Lateral Entry in civil services: The UPSC's decision to recommend names of nine professionals for appointment as joint secretaries to the government will infuse fresh blood and ideas but they will face the challenge of performing in a different work culture.
Lateral Entry in UPSC: The Union Public Service Commission’s recommendation to induct nine professionals in the government from private sector will infuse new blood and fresh ideas in decision making process, a former bureaucrat said, adding that it’s an experiment that should be given a chance but the political process and the work culture will be a big constraint for these officers.
Central government’s apex recruitment agency UPSC Friday cleared the names of nine private sector professionals for induction in the government as joint secretaries through lateral entry for a fixed term of three years. The vacancies were advertised by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in June last year but the task was later handed to the UPSC in December.
This was first significant step by the Modi government to bring specialists and experts into the government from private sector. However, the decision faced stiff resistance from the IAS lobby as these senior positions in the government are mostly occupied by the career civil servants who are recruited through a tough written test and interview.
The move was aimed at bridging the shortage of talent in the government. However, a former bureaucrat who served at key positions in the central government rejected the idea that there is any shortage of talent in the government.
“There is no shortage of talent in the bureaucracy. This is something that the government wanted to try on experimental basis. But this is not final, they have been given a three year contract,” a former senior bureaucrat told Financial Express Online.
He said that some of the new officers will face adjustment problems while working with the government.
“Those who come from private sector totally will find it difficult because they will be constrained by processes. And the political process is a big constraint in any way,” said the retired senior bureaucrat on the condition of anonymity.
“From outside it feels different, from inside it is different. It has to be seen that how many of them will leave and how many of them will stay,” said the former senior bureaucrat while talking about two distinct work cultures of private sector and public sector.
There are over 340 positions of joint secretaries in the central government and these new joint secretaries from private sector will work under career bureaucrats, also known as generalists. These civil servants generally don’t specialize in any particular sector but acquire experience of field work and policy making in the state and central government in a range of departments.
The former senior bureaucrat who worked with the ministry of finance at secretary level told Financial Express Online that the induction of just nine joint secretaries will not make any significant change in the policy making process.
“I don’t think that it will make a change in policy making process but these people are from different backgrounds, disburse backgrounds. You are trying to utilise the available talent and skill set,” said the retired senior bureaucrat. “Give it a chance. Don’t write it off or condemn it straight away. It’s an experiment.”