New Delhi: The Modi government is set to resume the task of reforming the recruitment of officers to the premier civil services.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), ThePrint has learnt, is expected to share its 100-day plan with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) this week with a recommendation for a unified foundation course on recruitment to top civil services such as the IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, among others.
It is also expected to recommend an expansion of the lateral entry programme, a top DoPT official said.
“The plan has been agreed upon in the ministry, and will be now presented to the PMO any day,” the official said.
‘Unified Foundation Course’
The idea of a unified foundation course was first proposed by the PMO last year. It was suggested that candidates selected by the UPSC would be allotted services not on the basis of their rankings in the UPSC exam, but on the basis of a unified foundation course.
The proposal, however, was put on the backburner after the government faced enormous backlash for attempting to tweak the recruitment of civil servants, and introducing a high degree of subjectivity in the process of service allocation.
The DoPT wants to make a fresh attempt to bring all 1,000-1,200 candidates selected by UPSC under a unified foundation course soon after they are recruited by the commission.
But it is not clear yet whether the ministry plans to tweak the service allocation rules on the basis of the foundation course or hold the course after the candidates are allotted their services.
One official said this is a first step towards implementing the original proposal to allot services after the foundation course.
“The ministry has been mulling over the issue for the past year since the idea has merit,” another official said. “We have been trying to find a way to introduce it in a manner that the criticism against the proposal is adequately addressed without diluting its merit,” the official added.
“Even last year the idea of holding a unified foundation course in the national capital was being explored.”
The foundation course is an introductory course for freshly recruited civil servants in India. While the course is mandatory for all, it is a formality since probationers are allocated services and cadre on the basis of their ranking in the UPSC, way before the course begins.
Expansion of lateral entry
Another fundamental reform that the DoPT is expected to share is the expansion of the lateral entry scheme under which the Modi government recruits domain experts into the bureaucracy.
According to sources, the DoPT would suggest expanding the lateral entry system at the director and deputy secretary level in the government.
As reported by ThePrint earlier this week, even NITI Aayog is set to hire over 50 domain experts through lateral entry at the level of directors, joint secretaries and additional secretaries.
Last year, the Modi government announced that it would recruit 10 domain experts as joint secretaries in the central government. Earlier this year, UPSC recommended the appointment of nine lateral entrants, who are yet to be given their appointment letters by the government.