Lateral entry in civil services can help to address challenges faced by civil services in India by introducing domain specialists, but it has its own set of problems.

Lateral entry is defined as the introduction of government officials directly from industry and academia without going through a regular recruitment process.

Pros:

  • Will allow entry of new and fresh talent.
  • Provide alternate viewpoints to government policy making.
  • Technical expertise through professional involvement.
  • Allows domain experts to contribute to national development.

Concerns:

  • Threatens independence of civil services.
  • Allegations of nepotism.
  • Indirect influence by industry by placing their professionals in leadership roles.
  • Lack of experience in government functioning.
  • Generalist civil service helps in considering all viewpoints which specialists may lack.

Way forward:

  • Appointments vetted by independent body (UPSC) – Baswan committee.
  • Allowing civil servants to develop specialized skills after certain years of general service.

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