Providing reservation in lateral entry of professionals not viable: Govt

The Centre on Thursday said it is difficult and not viable to provide reservation in lateral entry of professionals in the government sector.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh said lateral entry of professionals in the government will not result in any kind of discrimination against existing cadre of officers.

"...It was decided that it is difficult to provide reservation in these single cadre posts and it is not perhaps viable," he said in Rajya Sabha.

While replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Singh said the subject of lateral entry has been raised in this House earlier as well. First of all, let it be made clear that this entire process has been carried out with clear mindset and policy. It is not as if it started now.

"The lateral entry proposal was approved by the previous government," he said.

"Reservation is not applicable for appointment to single post cadres," the minister said in his written reply.

Singh said the proposal was first taken up in 2008 when for the first time it came through the Administrative Reforms Committee and was approved by the then PMO of 2011.

The minister said the most distinguished example of lateral entry of professionals in the government sector is of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Answering a supplementary question on reservation and selection criteria, Singh said, "The procedure of this selection has been determined with transparency and objectivity and it is being carried out through UPSC. Therefore nobody will be asked about background .. (it will be decided) on the basis of one's capability and experience..".

He said according to parameters determined, a person applying to a joint secretary post needs to be above the age of 40 and have at least 15 years of work experience in whichever sector he or she has been working.

For a director or deputy secretary one needs to have at least 10 years of work experience and aged at least 35 years, Singh said, adding this is aimed at attracting the best of talent.

The Government has, from time to time, appointed some prominent persons for specific assignments keeping in view their specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.

Based on recommendations of the Sectoral Group of Secretaries on Governance in its report submitted in February 2017, and report of NITI Aayog regarding three year action agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, the government decided to undertake lateral recruitment of 10 Joint Secretaries in 10 Ministries or Departments.

The selection process was undertaken by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Replying to a supplementary question on any plan to set up a separate service, Singh said if a separate service is set up, it will become another parallel service. To go in for the best of the best, particularly as we evolve as a nation, the specialised services are becoming more and more imperative".

"We just trying to enlarge the pool, to go in for the best of the best to enlarge the pool, to supplement existing services not to replace or threaten existing services," he added.

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