Lateral entry : what the government is trying to do?

Headline : Lateral entry : what the government is trying to do? 

Details : 

News Context :

  • Recently, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has appointed nine non-governmental professionals at joint-secretary level posts in central government departments through Lateral entry.

What is lateral entry?

  • The lateral entry mode is the appointment of specialists from private sector in government organisations at Joint Secretary Level posts on contract basis.
  • Aim: to bring in fresh talent into the bureaucracy
  • Lateral entry at both the Central and state levels was recommended by the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in 2005.


News Summary

  • The lateral entry is not new to India. Earlier, some experts had joined the government through the lateral-entry route: For example: Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Bimal Jalan, Vijay Kelkar (former petroleum and finance secretary), R V Shahi (former power secretary), Parameswaran Iyer (present sanitation secretary), and Rajesh Kotecha (present head of Ayush ministry).
  • The government selected the nine professionals, largely from the private sector, signalling a major shift in the entry of professionals in shaping policies
  • Nine private sector specialists that have been recommended for joint secretary posts by the UPSC across various ministries.

Duration and Pay

  • Earlier, the process was being undertaken by the Personnel Ministry and but later the UPSC was entrusted the task of selecting the candidates for these posts.
  • Term:
    • The lateral appointees will have a term of three-years from the date of joining, which could be extended to five years depending upon their performance.
  • Pay and Perks:
    • The selected professionals will be provided compensations in accordance with the joint-secretary level.
    • All allowances and facilities etc are applicable to the equivalent level in the Government of India.
    • However, the Government reserves its right to place deserving appointees at an appropriate level within the scale of pay.


Niti Ayog on Lateral Entry

  • Niti Aayog, in its report Strategy for India @75, had recommended encouraging lateral entry of experts at the highest levels of the government to usher in much-needed expertise.


Pros of Lateral entry:

  • Specialization: It will provide domain knowledge and relevant expertise across the top tier of Indian bureaucracy.
  • Bring in Efficiency: It will bring in bringing in more efficiency and effectiveness in the Government sector.
  • Competition: The entry of professionals will trigger competition in the services as those who have come through UPSC civil services will have to compete with the domain experts in order to remain relevant in their respective fields.
  • Participative Governance: It provides opportunity to other stakeholders from non-government organisations in the governance process.
  • Address the shortage of Personnel: It will address the issue of shortfall of competent officers in the various departments.


Issues with Lateral entry:

  • Corruption: Short term entry into the bureaucracy through lateral entry may lead to corrupt practices. Also, if the selection process is not implemented transparently it can leave loopholes for corruption, nepotism or other kinds of inefficiency.
  • Internal Rivalry: The personnel appointed through lateral entry might face rivalry or lack of support from the already in service Civil servants, which may hamper the working of the organisation.
  • Adaptability: There is difference in the organisational structure of private and public sector. Thus, the lateral entry will have to face different sets of challenges and constraints in adapting the new culture.
  • Difference in approach: In private sector ,the approach is profit oriented while the approach of Government is service of the public. Hence there is a need of fundamental transition in a person from private sector to work in government sector.

Section : Polity & Governance