What is Lateral Entry in UPSC?
Lateral Entry into UPSC means that personnel from the private sector are selected to an administrative post of the government despite not being selected in or being a part of the bureaucratic setup. This is on a contract basis for a period of three years, which can be extended up to five years based on the person's performance.
NITI Aayog and the Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGoS) on Governance recommended the concept of Lateral Entry into Civil Services. Through the Lateral Entry, the government would employ personnel at the central government's middle and senior management levels.
Reservation or caste-based quotas do not apply to these recruitments.
- The 2021 UPSC Lateral Entry Recruitment for three posts of Joint Secretary and 27 Director in central government Departments has caused a stir. A Joint Secretary is a senior IAS officer, having the third highest rank in a Department, and functions as the administrative head of a wing in the Department. Directors are a rank below that of Joint Secretary.
Lateral Entry in Civil Services: Advantages
In its stand on encouraging UPSC Lateral Entry Recruitment, highlighted that the government, from time to time, had appointed prominent persons for specific assignments in bureaucracy, keeping in view their specialized knowledge and expertise in the domain area. The Central Government, through the Lateral Entry, aims to achieve the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augmenting the availability of manpower.
The advantages of encouraging Lateral Entry in Civil Services include:
- Filling the Shortage: According to DoPT, there is a shortage of about 1500 IAS officers, which can be bridged through Lateral Entry. The normal UPSC Recruitment Process would take time.
- Participatory Governance: Through Lateral Entry, the government is trying to be more participatory in nature and adopt a multi-actor endeavour.
- Adaptive Work-Culture: Lateral Entry would change the bureaucratic culture, which is criticized for its rule-book bureaucracy, status-quo, and red-tapism.
- Sector-Specific Knowledge: The civil servants recruited through the UPSC Exam do not have specific field-related knowledge. The UPSC Syllabus is vast, and the aspirant needs to study everything. IAS, IPS, IRS, and IFS officers gain expertise later in their career stage with experience from their respective fields. Through Lateral Entry, people with expertise and specialist domain knowledge will contribute immensely to policy formulation and public administration.
Disadvantages of Lateral Entry in Civil Services
The fair selection and appointment of civil servants is the foundation of modern merit-based bureaucracy. Anything other than this established procedure is not taken up well by the people. The major issue why Lateral Entry in Civil Services is criticized is because there is no reservation in these appointments. Moreover, they are also seen as back doors for a political party to bring its own people into the bureaucratic setup.
The other disadvantages of criticism of Lateral Entry in Civil Services include the of:
- Recruits through Lateral entry do not understand the bureaucratic system and its permanent establishment. No training or orientation is provided for this.
- Candidates recommended through the Lateral Entry have a corporate mindset of a profit-oriented business. On the other hand, the government's motive is public service.
- The entrants of Lateral Entry into Civil Services raise a potential conflict of interest issues.
UPSC Lateral Entry Recruitment
The 2021 notification of the Lateral Entry in Civil Services was the second in a row after the 2019 UPSC Lateral Entry Recruitment. For 2019, nine candidates were selected, and two resigned later. The selected entrants include- Amber Dubey for appointment in the civil aviation ministry, Kakoli Ghosh selected for the agriculture ministry, Sujit Kumar Bajpayee for the environment ministry, Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale for the new and renewable energy ministry, Saurabh Mishra for the financial services department, Rajeev Saksena for the economic affairs department, Arun Goel for the commerce ministry, Suman Prasad Singh for the road transport ministry and Bhushan Kumar for the shipping ministry.
For 2021, the three candidates recommended for Joint Secretary rank are Samuel Praveen Kumar to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Manish Chadha to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Balasubramanian Krishnamurthy to the Ministry of Finance.