Friday, January 27, 2023
HomeIndiaGovernanceLateral entry into civil services: IAS aspirants happy, IITians happier

Lateral entry into civil services: IAS aspirants happy, IITians happier

Text Size:

UPSC aspirants at Delhi’s coaching hub and engineers at IIT cheered the move but also cautioned that transparency and neutrality may be compromised.

New Delhi: Students aspiring to join the ranks of the country’s steel frame, the bureaucracy, are delighted at the government’s move to open up the system to include private sector professionals and domain experts.

The news was received with much enthusiasm in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, the nerve centre of coaching schools in the capital, and the elite corridors of IIT-Delhi. There were a few voices of caution as well.

Better management

Most IAS aspirants believe the lateral entry scheme will boost productivity of work. People with domain knowledge will certainly perform much better, was the chorus at Mukherjee Nagar.

“A person who has done several years of work in the same field will certainly have more experience than us,” said UPSC aspirant Amit Dey from Kolkata.

Dev Thakur, who is from Kanpur, said: “People will be able to pursue their passions, which will make them much more productive and help them do greater justice to the job.”

Pooja Choubey, an IAS aspirant from Noida said the move is beneficial for people who have been working for a long time in their own field and have accumulated considerable experience.

Gautam Chaudhary, who runs a private coaching centre in Mukherjee Nagar, too applauded the move.

“At the top level we need experts to perform. We have seen how people in the private sector have been able to demonstrate higher performances, so inducting them into the public sector will be a good move.”

Backdoor entry

But Chaudhary also advised caution. On paper it might look as if the job goes to the best man or woman, he said, but the possibility that a government might stuff the civil service with its own people remains high.

“The question of back-door entry, of trust between the government and the supposedly neutral civil service, must be addressed,” he said.

Ravishankar, an IAS aspirant from Patna, agreed. “There is the possibility that bureaucrats will favour friends and family,” he said, pointing out that the “question of bias” remains high and must be addressed.

Students are also worried that their hard work will go to waste.

“I had to leave engineering and start studying for the UPSC exam. This is the second-time I am attempting it. My time has been wasted as a result of switching fields,” said Dev Thakur.

The mood at IIT Delhi

In sharp contrast, a majority of students and researchers at IIT Delhi welcomed the step. They said the lateral entry scheme will reform the way India works and significantly improve administrative efficiency.

“Decision-making quality will improve. Today, people in the civil services are forced to take decisions in areas they know nothing about,” said Vikas Sharma, a post-doctoral fellow.

“For example, an official with a humanities background is forced to take decisions in specialised areas like science and information technology. This makes no sense. But with outside experts who have domain knowledge, the quality of decisions will definitely improve,” he said.

According to Sharma, India’s bureaucracy has lost its competitive edge. “If this step leads to greater efficiency, it might improve its image.”

But Janmajay Kumar, a project associate, felt that improved efficiency would be limited to certain spheres only.

“Areas such as finance, commerce, trade and sciences require a different set of skills and exposure that might be better found in people coming from the corporate world and experience. But for other positions where technical knowhow isn’t that essential, ordinary civil servants can perform as well,” Kumar said.

Gurjinder Singh, working on his second attempt to crack the UPSC exam, said the step will push civil servants to drop their old ways and learn to compete with specialists from the outside world.

“They will stop taking their jobs for granted. They will have to prove why they continue to deserve that position,” he said.

Gurjinder said because of the new plan he feels relaxed. “I thought if I didn’t clear the civil services exam, I would never be able to enter the system. But now I know I can do well in my job for the next 15 years and still make it.”

Brain Drain

Several students felt the lateral entry scheme would encourage qualified engineers to stay and serve their country, instead of looking for greener pastures abroad.

“The opening up of opportunities may even help reverse brain drain, as people bring back the best practices they have learnt abroad,” said Sharma.

But Balwant Chauhan, who completed his M.Tech this year, said the real problem with the bureaucracy was that it needed substantial overhaul and steps like lateral entry only tinkered with the system.

After all, people like Raghuram Rajan and Arvind Panagariya were both lateral entrants into the RBI and Niti Aayog, Chauhan pointed out, but were they able to change the internal processes of these institutions?

“To become a professor in IIT, you need to prove yourself constantly, by writing papers and doing research. The hiring policy is rigorous, which is why the top-quality teaching is able to produce top-quality students. The UPSC must approach its potential cadre with the same mindset,” he said.

Concerns ahead

Singh insisted that the new steps will only work if recruitment procedures are kept transparent. “If key positions are still determined by politicians then this policy may not serve the purpose,” he said.

Kumar also pointed out that the autonomy of institutions might be at risk.

“Today the government has control over key institutions essential for maintaining the checks and balances in a functional democracy like India. For example, the CBI or the Election Commission. These officials are mostly neutral, they don’t have much autonomy. But if people are handpicked by the government and placed in these key positions, then the autonomy of those institutions may deteriorate,” he said.

पढ़ें हिंदी में: सिविल सेवाओं में लेटरल एंट्री: आईएएस उम्मीदवार खुश,आईआईटी वालों की ख़ुशी का ठिकाना नहीं

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. As evident, there are two type of Judges in India one who knows law and one who knows Law Minister alike situation will arise in top Bureaucracy level such as One who is very Intelligent i.e recruited through UPSC IAS Exam and one who is qualified but not performing upto mark at Corporate industry but has Political favour. Because the person who is qualified as well as outperforming at Corporate level will never show interest to leave handsome Salary and Privileges provided by the company. So , ultimately those will be shortlisted for lateral entry who have good favour in political sphere as well as become almost non-productive at Corporate sector. Because everybody knows the position of a Bureaucrat in front of a Politician.Lateral Entry will obviously be a non-trasparent policy to inflow favourable candidate to administration and to make seperate entity from IAS Officers. There will be no one coming through lateral entry to oppose the decision of the ruling party.It will ease their way of ruling their constituency.
    Concluding the move is good but implementation will not serve the actuality.

  2. I m also an ias aspirant and many of my friends are ,but none of us are happy with this move …it’s not fair policy because aspirants sacrifice and work hard for years together for getting into ias .by lateral entry one who is close to the govt I mean ministers can get easier entry …this is not what should be the way to select bureaucrats

  3. The idea is good but there is so many problems arrive when it implemented because we see so many backdoor here so it is not a good idea for such type of respected service.
    Thank you

  4. This move is just to support people of RSS community and let them entry into the administration without giving the exam,as the people in RSS know they have no potential to crack the civil services exam. Why it didn’t happen in the rule of some another government?? Why all oppositions are against it?? simply because they know the government want their people to enter the even if they are not the ruling party after the next election, they will have their own people in the administration. They are straightaway going against the laws mentioned in the Constitution book as article 314-322 says that no political party or power can interfere in the selection process of the candidates. Truly a black event for our democracy.

  5. Most of the people are talking in favour of this ridiculous decision jst bcs of they are scared to talk against d government decisions !!! I am upsc aspirant & I oppose this decision !!! If gov. is really very sensitive towards reform in civil services it should first go through the administrative reform commission report suggestions !!!

  6. Absolutely ridiculous, I don’t know what kind of people you interviewed. Lateral entry is just another kind of scam. Not just current but future Govts too, will misuse it to their personal benefits. These domain knowledge & expertise are all are flowery phrases to justify the move. But one must understand the process one goes through to get selected an IAS officer. It’s a process which moulds anyone (with absolutely no knowledge of governance) to be a master of governance. To fix india, fixing political class is the need of hour & not recruitment process of bureaucrats.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular