New Delhi : The Narendra Modi government has now opened the doors of bureaucracy to skilled people from the private sector, inviting applications for 10 senior-level posts. The post of the joint secretary — crucial to policy making and implementation of government programmes — is filled by career bureaucrats, who usually join the service after passing exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.
The idea of lateral entry into bureaucracy has been under discussion on and off for years, but this is the first time it has been acted upon. The government has said it is keen on it to bring in "fresh ideas and new approaches to governance".
The notification from the Department of Personnel Training says it is looking for 10 "outstanding individuals" who are willing to contribute towards nation building. Those eligible includes "Individuals working at comparable levels in Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organisations, International/Multinational Organisations" above the age of 40 years and with a minimum of 15 years’ experience.
The recruitment will be done on contract basis for three to five years. Recruitment will be made for 10 departments — including Revenue, Financial Services, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Civil Aviation.
The posts are also open to officials of any state or union territory government who are already working at equivalent level, and individuals working at comparable levels in public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies, universities and research institutes.
The civil services system was considered one of the best British legacies to Independent India, given its lack of experience in governance and huge need for socio-economic development. But post-liberalisation in 1990s, the bureaucracy was seen by some sections as stagnant.
The need of the day, they asserted, was specialized knowledge and pointed to the advent of domain experts like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Nandan Nilekani, Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram Rajan in government organisations and advisory bodies.
The government’s announcement received mixed response from political leaders as well as the social media. While most hailed it as a welcome step that would bring in the much-needed field experts in governance, critics said the system can only work if the method of selection is impartial, objective and transparent.
"This is being done so that people who are with RSS or BJP come on this position and will then directly influence the decisions taken by government," said Congress’ PL Punia