Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh. Photo: HT
Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh. Photo: HT

Lateral entry will not lower morale of civil servants: Govt

MoS Personnel Jitendra Singh said the govt had decided to undertake lateral recruitment of 10 joint secretaries in order to bring in fresh talent and augment manpower

New Delhi: Citing the names of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was also a bureaucrat, and the then deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia as being appointed through the lateral recruitment route, the government on Wednesday said there had been no adverse effect on the morale of the civil servants due to such appointments.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the government had decided to undertake lateral recruitment of 10 joint secretaries on contract in order to achieve the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augmenting the availability of manpower.

The term lateral entry relates to appointment of specialists, mainly those from private sector, in government organisations.

On whether this practice had been followed earlier, the minister said there were lateral recruitment to man specific assignments from time to time. “These include, among others, appointment of Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Vijay Kelkar, Bimal Jalan, Shankar Acharya, Rakesh Mohan, Arvind Virmani, Arvind Panagariya, Arvind Subramanian and Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Parameswaran Iyer and Ram Vinay Shahi. No adverse effect on the morale of the civil servants has resulted from lateral recruitments," he said.

Kelkar was finance secretary, Jalan RBI governor, Mohan deputy RBI governor, and Acharya, Virmani and Subramanian, chief economic advisers. Panagriya was appointed vice-chairman of Niti Aayog and Kotecha is secretary, ministry of Ayush. Iyer, a former IAS officer and sanitation expert, is secretary, ministry of drinking water and sanitation. Shahi was power secretary.

Government think tank Niti Aayog had in its three-year action agenda 2017-18 to 2019-20 highlighted that it was essential specialists be inducted into the system through lateral entry on fixed-term contracts, the minister said.

The sectoral group of secretaries had submitted a report in February 2017 in which it observed that there was a shortage of officers at the joint secretary/director/deputy secretary levels due to a reduction in recruitment in the service during 1995-2002.

“Based on the recommendation, the government has decided to undertake lateral recruitment of ten joint secretaries on contract in order to achieve the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augmenting the availability of manpower," Singh said.

He said the government had taken several measures to reform the bureaucracy, including issuing provisional appointment orders to those selected on receipt of duly filled attestation forms and self-declaration by candidates pending police verification of character and antecedents.

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