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Government waives UPSC requirement, seeks ‘outstanding’ people for 10 senior posts

The government is looking for 10 “outstanding individuals”, even from the private sector, for joint secretary posts usually filled by officers selected through UPSC exams

india Updated: Jun 11, 2018 15:53 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Government jobs,UPSC,UPSC exam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers the keynote address at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.(REUTERS)

The Union government has advertised and sought applications from “talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building” to become bureaucrats at the Joint Secretary (JS) rank, a mid-ranking position usually filled by officers selected through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams.

The ministry of personnel said it was looking for 10 outstanding individuals with expertise in the areas of financial services, revenue, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmer welfare, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forest and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce.

“It’s an endeavour to get the best from whichever source available,” said minister of state of department of personnel and training Jitendra Singh said.

“It’s motivated with focus on allowing every Indian citizen a fair chance to ensure their growth depending on their potential,” he added.

The applications for ‘lateral recruitment of senior positions in the government of India’ can be sent from June 15 to July 30.

“We already have two secretaries who are on contract — drinking water and sanitation, and Ayush. Before that we had a power secretary, who was recruited in the same manner,” said C Chandarmouli, secretary (personnel). Chandramouli was referring to Parameswaran Iyer, who took voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and then returned from the US to head the Narendra Modi government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and was last year, appointed secretary in the drinking water and sanitation ministry for two years.

Another example is “Vaidya” Rajesh Kotecha, who was first appointed as special secretary in the ministry of Ayush and later promoted as secretary in July last year. Kotecha, a former vice-chancellor of Jamnagar-based Gujarat Ayurveda University and an Ayurvedic doctor, has been given charge for three years. But a joint secretary rank official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, added that there might have been earlier instances of individual ministries advertising for a particular post, but that this is the first time that the ministry of personnel has collectively sought applications for 10 JS-rank posts in various departments.

“Our internal consultations are on. The advertisement has come this morning. We have not structured our response,” said Sanjay Bhoosreddy, secretary of the IAS association said.

But a senior officer of the association said on the condition of anonymity that there should be a merit-based exam for lateral entrants.

“This is not a bad idea per se. But we have to see the fine prints. There should be some merit-based exams for the lateral entrants. The appointment should only be given by a body like UPSC. The Centre must judge if the applicants have domain knowledge and experience of working in a government set-up. An NGO and a government are two different ball games. Remember, a civil servant works in villages as well as in cities,” the officer said.

Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant said the body’s experience with lateral entry had been extremely good. “They bring in a vast number of fresh and vibrant ideas. This move in the government was long overdue & I welcome it. Will catalyse UPSC entrants to specialise,” he tweeted.

The government notification says those who have been working at “comparable levels in Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organisations, International/Multinational Organisations with a minimum of 15 years’ experience” are eligible to apply and recruitment would for three to five years.

The recruitment will be done on contract basis for three to five years. The vacancies are also open for those who are already working at equivalent level in state governments and Union territories, public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies, universities and research institutes.

The Congress-led UPA government handpicked former Infosys chief Nandan Nilekani to head its ambitious Unique Identification Authority of India, the nodal body for the Aadhaar project.

There have been other examples as well — like chemical engineer Lovraj Kumar, who joined the government and became petroleum secretary during the Janata Party government.

Not everyone backed the move. “Bad and Dangerous move - Government has invited application for 10 posts of Joint secretaries in different ministries under ‘ lateral entry’. Schemes. I strongly oppose the move by passing Regular Route to bring RSS cadet in... Reservation is main casualty,” said CPI(M) MP TK Rangarajan.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 10, 2018 18:55 IST