|Introduction: Outlay the scheme of lateral entry.|
Body: Highlight its challenges and significance
Conclusion: Suggestion to improve the scheme.
The scheme of lateral entry in civil services was started in 2019 when the Central Government began the process of recruitment to middle and senior-level positions in the government of India outside the regular process of civil service exams. Lateral entry denotes recruitment from the private sector of specialists working in various fields to be appointed as higher government officials.
What have been the challenges for the lateral entry program?
- Institutional opposition: The biggest challenge comes from the strong lobby of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) who had traditionally been holders of higher positions in the Government of India.
- Lacks Specialist officers: The posts of specialist officers in departments like audit, the Railways, or tax (direct and indirect) have not yet been thrown open to lateral recruitments. Appointing specialist officers in these technical departments was the main aim of the lateral entry program.
- Lack of interest from state governments: State governments across India have been unresponsive to lateral entry with concerns regarding federalism, opposition from the state civil service cadre, and no initiative from the state public service commission.
- Spoils System: Former bureaucrats have raised concerns regarding lateral entry being turned into a spoils system where politicians favor certain kinds of people who are close to the political party or received patronage from the leader.
What is the significance of the lateral entry scheme?
- Governance: Lateral entry will help strengthen governance with people from the private sector bringing new insights and ideas which can help address administrative challenges and complement the efforts of traditional bureaucrats.
- Reduce Vacancies: Lateral vacancies will help reduce vacancies to significant numbers as the current recruitment process is long, costly, and prone to corruption.
- Notable examples: Lateral entrants like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Bimal Jalan and Vijay Kelkar, and Parameswaran Iyer have brought new insights and set up new examples of achievements in their fields. This could motivate the new generation to enter bureaucracy without going for competitive exams.
- Infuse competitiveness: Lateral entrants will push traditional bureaucrats out of their comfort zone and challenge them for producing good results. Mid-career lateral entrants with proven capabilities will bridge the administrative and judgemental deficiency of the administrators who are recruited at a very young age.
In ensuring the success of the scheme due attention should be focussed on the recruitment of lateral entrants. The recruitment should be done by UPSC and the focus should be to test analytical skills, maturity of judgment, and personality traits. The government has also set up the Capacity Building Commission and Mission Karmayogi to train government employees about their roles and bring efficiency to the administration.