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NaMo to push ‘lateral entry’ further: Prospects & challenges

By IndianMandarins- 13 Jun 2019


The Government move to appoint about 400 officials drawn from mainly private sector and induct them at the level of Deputy Secretary and Directors in various Central Ministries and Departments is driven by the idea to bring talent to Government ranks. Professional experts with proven acumen in their fields is what the NaMo administration is targeting to mop up and the move has been afoot for about a year or so with the result that a few such lateral entries have already taken place in organisations like NITI Aayog.


As the actual effect of this is going to take time to unfold, the question that is being asked in official circles is whether there is going to be any collateral against such lateral entries. The answer is no except the Government’s reputation which is going to be at stake with the move. Thus, the efforts to combine talent with tradition go through a virtual minefield that the Government has to negotiate with due care.


The issues that the move has thrown up as of now are mainly three. And the first and foremost is that of coordination, or as to how the new inductees and their expertise are going to gel with the staff that is already in place via selections made through UPSC annually.


The second is that of emoluments. And it is so since most of the hiring of talented experts may entail payments of a higher salary than the existing Government scales. These experts in most cases are thought to be getting higher packages in their present jobs and advanced western training in most cases.


The third issue is political as hiring through unconventional route is going to reduce the number of jobs that the Government offers every year through UPSC and which have quota for socially and economically disadvantaged sections.


All the three issues are quite ticklish. So these and may be more are going to dog the official move before its success or failure can actually be assessed since this is going to take quite a bit of time or a few years to say the least.


The new hiring to build talent pool is likely to be on a contract for three to five years and the payments too are going to be commensurate with the job and experience of the new entrants.


Despite the challenges before the Government the need for lateral entry has mainly been felt for a long time to overcome the odds posed by the classical bureaucratic model which is thought to be ridden with delays and bottlenecks besides often having led to paucity of new ideas and right steps to solve problems.

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