Competition panel hiring on fast track, to bypass UPSC

Competition panel hiring on fast track, to bypass UPSC

New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India, which was recently accorded statutory powers, is all set to start hiring to go after anti-competitive practices in the country.

It will start by recruiting 120 staffers, half of whom will include professionals such as lawyers and financial analysts. To speed up the process, the hiring will not be routed through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), and the commission also plans to offer higher remuneration to attract talent.

“The ministry has recommended recruiting 120 staff at the first go and once the cabinet clears the positions, the recruitment process will begin," says a senior official at the ministry of corporate affairs, who didn’t want to be named. He says 50% of those shortlisted will be administrative and support staff.

“The positions created for both the clerical and officer levels will be regular and not contractual," he adds.

The ministry has suggested shortlisting proposed hires through interviews by a selection panel that includes senior officials from the ministry, the expenditure department of the finance ministry, the department of personnel and training, and the commission.

The commission plans to probe cartels, mergers and acquisitions, abuse of dominance and anti-competitive practices. It has about 12 officials at present, including an acting chairman and a director general.

Vinod Dhall, who is the acting chairman of the commission, said that of the 60 professionals, the ministry has recommended that 80% be economists and lawyers, with the rest being financial analysts.

The commission’s organizational structure was devised by the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. “The report recommended hiring 240 people in the first year itself that can be scaled up to 480 by the end of five years. So, this is just the beginning," says Dhall.

Typically, the government fills senior-level positions through a written test and, in some cases, interviews conducted by UPSC, while clerical staff are generally appointed through a written test followed by interviews by staff selection boards. In both cases, the appointments take at least six to eight months.

“In the past also, we have recommended to the government that it should have a fast-track recruitment process for certain positions in banks and public sector enterprises, and we also advised that such a fast-track committee should not only comprise government officials, but also eminent people in the relevant field," says Anil Sachdev, chairman of Right Grow Talent, a private human resources firm.

Ministry officials say salaries of the commission’s professional staff would be higher than those offered in regular government jobs and would be similar to those paid by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which are still lower than salaries paid for similar skills in the private sector.

Ministry officials also claim that once the commission starts generating revenues, it will be able to pay even more to attract the right talent.

The commission plans to also consider those who are working in other government agencies and departments to join on deputation, and it will also hire outsiders for specific expert opinion on cases.