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Modi govt gives lateral entry a fresh push, wants to recruit 30 senior officers

Govt has advertised 30 posts through lateral entry at the level of joint secretaries and directors in ministries, PSUs and departments.

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New Delhi: Two years after the Modi government launched its ambitious lateral entry scheme, the government has now advertised 30 posts at the level of joint secretaries (JS) and directors for lateral recruitment.

According to a UPSC advertisement, online applications have been invited for ministries, departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies by 31 March. The contract would be for a period of three years.

Lateral entry positions at the level of JS have been opened in the ministries of agriculture and farmers welfare, commerce and industry and finance.

For the director posts, positions have been advertised for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of Financial Services, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of School Education and Literacy, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Civil Aviation and in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

The lateral entrants will require 15 years of experience for the position of joint secretaries, and 10 for the position of directors.

In 2018, the government had said the lateral entry scheme would fulfil the twin purpose of bringing in domain expertise in the civil services and addressing the problem of shortage of IAS officers at the Centre.

In a statement to Parliament in July 2019, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh had said that on the basis of recommendations from NITI Aayog and the sectoral group of secretaries in 2017, the government was looking at making these appointments. “It has been decided, in principle, to appoint outside experts to 40 positions at deputy secretary/director level. However, no final decision has been taken in the matter,” he said at the time.

Also read: 60% IAS officers in CPR survey say India’s Covid numbers reflect low testing, underreporting

Lateral entry get a push

While for a long time there was no movement on the proposal, a source in DoPT told ThePrint that it had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The source added that this time the government will finish the process quickly since it is well-versed with the intricacies. “The UPSC will carry out the recruitment, as it did the last time… This time there is more clarity,” the source said. 

The Centre has been grappling with a sustained problem of shortage of IAS officers. 

In 2018, ThePrint had reported that due to a shortage at the state level, the central ministries and departments are managing with just 34 per cent of the officers they should ideally have. 

Last year, the central government made a change in the way officers are picked for joint secretary-level positions in the central government to grapple with shortage. The government tweaked its empanelment policy to ensure that only an officer who has served as director or deputy secretary for two years can become a joint secretary.

Also read: Union ministries ‘not in favour’ of proposal to exempt IIT faculty from caste-based quotas


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