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2017 batch IPS officer-trainees with President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, in New Delhi on October 12.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

A lateral entry into a GoI joint secretary’s post: 10 Things to Know


IN AN unprecedented move, the Central government last week invited application from “talented and motivated Indian nationals” to apply for 10 union joint secretary posts, something that mostly go the IAS and at times to officers belonging to other All India and central services. Understandably, the move created a huge buzz both in the conventional and social media, with views being aired both for and against of it. Here below are 10 things you need to know about this new initiative of a lateral entry:

1. Ten joint secretaries will be absorbed in the ministries/departments such as revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce. 
2. The qualification as in the case of UPSC is a simple graduation, but the DoPT notification says, higher qualifications will be an added advantage. 
3. The minimum age to qualify is 40 years, as on July 1, 2018. 
4. Officers woking with the state government, PSUs and even private companies are eligible to apply for the posts. 
5. However, unlike the IAS, IPS joint secretaries, these 10 new joint secretaries won’t remain in service till they turn 60. Instead, it will be a contractual employment — with a salary of Rs 1.44 to 2.18 lakh per month — for three years, extendable by two more years. 
Unlike in UPSC, here’s no written examination; selection panel will pick the JS on the basis of a “personal interaction”.
6. Some government agencies including the NITI Aayog had already experimented with lateral entries by inducting Young Professionals on a contract basis. But they are way below the rank of a joint secretary.
7. Some bureaucrats and former bureaucrats such as Amitabh Kant and Nirupama Rao hailed the government’s decision. 
8. But some serving IAS officers are finding this a little intimidating, as the number of JS posts will be squeezed, and then, the debate over specialists and generalists may surface once more. After all, the new JS will be all specialists and be posted in revenue or shipping departments according to their past experiences and specialised expertise. 
9. Yet, as the 10 new JS posts will be all contractual, only for three years and extendable to five, they won’t be any threat to existing bureaucrats who retire at 60. 
10. Those who are possibly worried more today are those in their 20s who are preparing for the UPSC examinations. The question in their mind is: Will this new trend finally take away elite government jobs?

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