Government rules out lateral entry into civil services

New Delhi : Certain issues concerning the lateral entry into civil services and temporary postings of government servants in multi-national agencies and other non-profit organisations will require political consensus, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Answering supplementary questions from Congress member Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Personnel Jitendra Singh said during question hour that there is “no proposal” to constitute a committee to study the feasibility of lateral entry into the civil services.

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Such a major decision would require political consensus, he said and added the government is certainly “not satisfied” with a latest independent survey that puts India at 76th position in terms of satisfactory performance of Indian bureaucracy.

“Are you satisfied with this 76th position,” Tharoor quizzed the minister.

The Congress member also lamented that “complacency” is a biggest demerit of the bureaucracy and India, unfortunately, was no exception to this.

“Why you say no proposal? As a member of parliament, I am making a proposal now,” Tharoor said.

The Union minister quickly countered the Congress member and said nowhere the government has said it is satisfied with 76th position given to the Indian bureaucracy by a survey on Asian economies.

The survey was not officially conducted and based on a limited sample of 600, he maintained, asserting that there has been a “progressive improvement” in India’s statistical ranking over the years.

“Ever since our government came to power, at the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has been clear that we are trying to bring in maximum governance and also ensure that the bureaucracy is able to deliver up to their best of potentials,” Singh said.

Prime Minister Modi, who heads the Ministry of Personnel that meets service conditions of central government, was present in the house.

To another query, Singh, however, said there was no proposal to make temporary postings in multi-national agencies and non-profit organisations mandatory.

Such issues also would require a political consensus, he said.

The minister said the qualifying age for the Indian Administrative Service has been increased from time to time.

“Most people may not know, it now stood at 47 years whereas the age at which one is eligible for retirement is 50 years,” Singh said.

Last week, the parliamentary standing committee on the External Affairs Ministry headed by Tharoor in its report had expressed concern over the quality of entrants to the Infian Foreign Service.

“The committee are concerned at the deterioration in the quality of recruits to the IFS. This is happening at a time when the lure and appeal to the civil service examination has increased tremendously,” the panel said.