Not just at the Joint Secretary (JS) rank, the NDA government plans to recruit outside experts at the lower Deputy Secretary (DS) and Director level, too, in its move to bolster efficiency and deepen expertise in Central government administration.
Sources said that on June 3, Secretary (Personnel) asked officials of his Department of Personnel & Training to prepare a formal proposal for inducting an estimated 400 domain experts from the private sector to fill DS/Director posts in the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS).
This is expected to take away more than 60 per cent of the 650 posts at the DS/Director level under the CSS which are available to officers from the three all-India services and 37 participating services such as Income Tax, Customs, Railways, Telecom, Posts, Trade etc, said sources.
Another 650 posts at the DS/Director level under the CSS are reserved for promotees from the Central Secretariat Service which cannot be encroached upon as that would require an amendment in the Central Secretariat Service Rules of 2009, they said.
DoPT officials have been asked to frame the recruitment process and performance evaluation for selection and appointment of private sector employees.
Government think tank Niti Aayog is also slated to fill 54 of the total of 516 positions laterally. These posts are recognised as “flexi-pool posts,” for which the NITI Aayog usually hires consultants as needed. However, in a break from the past, it will now hire individuals who will have the same rank, status, responsibilities and accountability as regular civil servants.
Last April, the government’s recruitment agency, Union Public Service Commission, selected nine lateral hires on contract at the level of JS in various departments and ministries out of the 6,077 applications received for the 10 posts.
One key aspect of administrative reforms has been inducting subject experts at senior levels to infuse strategic thinking into the bureaucracy. At present, the joint secretaries — who form the backbone of the administration — are sourced mainly from Indian Administrative Service cadre officers.