Citing 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 has been no adverse effect on the morale of the civil servants due to such appointments.
In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the government has decided to undertake lateral recruitment of ten Joint Secretaries on contract basis 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 also, the minister said there was lateral recruitment of some prominent persons to man specific assignments from time to time.
“This includes, 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 had been former Finance Secretary, Jalan the ex-RBI Governor, Mohan former Deputy RBI Governor, and Acharya, Virmani and Subramanian, the former chief economic advisers.
Panagriya had been Vice Chairman of Niti Ayiog (formerly Planning Commission) 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 former Power Secretary.
Government think-tank Niti Ayog has in its three-year action agenda 2017-18 to 2019-20 highlighted that it is essential specialists be inducted into the system through lateral entry on fixed term contract, the minister said.
The Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGoS) submitted a report in February, 2017 in which it has inter alia been observed that there is a shortage of officers at the Joint Secretary/Director/Deputy Secretary Level, due to reduction in recruitment in the service during 1995-2002.
“Based on the recommendation of SGoS, government has decided to undertake lateral recruitment of ten Joint Secretaries on contract basis in order to achieve the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of manpower,” Singh said.
He said in keeping with the principle of ‘reform, perform and transform’, the government has taken several measures to reform bureaucracy including issue of provisional appointment orders (to those selected) on receipt of duly filled attestation form and self-declaration by candidates pending police verification of character and antecedents, among others.