The central government yesterday announced that it is seeking applications from public and private sector working professionals to apply for posts at joint-secretary level in ten departments and ministries with the aim of “bringing in fresh ideas and new approaches to governance and also to augment manpower.”

The government’s Department of Personnel and Training released a notification in this regard inviting applications from “outstanding individuals” who possess minimum professional experience of 15 years, are above the age of 40 years, and are willing to contribute towards nation building.

According to the notification, jobs are available in departments of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, road transport, highways & shipping, environment & forests, civil aviation, commerce, and renewable energy. Applicants can belong to public utility companies, private companies and MNCs but they must fulfil all other conditions prescribed. They will be hired for a minimum period of three years and will be paid salaries commensurate to that of employees at the level of joint-secretaries.

The government has taken this decision to allow such “lateral entries” for top bureaucratic posts as an alternative to UPSC entries because it has been facing shortage of manpower in various departments at joint-secretary levels. Policy-making bodies like Niti Aayog had suggested hiring of private sector professionals to fill up some of these vacancies.

This decision of the government drew flak from leaders of opposition parties. RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav said this move by the centre is unconstitutional and it undermines reservation policies for SC/ST members. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also criticized this decision, claiming that the government wants to appoint RSS-backed people to top posts using this method.

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