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Day 77 – Q 3.Do you think lateral entry would dilute the ‘public’ character of the civil services? Substantiate your views.

3. Do you think lateral entry would dilute the ‘public’ character of the civil services? Substantiate your views.   

क्या आपको लगता है कि पार्श्व प्रविष्टि सिविल सेवाओं केसार्वजनिकचरित्र को काम करेगी? अपने विचारों की पुष्टि करें।


The government’s recent move to induct 10 secretary level positions through lateral entry sparked a debate of privatization of civil services and dilution of its public character. However, the intent and effect of lateral entry will in turn only improve the public character of civil services than diluting it.


Argument for lateral entry diluting public character of civil services:

  • Private sector is profit oriented whereas government is public service oriented. This needs a change in fundamental way of working of the person appointed which is a challenge.
  • The concern that the one appointed is specialized in a particular field and will work/ favor policies to that specific sector than working as a generalist serving the entire public. E.g. a person worked for a private mobile industry recruited may bring/focus on policies related to mobile industry alone.
  • Appointment: process being less transparent has a concern for nexus/nepotism where in the merit is compromised. Thus, the public service nature of the one appointed can be compromised.
  • Issue of conflict of interest: The movement from private sector raises issues of potential conflict of interest. This issue requires stringent code of conduct for entrants from private sectors to ensure conflict of interest is not detrimental to public good.
  • The lack of ground experience working with public like that of an IAS officer will hamper the responsive, discursive nature of job and thus there seems to be an alienation from the very public they intend to serve.

Though, there are certain concerns, if implemented properly with all checks and balances in place, lateral entry would indeed improve the public service and nature of civil service. To substantiate, 

  • With the increased competition, the present working civil servant would have to improve, innovate themselves which drives them work more for the public and discernible outcome.
  • The recruitment happens from among the very public who hitherto were receiving services from the government. The one appointed would try address the problems he/she suffered as a public which in turn would enhance the public character of civil service.
  • Public character of civil services is hollow/incomplete without effective and efficient working which is brought in by the lateral entry.
  • Participatory Governance: In the present times governance is becoming more participatory and multi actor endeavor, thus lateral entry provides stakeholders such as the private sector and non-profits an opportunity to participate in governance process.


Though there are certain concerns, with proper procedures, checks and balances, lateral entry will enthuse a number of people who are aspiring to work in the public sector, to get a hands-on chance to do so. This will in turn will enhance the publicness in civil service with more customer-oriented approach, responsive and timely communication, diversified areas of interest to bring overall development.

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