Modi government on Friday appointed nine non-governmental professionals as joint secretaries in various government departments. This is the first time private sector professionals were selected for appointment in central government departments. The professionals were appointed on contractual basis.
The UPSC released the list of professionals who will join various government departments. These departments are agriculture, cooperation and farmers welfare, civil aviation, commerce, economic affairs, environment, forest and climate change, new and renewable energy, road transport and highways, and shipping.
Since coming to power, the Modi government has tried its best to reform the lagged bureaucratic framework of the nation. The recent reform of the lateral entry scheme is a revolutionary step taken by the Modi government. It was a long due step that was demanded by the people of the country.
The lateral entry scheme will help to improve the inefficiencies of the bureaucratic set up of the country. The scheme has offered the private players with age above 40 and with 15 years of experience in economics, aviation or commerce, to join the government at bureaucratic posts of Joint Secretary. The Modi government has tried hard to reform the bureaucracy. It is a known fact that it becomes difficult to bring any reform in a department from outside and easier if the department itself initiates these reforms. The Modi government, however, has brought out various reforms to improve the bureaucracy of the country.
The government is using a very unique way to facilitate the process of the scheme. It has used Sparrow (Smart performance appraisal report recording online window) to make the entire appraisal system online and accessible for the ministries that are concerned with the review. The Department of Personnel and Training last year extended ‘Sparrow’ from just the IAS cadre to other cadres. The Modi government has launched another online system to track inefficiency is a DoPT portal, ‘Solve’, a system for online vigilance inquiry for board-level appointees.
The controversial step in the reforms is the 360-review or the appraisal system that was also in the direction to reform the bureaucracy. This helped reduce the dependence on the annual confidential reports that included the shortlisting of the people for promotions and appraisals by the civil service department of India. These reports have the final bearings of those who would be given top positions in bureaucratic job hierarchy. These reports have also been criticized on the grounds that they are manipulated and opaque in nature. It barred the department from being transparent.
The government’s new lateral entry scheme would be independent and backed by various sources. The selection process will be done in an unassuming manner and information would be gathered keeping all aspects in mind. The appraisal will be based on work done and relevant observation of the particular officer. Under the lateral entry scheme, the candidates applying under the scheme must be of 40 years of age as on July 1 and must have graduated from a recognized university or institute. They are appointed for a period of three years initially and the government can extend the contract up to five years. The candidates selected for the prospective posts will be offered a salary between Rs. 1.44 lakh to Rs. 2.18 lakh per month. They will also be entitled to allowances and facilities which are applicable to government officials working at an equivalent level under the government of India.
While addressing the bureaucrats in 2017, the PM had asked them to stop being regulators and think out of the box. It is clear that it is only the current Modi government which cares for administrative efficiency and better governance. On the other hand, the entire opposition is narrow-minded and cannot think above vote bank politics.