Public Administration Answer Writing Practice - Week 6 - Question 4

90 Days Public Administration Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 10-Jan-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.

2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

10-Jan-2018 - Question 2

"The idea of lateral entry into the Civil Services would energise Indian administration" What are its possible advantages and limitations? (2017)

Model Answer

The Lateral entry in Indian civil service is for selecting private individuals for appointment in the ranks of deputy secretary, director and joint secretary. Traditionally in India, Civil service individual is selected at the lower level through the competitive exam or through promotion through state services.


The advantages of lateral entry are:-

  • Outside talent from the private sector is more likely to be target-oriented, which will improve the performance of the government. Also, more competition will encourage career civil servants to develop expertise in areas of their choice.
  • The conventional wisdom on lateral entry is that it infuses fresh energy and thinking into an insular, complacent and often archaic bureaucracy. It enables the entry of right-minded professionals and the adoption of best practices for improving governance.
  • lateral entry will address the shortfall in numbers of competent officers and will be much more target oriented.

The limitations of lateral entry into Indian civil services are:-

  • The proposal for lateral entry at senior decision-making levels, besides increasing the disconnect between policymaking and implementation, will also result in inequitable sharing of the benefits and burdens of government service, with permanent civil servants left to bear the burden of humble implementation and lateral entrants getting access to glamorous policymaking positions, without having roughed it out in remote and rural India in the rough and tumble of Indian democracy. While there would certainly be a beeline for lateral entrants to join top policymaking positions, there would be no such great desire to serve the country at the ground level.
  • This bridge between policy-making and implementation, while crucial to all systems, has been of strategic significance in the Indian context, given the regional diversity of the country.
  • The exposure and sensitivity to the country s complex socio-political milieu and to the needs of the common man, which widespread field experience provides to these Services, may not be available in the private sector since the private sector does not have the same width and depth of exposure to this type of field experience.
  • An issue of conflict of interest when it comes to entrants from the private sector.
  • The potential loss of internal talent as well as the likelihood of atrophy of the existing career based services.
  • Large-scale lateral induction would, in fact, amount to a vote of no-confidence in the government personnel management system, rather than in the highly dedicated, motivated and talented officers who have chosen to join the civil services.
  • The difficulty in measuring performance in government is another obstacle to be reckoned with. It is not easy to assess the performance of a secretary to the government, given the sheer complexity and amorphous nature of the job. The induction of lateral entrants would not by itself suffice for better performance orientation and enhanced accountability. It would be as difficult to measure the performance of lateral entrants as it would of career civil servants.

India s civil services need reform. There is little argument about this. Internal reforms such as insulation from political pressure and career paths linked to specialization and external reforms such as lateral entry are complementary, addressing the same deficiencies from different angles. Thus, lateral entry cannot be a panacea for everything. It has been an exception in the Indian civil service system and should continue to be so.

Note: The model answer is only for your reference and not an ideal answer for the question.
For Question 1 - Click Here

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