The forest sector may become the first segment in India to allow the lateral entry of professionals, if environment minister Jairam Ramesh has his way.
Ramesh has asked the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, to submit a report on the modalities of implementing the lateral entry into the forest departments after an environment ministry committee rejected the idea of forest bureaucracy -- the Indian Forest Service (IFS).
“The IIM will submit report in the next three months,” Ramesh said, realising that his plan to induct professionals directly into the IFS will be resisted. Ramesh wants professionals to join the IFS at senior level.
There are 3,000 Indian Forest Service Officers and 4,500 state forest officers, who are recruited through an exam at the Central and state levels. Still about 45 % of the posts are lying vacant.
The Prime Minister's Office had wanted that up to 10% of posts at the level of joint secretary, under the Central Staffing Scheme, should be open to lateral entry of professionals from state governments, private sector and academics.
A draft note prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training had said the recruitment will be done by the Union Public Service Commission for five years. Lateral entry has been a distant dream with only a few including planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia joining as a joint secretary.
“You can't have lateral entry into a cadre easily. There will be too much resistance. That is why I am advocating lateral entry into departments,” he said.