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‘Lateral entry’ into bureaucracy: reason, process, and the controversy

Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.

‘Lateral entry’ into bureaucracy: reason, process, and the controversy:


Recently, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) issued an advertisement seeking applications “from talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building” for three posts of Joint Secretary and 27 of Director in central government Departments.

  • These individuals, who would make a “lateral entry” into the government secretariat, would be contracted for three to five years.
  • These posts were “unreserved”, meaning were no quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs.

What is ‘lateral entry’ into government?

  • Recommended by NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda.
  • The induction of personnel will take place at the middle and senior management levels in the central government.
  • These ‘lateral entrants’ would be part of the central secretariat which in the normal course has only career bureaucrats from the All India Services/ Central Civil Services.

Need for and significance:

  1. Lateral entrants have specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.
  2. Meets the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of manpower.
  3. It provides stakeholders such as the private sector and non-profits an opportunity to participate in governance process.
  4. It will help in bringing change in organisation culture in Government sector culture.

Why is lateral entry sometimes criticised?

  • There is no reservation in these appointments.
  • They are seen as back doors for a political party to bring its own people openly.


Prelims Link:

  • Overview of Articles 309 to 312.

Mains Link:

Discuss the pros and cons of lateral entry into civil services.

Sources: Indian Express.