Civil Services Reform: Lateral entry into the services.

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

  • The centre’s decision to give a green signal to lateral entry into the civil services has opened the floodgates of a complex debate that has been going on for a long time. There are two factions in this regard. One seems to be rooting for it while the other believes that it would hamper the work culture.
  • The government has advertised for openings for 10 joint secretary posts on a contractual basis. The most vivid argument in favour of such a move is that it will infuse bureaucracy with much-needed freshness.
  • The faction against such a move of the government opines that this will end the era of a neutral and impartial civil service and introduce a cult of loyalists to the present government. They see this as a move threatening their hegemony. It is also being viewed as the start of “privatisation of the IAS”.
  • Nonetheless, this bold move needs to be given a level playing field.
  • The ‘lateral entry’ advocacy was made based on ARC recommendation
  • Expertise becomes crucial when we talk about broad areas like environment, water. Thus, an expert like an environmentalist can be roped in to formulate appropriate policies.
  • When civil servants are made to compete with outside talent, it will induce competition among the personnel.
  • However, we cannot overlook the challenges inherent in implementing such a reform. The high corruption index in states might act as a catalyst for the private people recruited for a short-term to leave without any accountability.
  • It can hamper the fairness of the selection process and influence it politically. The way the private professionals/experts are to be chosen and what degree of involvement must the UPSC have.
  • It might also leave a trail of legal matters which would require resolution by the incoming (new) officials which would become cumbersome.
  • In retrospect, what we can say is that this prospect of lateral entry seems good enough for sectors that require more of technical and domain knowledge.
  • For others, as the UPSC follows the norm, the ones to be appointed at top positions in critical areas must be reserved for within the government. They are recruited from the best in India with a cross-sectoral experience of 10-15 sectors.
  • In principle lateral entry seems like a good idea but it should be considered that factors like accountability and transparency must be kept intact. It must be ensured that the private sector’s involvement must be used to bridge the gap and for a longer tenure.
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