don’t have the balls or the talent to crack it.

  12. / There is no cooling-off period that has been stipulated for the nine laterally recruited individuals for the post of joint secretaries. Even the 54 domain experts to be hired by Niti Aayog are not going to have a cooling-off period /
    Cooling-off period for private sector execs ? Will Anil Swarup fund their life during cooling-off ? Suddenly the IAS crowd has started fearing derailing of rules & regulations. Dumbos

  13. Why there is cry over IAS officers? Government allowed Ayush doctors to practice allopathy. That didn’t lead to any cry amongst IAS officers

  14. The govt is doing this only to promote their extreme policies which officers deny to implement, all on the instruction from some religion bodies.
    Let the upsc appoint these officers without fear and favour(that’s not gonna happen) then we can heap praises on the govt action.

  15. 1) Good Move by NDA. Yes the Comments by These Officers were really Funny. Accountability / Reservations . On a lighter note many would be Worried THAT they may have to return the Hefty dowries that they MAY have received.
    2) there has been a Unconfirmed Rumour in India that it is these Babu Logs who have been Responsible for the Riches of these Uneducated Indian Netalogs.

  16. When the same reason is given by cadre officers of CAPFs for the top post of their own organization where they give their blood
    and sweat throughout the life why it is opposed by IAS association to favor IPS who generally join CAPFs for two- three years without any domain expertise.Every time one can’t ask luxury as a right.Its a era of specialized cadre and govt will hav to implement this principle without further delay.

  17. These IAS officers are taking about accountability, it’s rediculous. These officers are most corrupt & root cause of the corruption in the system. See their & theirs family life style, the pompous & extravagant way their children live. From where they are getting so much money? It’s high time to cut their wings.

    • Hey mad , what you know about it.
      Who is Modi, he doesn’t know anything, it’s that officers who ran the country ,it’s their thinking and their scheme only.

  18. “We remain accountable to the government throughout our careers because the government is our karta-dharta (whole and soul),” the official said

    Former Union secretary Anil Swarup said civil servants may not be experts, but have leadership qualities. “You can outsource expertise but not leadership”

    What a cruel joke! Leadership and accountability sounds like a oxymoron for Indian civil service. Mostly incompetent, look where this IAS and other services have lead India to in last 75 years. Thirds world country still struggling to recover. Self serving bureaucracy, that’s all. Passing one exam should not lead to a permanent job.

    • Have you ever had the chance to see how they live….and who will you credit all the work that is done at higher levels if ias officers arent accountable then who is ?? The corrupt netas

    • “Passing one exam shouldnt lead to a permanent job” Mr. Vijay can you pass an exam where your chance of passing it is 0.00021% considering only 150 ias officers are selected while close to 700k aspirants give UPSC in a year…if you can crack that exam i am sure you would be worthy of a permanent job

      • Disagree, only effective delivery and problem-solving should be the criteria, not one exam. I don’t give a crap how tough the exam is or not. The present state of India and its citizens are clear evidence of the functioning of one exam wonders. I am sure there are few dedicated officers who really want to change, but believe me, most of them are just pen pushers who after passing the so-called toughest exam just relax after getting the job.

  19. First of all there should be performance and integrity for any promotion at IAS officer level rather than seniority. Second no PEU shall have ISS but domain expert and be accountable for losses or goal achievements. Some science and technology PSU can’t be measured on loss profit criteria but goal achievement.
    All reservations should be limited to entry level for IAS/IPS/IFS there after only performance counts. To make governance accountable and efficient having large pays and perks can’t be allowed based on seniority or reservation.
    Nepotism and feveritism must stop otherwise there will never be progress.

  20. Most of the civil servants are corrupted and they are operating the entire machinery. At the same time, private sector is not like that. Irresponsible persons cannot survive there and there is no possibility of corruption and looting public treasury. In government sector, reservation category prevails and they are unable to compete with latest scenarios. But in private sector, recruitment is purely based on merit and nothing else. What these IAS guys are going to do with leadership skills alone? Domain expertise is the key to run the machinery. Don’t the top executives from the private sector have leadership skills? Correct decision has been taken by Modi ji government to recruit from private sector and this lateral entry scheme has to be expanded and the present civil service system has to be scrapped.

  21. We need experts with hands on experience and not generalist who work with common sense. Modiji has taken bold decision to break the continuation of colonial practice. Further it would be good for us if stoppage of reemployment beuracrats .Only officers in service has accountability and such practices could minimises unemployment. Seems Govt. has taken right decision after 72 years of independence.

  22. The concerns of IAS and allied may be there but because of their incompetence that situation has come to such a pass that Govt has to think about lateral entry …. The present bureaucracy don’t want to change itself in the age of globalisation….. These bureaucrats till now are in a socialist mode and don’t want to be changed…. The writer is still far away from the ground realities in the Govt sector where these bureaucrats think themselves as Kings and Queens and rule authoritatively without concern of simmering discontent amongst subordinate staff….. Moreover, the writer should have known that there is no reservations for SC/ST or for any other at the level of Dy. Secretary or Joint secretary level…. Hence their apprehensions have no meaning…..

  23. Stirring the pot … One would not worry too much about the affirmative action bit. Select the best. Whatever scheme is drawn up, the recruitment should be through the UPSC. That red line should be non negotiable. Five years for a lateral entrant is too short a period to make a difference. Like a Hindu marriage, it should be for keeps. If I were to flip a coin, would say this is not a great, transformative idea. The bottlenecks are further up the food chain.

    • who thinks he knows all always giving negative perception to change lets give a chance to change in policy.. every change does have its detractors like you… so you keep doing B.S. … THINGS WILL CHANGE WEATHER YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE!

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