A life-cycle approach

Shailesh Pathak’s article, “Lateral entry into top govt posts is the way forward” (July 26), seems out of touch with current developments and construes a limited meaning of lateral entry into civil services — re-arranging career bureaucrats in the pipeline of seniority. 

Nevertheless, it offers encouraging suggestions for better utilisation of talent within the system. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), however, has instructed the Department of Personnel and Training to put forth a proposal for inclusion of “outsiders” in the middle rung of ministries.

The shortage of officials at the senior level has been widely documented. The government’s decision to merge two batches for empanelment is myopic. It will only expedite exhaustion of senior-level talent, as supply of talent in the pipeline has been constant over decades. 

To compensate for this, tenures of officials empanelled from these batches should be increased commensurately. Moreover, along with widening of the talent pool, thought must be given for better alignment of specialisation of officials with their postings.

If talent is brought in from the private sector, as hinted by the PMO recently, the recruitment system should become comprehensive. Private sector personnel appointed as senior bureaucrats for sometime will then join the private sector. One foresees how agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Commission and Central Information Commission would have to be remodelled to enforce their mandate on such officials for their tenure in the government. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the envisaged lateral entry system would have to adopt a life-cycle approach for these “human resources”.

Amit Kumar Upadhyay   New Delhi

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