"Based on this, it has been decided, in principle, to appoint outside experts to 40 positions at Deputy Secretary/Director level. However, no final decision has been taken in the matter," he said.
To a question as to the government was considering lateral exits of IAS officers in central government services, the minister said "there is no such proposal before the government".
Singh, in another reply, said the government has, from time to time, appointment some prominent persons for specific assignments in government, keeping in view their specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.
PTI had last month reported that a total of 40 specialists from the private sector were likely to be appointed in the government at the level of Deputy Secretary and Director.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the civil services examination to select officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others, had in April this year selected nine private sector specialists as Joint Secretaries.
The posts of Joint Secretaries are manned by the IAS, IPS and other service government officers.
The Personnel Ministry had in June last year invited applications for the Joint Secretary-rank posts through "lateral entry" mode.
The lateral entry mode, which relates to the appointment of specialists from private sector in government organisations, is considered as an ambitious step of the Modi government to bring in fresh talent in bureaucracy.
A total of 6,077 applications were received in response to the government's advertisement.
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