Inducting pvt sector talent for govt services laterally is a good move

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Published: April 16, 2019 12:24:35 AM

The breadth of talent picked in the first-ever lateral entry and the expertise those selected have demonstrated in their respective careers so far—in the private sector, in multilateral organisations, in PSUs—promises a bounty of talent for the government.

Lateral entry will help alleviate the drought within the government’s administrative services. (Representative image)Lateral entry will help alleviate the drought within the government’s administrative services. (Representative image)

The UPSC has inducted nine sectoral experts as joint secretaries in central government departments. Dubbed the “lateral entry initiative” by the mainstream media, the government’s move is an attempt to harness expertise and efficiency from outside the UPSC umbrella to give government functioning a fillip. The breadth of talent picked in the first-ever lateral entry and the expertise those selected have demonstrated in their respective careers so far—in the private sector, in multilateral organisations, in PSUs—promises a bounty of talent for the government. For instance, Kakoli Ghosh, an agriculture expert working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, is set to join the agriculture and farmers’ welfare ministry, while Amber Dubey, partner, KPMG in India, will be joining the civil aviation ministry.

Given roping in talent from outside the government is a common feature across many developed nations, India is already late to the game. Though NITI Aayog batted for inducting private sector specialists to improve government functioning only in 2018, it was the first Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), in 1965, that recognised the need for administrative services personnel to have specialised skills, while the second ARC, in 2005, called for a transparent method to institutionalise induction from outside the UPSC process. Apart from drawing from the private sector talent pool, lateral entry will help alleviate the drought within the government’s administrative services. The 2016 BS Baswan committee report pointed out that many large states suffer from a pronounced deficit of IAS officers, leading to their reluctance to depute officers for central posting. So, the government (both the Union and the states) should consider making lateral entry a permanent feature rather than a one-off or episodic initiative.

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