Thursday, 27 January, 2022
HomeIndiaGovernanceModi govt’s plan to allow lateral entry into IAS is stuck

Modi govt’s plan to allow lateral entry into IAS is stuck

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.

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

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism


  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.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular