Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with IAS officers participating in a training programme in New Delhi | pmindia.gov.in
File photo of PM Modi interacting with IAS officers New Delhi | pmindia.gov.in
Text Size:

UPSC and Cabinet Secretariat are confused about how to take the matter forward. The 6,000 applications haven’t even been sorted yet.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet lateral entry scheme, which wants to appoint private sector specialists as top civil servants in the central government, is stuck in limbo.

It has been more than two months since 6,000 candidates applied for 10 joint secretary positions across ministries, but the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Cabinet Secretariat are confused about how to take the process forward.

Top sources said the government is yet to sort the applications and select candidates for interviews.


Also read: Centre’s IAS officers shortage: Need for lateral entry of experts or should states fix gap?


A source in the UPSC said the commission was asked to take forward this exercise of sifting and conducting interviews, but it has told the government it won’t be able to. It is, however, yet to take a final call on the issue.

Objective of the scheme

The idea of the lateral entry scheme is to invite fresh talent into the government. It is also pegged as a measure to address the shortage of IAS officers in the Central government.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

The concept itself is not new. Two prominent examples of lateral entry in today’s administration are Rajesh Kotecha, special secretary in the Ministry of AYUSH, and retired IAS officer Parameshwaran Iyer, secretary in the ministry of drinking water and sanitation.

But the government’s advertisement for the 10 joint secretary positions was an attempt to institutionalise this practice.

In July, it invited applicants with expertise in financial services, revenue, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmer welfare, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forest and climate change, new and renewable energy, and civil aviation and commerce.

The plan will be extended to other ministries if it is successful.

Poor planning and implementation

The UPSC source said a key reason for the current state of the plan was due to its poor implementation from the beginning.

“The sluggish bureaucracy is to blame here. The scheme was flawed from the day it was announced,” the source said.

“No proper planning was done before putting out the sudden advertisement. Who would carry out the initial selections and the interviews — the ministries concerned, the Department of Personnel and Training, or the UPSC? Roping in the UPSC was a sudden decision.”

The source also said the ministries concerned were not taken into confidence before applications were invited.

The criteria laid out in the advertisement were broad-based, and so failed to provide a narrow window to attract people of eminence or domain experts in the fields advertised for.

“It also invited fewer applications than expected from the pool of private sector talent that India possesses,” the source said.

A government source also pointed to the lack of quality applications received by the government, which ThePrint had reported earlier.

“The lack of applications from quality candidates is also a reason why the government has not been able to shortlist candidates from the existing applications,” the government source said.

“Moreover, a joint secretary position with a contract period of just three to five years may not be as attractive a proposition for a top private sector professional who has put in 15 years into a profession.”


Also read: India faces severe shortage of IAS officers despite Modi govt’s recruitment spree


Besides private sector professionals, several junior government officials working with state governments had also applied for the positions.

Accusation against IAS lobby

A senior government official who does not belong to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) said the lateral entry mess was only to be expected — after all, it is serving or retired IAS officers who are supposed to carry out the process.

“The IAS lobby is strong and it doesn’t welcome people from other services in positions they think are their domain, let alone those from private sector,” the official said.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

2 Comments Share Your Views

2 COMMENTS

  1. Any news whether govt wish to go ahead with the selection process or scarp the proposal of lateral entry into Joint Secretary as advised in June 2018 ?

  2. Government of India invited private sector professionals to come forward to join hands with the Government through lateral entry towards Nation building. Over 6000 private sector candidates indicated their genuine interest to serve their Nation by applying for Joint Secretary positions across various Ministries. Many of these private sector professionals are adequately experienced with in-depth exposure and specialist expertise in their respective areas. At the age of 40+ years and knowing the fact very well that they are being hired contractually for 3 – 5 years without any retirement benefits (like other IAS and Government officials), I would say that these private sector professionals are real Nationalists with a genuine intention of serving their Nation and contributing to the best of their ability to prove their mettle within such a short time span. These outstanding private sector professionals may prove to be the future leaders of our country. Many of these private sector professionals are highly talented who may have always wished to serve their Nation but could not get an opportunity due to the prevalent earlier system of corrupt political and bureaucratic practices and slow and lethargic Civil services selection processes without any transparency. That is the reason that over the years our Nation’s civil services have become full of lazy, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt professionals who are working in the government only for money and pension and not for public and nation. Our Nation is going through a phase of transformation under a series of Reforms by the present Regime / Government who is all out to set the pace of Nation building for creating a New and Vibrant India. I urge our Government of India to shortlist and select them as soon as possible, and as promised by the Government of India the selection process must be completed before the end of 2018 to retain the faith of these outstanding youths in the New Government System by these private sector applicants who are desperately waiting for their life time opportunity. Jai Hind.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here