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Second push for lateral entry into IAS sees applications fall by half

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The original applicants had been told to reapply as UPSC found that the first advertisement understated the eligibility criteria.

New Delhi: Only half of the candidates who had initially applied to the government’s lateral entry scheme for the IAS and other civil services have sent in detailed applications to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), ThePrint has learnt.

In June, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had invited applications from private sector specialists for 10 joint secretary posts in different departments of the central government.

By 30 July, the first deadline, around 6,077 candidates had applied but the government directed them to reapply with Detailed Application Forms (DAF) as it found that the original advertisement was reportedly poorly drafted and understated the eligibility criteria.

The Union Public Services Commission (UPSC), tasked with short-listing the candidates, then set a deadline of 6 pm on 1 January 2019, for the DAFs to be submitted.

With the deadline having passed, sources said the UPSC has received just over 3,000 applications from the original 6,077 candidates.

“A little over half the applicants applied again,” a senior UPSC official told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity. “So obviously, for the rest of them, their candidature does not hold anymore.”

Also read: This is why UPSC has invited fresh applications for lateral entry into IAS

Candidates to undergo test, interview

While the UPSC will take some time to sift through the 3,000-plus applications received, the shortlisting process will be followed by a test and an interview.

“We may have a common test for the candidates we shortlist but that depends on the number of shortlisted candidates. If the number is not too high, we can go in for the interview straightaway,” the official said.

“The applications are for very senior posts in the government, so the interview has to be there,” the official added. “But first we have to see the quality of applications we have received now.”

ThePrint had earlier reported that the applications received through the original advertisement barely matched the standards expected of a candidate required to occupy senior bureaucracy positions due to the poor drafting of the DoPT advertisement.

UPSC steps in

The original advertisement just cited a graduation degree from a recognised university/institute as the qualification criterion and did not ask for supporting documents.

When the UPSC was roped in to shortlist the candidates, it found the submitted applications to be inadequate and sketchy.

The UPSC then held meetings with the 10 ministries for which applications have been invited, and sought to know what sort of candidates they were looking for. After this, it released a new advertisement in December.

“The essential qualifications indicated in the original advertisement are the minimum and mere possession of the same does not entitle candidates to be called for test/interview,” the UPSC ad released in December said.

Had the earlier advertisement been drafted properly, a lot of non-serious applications would not have come in the first place, sources in the government said.

“Half of the applicants have not applied again only because the earlier advertisement made almost anyone eligible to apply,” an IAS officer said. “So many people have graduate degrees but that’s not enough to become a joint secretary in the government of India.”

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


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