The proposal to induct private sector specialists via lateral entry was not made because the bureaucracy was inefficient, but it was to augment manpower availability and to bring in fresh ideas in governance, the government said, citing a report of secretaries that supported the move.
To a question in Rajya Sabha whether the government had undertaken any survey to ascertain the inefficiency of bureaucracy, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said no such survey was undertaken.
"The decision for lateral entry at joint secretary- level is based on the recommendations of the sectoral group of secretaries (SGoS) on governance, in view of the need for bringing in fresh ideas, new approaches to governance and to augment the availability of personnel at JS level and not because of any conclusion that Indian bureaucracy is inefficient," he said in a written reply.
Singh said the government had decided to recruit talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building to join the government at the level of joint secretary on contract.
"The individuals working at comparable levels in private sector companies, consultancy organisations, international/multinational organisations are inter-alia eligible to apply," the minister said.
Replying to a question on the matter in Lok Sabha yesterday, the government had cited the names of former prime minister Manmohan Singh and the then deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia as being appointed through the lateral recruitment route.
The term lateral entry relates to appointment of specialists, mainly those from private sector, in government organisations.
On whether this practice had been followed earlier as well, the minister said there was lateral recruitment of some prominent persons to man specific assignments from time to time.
"This includes, among others, appointment of Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Vijay Kelkar, Bimal Jalan, Shankar Acharya, Rakesh Mohan, Arvind Virmani, Arvind Panagariya, Arvind Subramanian, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Parameswaran Iyer and Ram Vinay Shahi. No adverse effect on the morale of the civil servants has resulted from lateral recruitments," Singh had said.
Kelkar was former finance secretary, Jalan was former RBI governor, Mohan was former deputy governor of RBI, and Acharya, Virmani and Subramanian, former chief economic advisers.
Panagriya had been the vice chairman of Niti Ayog (formerly Planning Commission) and Kotecha was secretary in the Ayush Ministry. Iyer, a former IAS officer and sanitation expert, was secretary in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Shahi was former power secretary.