Reforming the Recruitment of Officers to the Premier Civil Services

The changes include ‘Unified Foundation Course’ and ‘Expansion of lateral entry’.

Reforming the Recruitment of Officers to the Premier Civil Services

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is working on a unified foundation course on recruitment to top civil services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), among others.

It is also planning an expansion of the lateral entry programme.

Unified Foundation Course’

The idea of a unified foundation course was first proposed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). It is suggested that candidates selected by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) would be allotted services not on the basis of their rankings in the UPSC exam, but on the basis of a unified foundation course.

The proposal, however, has been held behind after the government faced negative reactions for attempting to reform the recruitment of civil servants, and introducing subjectivity in the process of service allocation.

The DoPT is aiming to make a fresh attempt to bring all 1,000-1,200 candidates selected by UPSC under a unified foundation course soon after they are recruited by the commission.

But it is not clear yet whether the ministry plans to reform the service allocation rules on the basis of the foundation course or hold the course after the candidates are allotted their services.

The ministry has been pondering over the issue for the past years because the idea has merit.

The foundation course is an introductory course for freshly recruited civil servants in India. While the course is mandatory for all, it is a formality since probationers are allocated services and cadre on the basis of their ranking in the UPSC, way before the course begins.

‘Expansion of lateral entry’

Another fundamental reform that the DoPT is trying to introduce is the expansion of the lateral entry scheme under which the government recruits domain experts into the bureaucracy.

DoPT  suggests expanding the lateral entry system at the director and deputy secretary level in the government.

Introducing the reforms in a manner that the criticisms against the proposals are adequately addressed without diluting their merits can be the way forward.



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