New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is all set to expand the lateral entry of experts into the civil service through its think tank NITI Aayog.
According to highly-placed officials, the government plans to advertise about 50 positions in NITI Aayog at different levels, including directors, joint secretaries, additional secretaries, etc.
While NITI Aayog has hired consultants on contracts until now, the new posts would be at par with regular government servants, a senior official in the government said.
“We have identified the areas in which we want to hire people — there are 54 positions out of a total of 516 for which we will recruit laterally,” the official said.
“The advertisements for the posts should be out by June or July. NITI Aayog is in the process of deciding how many posts and what job profiles should be advertised.”
These posts are recognised as ‘flexi-pool posts’, for which the NITI Aayog usually hires consultants as needed. However, in a break from the past, it will now hire individuals who will have the same rank, status, responsibilities and accountability as regular civil servants.
“It is one of the main functions of NITI Aayog to coordinate with other ministries for policy-making… But a lot of ministries would not take communications from consultants seriously. So the new recruits will have the same designations as regular IAS officers,” the official said.
Recruiting fresh talent to introduce domain expertise as well as address massive vacancies in the civil service has been part of the Modi government’s core agenda. Last year, in its previous tenure, the government had announced that it would recruit domain experts into 10 central ministries at the rank of joint secretary.
Like the terms of that scheme, the new set of recruits will be appointed for a period of five years — with their appointment to be re-evaluated after three years.
However, on completion of their service in the government, these lateral recruits would not be required to serve any cooling-off period.
“There are enough checks and balances within the government to ensure there is no conflict of interest… Besides, adding a cooling-off period would just prevent talented people from coming into the government in the first place,” the official said.
All approvals in place
According to officials, the proposal had already been approved by the Modi government in its previous term, and all the necessary approvals from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Union Public Service Commission and the Department of Personnel and Training have already been taken.
“UPSC has approved the terms of recruitment for these individuals,” another official said.