Amid the recent push by the Modi government to induct more private-sector specialists into different government departments at the level of joint secretaries and directors, experts believe that the lateral entry initiative is insufficient to bridge the number of vacancies in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), reports LiveMint.
The government has hired just nine officers as joint secretaries and intends to appoint 30 more as directors and joint secretaries as of now.
However, there is a shortage of 22.48 per cent or 1,510 officers for the IAS cadre and a combined shortage of 2,418 officers for both IAS and the Indian Police Service (IPS).
N C Saxena, former secretary of the planning commission, opined that the number of personnel the government plans to recruit through lateral entry is miniscule and will have negligible impact on filling up the vacancies, though lateral entry into bureaucracy per se is not a bad step.
“The vacancy in the IAS is huge and that is primarily because we started hiring a small number of IAS officers post liberalization, 60-70 per year, thinking that their role will shrink. However, in a developing economy you need a growing pool of good mid-to-senior level officers who understand and value action, outcome, and evaluation of policies," he said.
He added that laterally hired bureaucrats need more training and support to contribute in policymaking and their three-year contract is too short a time to get used to the system.
“Now UPSC has advertised for 30 more lateral hiring positions both at the joint secretary and director level. Initially, they were talking about 50. This is too small a number. It is nowhere close to what is required. Governance is not contractual work. It is a perennial commitment to the country. What we need is reform of governance instead of hiring just a few dozen officers," said another bureaucrat.
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