The need for lateral entry in civil services
It is both a workaround for the civil services' structural failings and an antidote to the complacency of a career-based service
Soon after coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two meetings with the secretaries heading all the Central government departments. Improving governance outcomes was high on the discussion agenda. But the resolve went only so far. One of Modi’s first attempts to improve governance—in July that year, the Centre asked cadre-controlling authorities to submit proposals on allowing lateral entry from academia and the private sector at the joint secretary level—was quietly abandoned. And last year, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office (PMO), Jitendra Singh, noted in the Lok Sabha, in response to a query by Shashi Tharoor, that there was no proposal for studying the feasibility of lateral entry into the civil services.