New Delhi, June 10: In a move bound to generate flak from the Opposition, the government has opened up the entry of private sector professionals into the bureaucracy. In a fresh advertisement issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), it has invited applications for lateral recruitment to the post of Joint Secretary in 10 Ministries. For eligibility criteria, application rules and other details, read here.
The Opposition, however, has opposed the move, calling it a ploy to infiltrate "Sanghi cadres" into the bureaucracy, along with the representatives of "cronies who support the incumbent government".
"They want to fill people from the RSS, BJP and some select industrial houses. We will oppose this tooth and nail," said Congress leader PL Punia, who has served as an IAS officer earlier.
About Joint Secretary post:
The Joint Secretary level posts are held by top civil servants who are inducted through a rigorous multi-level competitive exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and make their way up to senior position after years of experience in the government at lower levels.
"The government of India has decided to invite talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation-building to join the government at the level of Joint Secretary," said a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
Who can apply?
The government notification said that candidates with expertise in specific areas of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, road transport and highways, shipping, environment and forests, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce can apply for the posts.
While candidates from state governments as well as central or state public sector undertakings will be appointed on deputation, the candidates from private sector will be appointed on contract basis, the notification said.
How to apply?
Applications are invited at lateral.nic.in, beginning from June 15. The last date for the submission of applications is 5pm, July 30, 2018. All applications must be made online. No physical applications will be entertained.
Who are eligible to apply?
- Officers of any State/UT Government who are already working at equivalent level or are eligible for appointment to equivalent level in their cadre, with relevant experience.
- Individuals working at comparable levels in Public, Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Autonomous Bodies, Statutory Organisations, Universities, Recognized Research Institutes with a minimum of 15 years experience.
- Individuals working at comparable levels in Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organisations, International/Multinational Organisations with a minimum of 15 years experience.
Political row erupts
Reacting to the development, Congress Spokesperson P.L. Punia told IANS: "This is just to sabotage the efficiently-running system and with a view to take people from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some industrial houses so that they can directly influence the decision-making of the government."
Punia, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer himself, said there was a time-tested efficient system of recruitment of IAS and officers in other services which was "foolproof", and that the recruits were "brilliant minds" who are given training keeping in mind the government's requirements.
He also pointed out that the advertisement said the positions were open for "Indian nationals". Normally, it is open for Indian citizens.
"What do they mean by 'nationals'? Why have they not mentioned 'Indian citizens' but 'Indian nationals'. So, we will have to examine whether they have something else in mind -- whether they want to include NRIs," he said.
Asked if he suspected foul play, the Congress leader said: "Yes".
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wondered as to what were the Modi government's real intentions behind the move.
"Why are time-tested UPSC and SSC being sought to be undermined? To fill IAS ranks with Sanghis and undermine reservation too, in the BJP's last few months in office," Yechury tweeted.
"BJP's attempt to subvert Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC reservations in the IAS is not the first. They have done the same for university professors as well, through similar devious methods. This, when we need more affirmative action, not less," he added.
Meanwhile, NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amitabh Kant - an IAS officer himself -- welcomed the move, saying it was "long overdue".
"NITI's experience with lateral entry has been extremely good. They (candidates) bring in a vast number of fresh and vibrant ideas.
"This move in government was long overdue and I welcome it. (It) Will catalyse UPSC entrants to specialise. The government must also allow deputation of its officers to private sector as well," Kant said in a tweet.
Joint Secretaries are placed at a crucial level of senior management in the government and lead policy-making as well as implementation of various programmes and schemes of the department assigned to them. They report to the Secretary or the Additional Secretary in the respective Ministries.
(With inputs from IANS)