Lateral entry: Centre skirted reservation law while hiring joint secretaries from private sector, reveals RTI

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Published: June 14, 2019 12:46:30 PM

Reservation does not apply if appointments are carried out in a single post cadre. The posts to be filled under the lateral entry scheme were all single posts.

lateral entry A response by the government under the RTI Act reveals that the Centre may have smartly got around the reservation law while undertaking these recruitments from outside.

The central government’s move to induct talent from the private sector has been hailed as an ambitious and bold administrative reform. Nine individuals were selected from the private sector in April this year to join ministries at the joint secretary level. However, a response by the government under the Right To Information Act to The Indian Express reveals that the Centre may have smartly got around the reservation law while undertaking these recruitments from outside.

According to The Indian Express, the DoPT made these hirings using a procedure which did not mandate the provision of reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidates.

“In a single post cadre, reservation does not apply. Since each post to be filled under this scheme is a Single Post, reservation is not applicable,” the IE report said quoting the RTI response. The reservation law would have applied had the recruitments been considered as a group of nine.

The report further cites a letter by DoPT Additional Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi to Rakesh Gupta, Secretary, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), stating that the candidates being considered from various government departments, PSUs etc. will be on deputation and reservation will not apply. The letter further states that the filling up these posts “may be deemed as a close approximation of deputation, where mandatory reservation for SC/ST/OBC is not necessary.”

Chaturvedi, however, notes in her letter that eligible SC/ST/OBC candidates should be given priority to ensure a holistic representation, The Indian Express reported.

The RTI response by the UPSC, however, was much more direct and clarified that the requisition of Department of Personnel and Training made it clear that the candidates were to be selected for Joint Secretary level posts on contract basis (Lateral Entry). “DoPT had clarified that there would be no reservation in this recruitment case,” The Indian Express quoted the UPSC as having stated in its response.

The lateral entry plan saw nine candidates — Amber Dubey, Rajeev Saksena, Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Kakoli Ghosh, Bhushan Kumar, Arun Goel, Saurabh Mishra and Suman Prasad Singh selected for appointment to Joint Secretary level posts. Their appointments were cleared by the UPSC in April and they are set to join soon.

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