AS the government draws up an ambitious plan to hire from outside civil services at entry levels, an RTI application has revealed that while inducting talent from the private sector at the Joint Secretary level in April this year, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) adopted a procedure which did not require it to provide for reservation to candidates from the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
Relevant file notings provided by the DoPT to The Indian Express under the RTI Act state, “In a single post cadre, reservation does not apply. Since each post to be filled under this scheme is a Single Post, reservation is not applicable.” They are selected for different departments and if they were considered as a group of nine, there would have been at least two seats for OBCs and one seat for an SC candidate.
The nine candidates with JS rank cleared by the UPSC in April — Amber Dubey, Rajeev Saksena, Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Kakoli Ghosh, Bhushan Kumar, Arun Goel, Saurabh Mishra and Suman Prasad Singh — are likely to join soon.
From within and outside
THE government’s decision to hire expertise and talent from outside is a bold step in administrative reform. The Joint Secretary level in the government is the decision-making stage. Parallel to this will be the demand for representation of SCs/ STs and OBCs -- just as in university appointments. The government will have to do this tightrope walk.
According to a November 29, 2018 letter by DoPT Additional Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi to Rakesh Gupta, Secretary, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) while the selection process was on says, “The candidates to be considered from the State Government, Public Sector, Autonomous Bodies, Statutory Bodies, Universities, would be taken on Deputation (Including Short Term Contract) with lien in the parent department. There are no instructions stipulating mandatory reservation for appointment on deputation.”
“The present arrangement of filling up these posts may be deemed as a close approximation of deputation, where mandatory reservation for SC/ST/OBC is not necessary. However, if duly eligible SC/ST/OBC candidates are eligible, they should be considered and priority may be given to such candidates in similarly situated cases for ensuring holistic representation,” Chaturvedi noted in her letter.
The UPSC’s response, however, lends more clarity. To a question asking how many candidates of different social categories were selected for these posts, the UPSC said, “It is informed that as per the requisition of Department of Personnel and Training, candidates were to be selected for Joint Secretary level posts on contract basis (Lateral Entry). DoPT had clarified that there would be no reservation in this recruitment case.”
To another query on the number of applications received from candidates of different social categories, the UPSC said, “It is informed that as per the requisition of Department of Personnel and Training, no posts of Joint Secretary (lateral entry) were reserved for any category viz. SC/ ST/ OBC. Hence the category wise data sought by you cannot be provided.”
In a May 15, 2018, circular, the DoPT, had however, noted that “in respect of appointments to Central Government posts and services there shall be reservation for Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe/ Other Backward Class candidates in temporary appointments which are to last for 45 days or more.” It was a reiteration of a circular of the Ministry of Home Affairs issued on September 24, 1968.