New Delhi: With the aim of limiting political intervention, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will now be responsible for clearing appointments of ten joint secretary posts in the Central government bureaucracy through lateral entry.
The idea here, Times of India reported, is to avoid allegations of favouritism while facilitating the entry of experts into bureaucracy from outside, to primarily deal with policy-making.
The decision to put UPSC – which adheres to a rigorous system of recruitment for government jobs through written tests and interviews – in charge was made by the search-cum-selection committee, headed by the cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha, on July 23, according to an Indian Express report.
The panel has put the onus of selection on UPSC because the organisation doesn’t have any guiding recruitment rules. There is also an absence of assessment criteria for screening candidates.
Over 6,000 candidates have applied for these lateral entry jobs with a majority of them vying for the posts of three joint secretaries in finance ministry. According to sources, a likely cause of the low turnout might have been the offer being limited to a three-five year tenure and contractual appointment.
Applicants had been invited for joint secretary posts across eight ministries. The idea was to bring in “fresh ideas and new approaches” to governance and to augment the workforce, according to Indian Express.
The ministries will initially identify the sector for which they wish to induct an expert through lateral entry and next set up panels for shortlisting candidates which will then be sent to the UPSC for a round of interviews, Times of India reported.
Joint secretaries constitute a crucial level of senior management in the bureaucracy, taking the lead policymaking as well as implementation of various programmes and schemes of the department they are assigned to.
(With PTI inputs)