Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday expressed her concern over the Centre’s move to invite applications for 10 joint secretary-level posts in several departments through lateral entry. In a Facebook post, she called for a discussion with all stakeholders before implementing it.
“In my view, there is no objection if talented persons join the central government to improve its professional competence and efficiency. But I have a few concerns about the issue involving various implications. The officers from the All India Services/Central Services presently hold positions of joint secretary and equivalent levels in the Government of India. These officers are inducted through transparent recruitment processes by constitutional bodies like the UPSC. The officers are expected to be politically neutral while discharging their duties. Any shift from such standard will not be good for the nation,” Mamata said in the post.
In an advertisement published in newspapers on Sunday, the Centre had invited applications from “outstanding individuals”, including from the private sector, with expertise in the areas of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation, and commerce for appointment to 10 joint secretary-level posts. The joint secretary post is usually filled through exams conducted by the UPSC.
The move has already triggered a political controversy with opposition parties slamming it. Mamata is the latest to join the debate. “At present, the officers of the All India/Central Services are working with sincerity and accountability and maintaining secrecy, where the paramount interest of the nation remains supreme. In view of it, I feel that any deviation from the system, particularly by inducting professionals from non-government sector, notwithstanding their talent, may dilute the sensitivity attached to the functioning of the government,” she added.
“Therefore, it is necessary to have wider debate and discussion with different stake-holders, including representatives of the All India Services/Central Services, before implementing the proposed induction of lateral entries into senior positions of the government.”