Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeIndiaIAS to blame for govt wanting domain experts, say officers of other...

IAS to blame for govt wanting domain experts, say officers of other civil services

Civil servants say IAS stranglehold has prevented officers from services such as Railways, Forests etc. from heading ministries in their areas.

Text Size:

New Delhi: The Modi government’s decision to recruit domain experts in the bureaucracy by way of lateral entry has irked officers from civil services other than the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

After the Union Public Service Commission shortlisted nine candidates for central ministries at the rank of joint secretaries, the Modi government has now decided to now recruit over 50 “domain experts” into Niti Aayog at different levels, including under secretaries, directors, joint secretaries, additional secretaries, etc.

The government’s decision to recruit fresh talent laterally into the bureaucracy was guided by the logic that IAS officers are “generalists” who hop from one ministry to another through their careers and do not necessarily have expertise in any area.

However, several officers from other civil services have argued that it is the stranglehold of the IAS that has precluded officers from specialised services such as the Railways, Forests, Revenue, Information, etc. from heading the ministries in their areas.

Also read: Modi govt to expand lateral entry scheme for civil servants with 50 NITI Aayog recruits

‘Has government utilised existing domain expertise?’

Speaking to ThePrint, an officer from the Indian Forest Service who didn’t wish to be named said, “The point is not that we are opposed to lateral entry… But the question is, has the government used the domain expertise it has had available for so long well enough?”

As of last year, over 60 per cent of the officers serving in the top positions in central government — joint secretaries, additional secretaries and secretaries — were from the IAS. All the other central civil services — over 25 of them — together account for the rest of the positions.

Moreover, 65 of the 81 secretary-rank officers in the Government of India were from the IAS. Even out of the remaining 16, eight are scientists or domain experts laterally recruited by the government. Another five are from the Indian Foreign Service or the Indian Legal Service since the top positions in the ministry of external affairs and ministry of law and justice are reserved for them.

“There are services like the geological service, postal service, telecom service, statistical service, etc. Their officers work in their fields since the age of 24-25 and devote decades of their career in the same area,” said the officer. “Then how can you say they are not domain experts?”

Also read: UPSC has shortlisted lateral entry aspirants, but no one knows when they’ll be appointed

IAS hegemony in ministries

Even for areas for which the government has specialised services, it has allowed only IAS officers to head the ministries, said a senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.

“What explains the fact that in the finance ministry, all secretaries have been IAS officers, and none from the IRS?”

“Similarly, can’t the I&B ministry be headed by officers from the Indian Information Services? Who understands communication better than them?” the officer added. “But you have relegated them to the PIB to give ascendance to IAS officers.”

Another officer, who is also a member of the IRS association, said that while the organisation wanted to earlier “welcome” lateral entry as a way to break the stranglehold of the IAS in higher bureaucracy, it was later felt that other services will continue to be “losers”.

“The government it seems plans to take its lateral entry experiment forward… Even if it will finally put an end to the dominance of the IAS in the government, what happens to us?” the officer said.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. The most inefficient legacy system left over by British is IAS. This clan people never introspect themselves and ashamed for the present state of the country even after 72 years of independence. They feel themselves superior to all public servants. They take advantage of their position especially in Central pay commission team without any hesitation by taking special treatment in pay and perks while other’s amoluments are at their mercy. Even within UPSC recruits so much of cadre clash. Irrespective of what ever the govt in rulings this clan always work for their own interests. Time has come to scrap this service with recruitment of domain experts like being done in corporate systems.

  2. Introducing some degree of insecurity is essential in any job : it keeps arrogance under check. Beating competition provides an entry to those who succeeded but it does not imply those left behind are inferiors. However, majority of IAS in India assume a sense of superiority which couple with security has caused havoc to Indian institutions and the talent left out.

    Kudos to this Government for bold initiative.

  3. Worst part of our bureaucracy is absence of accountability. Arrogance, corruption, misuse of national resources and craving for political patronage are other evils crept into their services. Particularly IAS are much inferior to their counterparts in IFS, IPS, IRS and others who groom themselves with ground work and regular institutional trainings. IAS officer will not attend any workshop or training program whereas IRS will grab it.

  4. Namaste, I continue to comment this particular issue../Decision is important for future’ ..likewise would suggest the same pattern b implemented in state as well..bcoz if applied for Police dept. It’s a state subject. With powers of Arrest nd registering FIR ..submitting to court..under Police station this regard I sincerely request this imperialistic administration of IPS/AIS to go..hence there should be Only Constable to Suptd.of need of DyIG nd Above upto not required bcoz after SP in a Dist.’ll b Collector..r chief Secy..r Cbnt Secy..for Admin purpose..Application similar to Lateral Entry..if Implemented..golden days r ahead..for INDIANs..legally Justice will b done..thank you..for giving an apportunity with THE PRINT.

  5. Congrats MODIji. I welcome Lateral entry system…good for change in existing
    Democratic system…which is a requirement for long time…thanks to ThePRINT

  6. Although I’m selected by UPSC but I strongly feel that for the betterment of my motherland, India, these IAS and IPS must go. We need to abolish these services. They carry a huge ego and during their training also those egos are simply pumped by all. Let me clear it first that one does not become great by cracking UPSC, not at all. One becomes great by his/her service attitude, sacrificial nature and love and devotion to the Nation. IAS and IPS think that they have birth right to head every department. Let me give you an example. Many have already spoken about the inefficient IAS officers. Let me tell something about IPS. Today the Paramilitary Forces are den of frustrated officers and Jawans just because of IPS officers. They come for few years after serving in the state police, in the Paramilitary Forces(CRPF,BSF,ITBP,CISF,SSB) and before understanding the architecture, nature of functioning, organisational structure, operational challenges, needs of the Jawans and officers they leave for their state. They are just doing the extreme harm to the Forces. They come to these forces to enjoy life there for few years with no bonding and love for any particular force. These forces are den of stagnation and all these are due to post, position and power hungry IAS and IPS officers. Let us unite to do away with these colonial services and replace them with robust Indian version of these services who can uphold unity and integrity of India. Thus LATERAL ENTRY is a very good step. Jai Hind. Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

  7. One of the example of Dominated attitute of IAS lobby in ministries is they are reluctant to implement reservation in promotion for disabled govt employees in Group A and B posts despite of provision in Persons with Disabilities Act passed by parliament as well as several verdicts of Hon’ble Apex Court to give reservation ,though implemented reservation in direct recruitment as per provision of PWD Act .The reason of this discrimination is it affects their lobby . Thus IAS rule should be balanced.

  8. It would be a better move if government dismantle upsc for civil service examination. Government should start lateral entry at lower level too in administration. After all candidates who have selected in the exam don’t have any experience or expertise clearing India’s toughest exam. It will save time and money of aspirants and alot of social pressure they have, they can get rid of it. Government can privatize the upsc it will also save money and time of government,if constitution allow to do so.. If not, government can amend it own will because government is majority in lokshabha.

  9. It’s high time experts from different field be given equal edge on decision making….technical person well versed with ground level issues and better catch needed now….bureaucrats in india have slowed down progression in various departments which they are heading….misuse of power and money has been a regular issue by bureaucrats….

  10. Why are they craving to get out side domain experts when existing are relegated to clerk level. Take MOEFCC , all domain environmental experts working in ministry has no say in decision making and forced to subservient to craziness of IAS and other services. Earlier the EAC are manged by Director level officials and today it is handed over to JD level officers who has no experience in EIA domain. JS decides on projects and officials are not encouraged to express. If any speak they are victimised. Why should domain experts opt for such humiliation and become spineless.

  11. There is no doubt that Indian bureaucracy has not covered itself with glory. It is a legacy of britishers which must go. There is a merit in the thought that the respective heads of domain experts should head the concerned fields. The is no reason for a bureaucrats to head organization and ministries which require domain experts. We have IRS, IFS , IR, CWB etc which have officers with domain expertize of over 30 years. India is one of the only countries having defence ministries headed by bureaucrats who have no idea of what it entails and spend there time only in delaying and playing services against one another.
    Leaving IAS for general duties and administrative services, rest of the secretaries should be domain experts who can contribute from day one
    The sooner it is done better it would be for India & Indian people.

  12. Lateral entry is a very welcome step. At the same time goverment should promote it’s officers to educate themselves further, skill themselves and also teh goverment should free it’s officers to work in non goverment spaces. Salary should be improves to keep the motivation of officers high to further educate themselves. But, in the end of it, so long the bureaucracy will be used to promote the personal interests of the politicians, the IAS will continue to dominate.

  13. It’s high time to do away with civil services like IAS ,IPS and allied services which were introduced by Britishers to dominate Indians and ensure young whites rule a slave country. Our bureaucrats who are nothing but, brown sahibs should join at the lowest segment and rise to the top ,gaining experience while on the job . A patwari should become chief secretary and a constable should rise to the post of DGP . Bright young ambitious people joining beureaucracy at lowest level will bring pragmatism, root out corruption and ensure all round efficiency . Food for thought, and for consideration of Modi 2.0.

  14. The parasitic hold of IAS in ministries should end for the betterment of the nation. The know all attitude of the IAS officers should be brought to an end.

  15. Latrrsl Entry is a good decision by NITI Aayog. I support this. The IAS rule should be balanced.

  16. It is rated the worst because it has been borrowed from colonial rule in India. So there is colonialism everywhere in bureaucracy. So it should be MODIFIED through lateral entry etc..

  17. India’s bureaucracy is consistently rated the worst in Asia. If we are lagging our neighbours to the east, it could not all be the fault of the politicians.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular