West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said lateral entries might “dilute the sensitivity” attached to the functioning of the government and the issue needed a “wider debate” among the various stake-holders, before it was implemented. The Centre has invited applications for 10 joint secretary-level posts from people, even from the private sector, with expertise in various areas such as economic affairs, agriculture, road transport and environment. There should be no objection if talented persons joined the central government to improve its efficiency, but there were certain issues of concern, Banerjee said in a Facebook post. “The officers from All India Services/Central Services presently hold positions of Joint Secretary and equivalent levels in the Government of India. These officers are inducted in government services through transparent recruitment processes by Constitutional bodies like the UPSC,” she added. Joint secretary-level officers are normally appointed from All India/Central services such as IAS, IPS, IFS and other allied services.
Banerjee said the officers were expected to be politically neutral while discharging their duties and any shift from such standards would not be good for the country. T he All India Services officers were working with sincerity, accountability and maintaining secrecy, where the paramount interest of the country remained supreme, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said. “In view of it, I feel that any deviation from the system, particularly by inducting professionals from non-governmental sector, notwithstanding their talent, may dilute the sensitivity attached to the functioning of the government,” she added. “Therefore, it is necessary to have wider debate and discussion with different stake-holders, including representatives of the All India Services/Central Services, before implementing the proposed induction of lateral entries into senior positions of the government,” Banerjee said.
She also mentioned that she had come to know about the development from media reports. The government recently published advertisements, saying it was looking for 10 “outstanding individuals”, even from the private sector, with expertise in the areas of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, road transport and highway, shipping, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce. The initiative of inviting applications for joint secretary-level officers is being called lateral recruitment.