Centre for specialists at joint-secretary level

Centre for specialists at joint-secretary level

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The Narendra Modi government has opened up the doors of bureaucracy for domain specialists from the private sector by offering to appoint them as joint secretaries. The move has kicked off a political controversy, with the Congress alleging that it is an attempt to ensure backdoor entry of BJP-RSS sympathisers in governance.

In an advertisement that appeared in newspapers on Sunday, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sought applications from private sector specialists for 10 departments – Road, Transport and Highways; Agriculture and Farming; Economic Affairs; Financial Services; Shipping; Commerce; Civil Aviation; Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Renewable Energy; and Revenue.

The DoPT notification seeks applications from “outstanding individuals” working at comparable levels in private sector companies, consultancy organisations and international/multinational organisations with a minimum of 15 years’ experience.

Political storm

The move kicked off a political storm, with Congress leader Panna Lal Punia alleging that it would allow recruitment of persons linked to the RSS and BJP and their capitalist friends at senior levels in the government.

“Why are time-tested UPSC and SSC being sought to be undermined? To fill IAS ranks with Sanghis and undermine reservation, too, in the BJP’s last few months in office,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

“How can this Manuwadi government ignore the UPSC and appoint its own people to important joint secretary-level positions? This is a gross violation of the Constitution and the reservation system. Tomorrow, they can appoint the prime minister and the cabinet without election. They have made a mockery of the Constitution,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said the government move was long overdue. “It will catalyse UPSC entrants to specialise,” he said.