Q) Lateral entry only at top level policy making positions may have little impact on field level implementation, given the multiple links in the chain of command from the Union Government to a rural village.Critically evaluate.

Why this question 

UPSC has advertised for lateral entry in Central administration.

Key demand of the question 

An extensive analysis on the positive and negative impacts of lateral entry in administration.


Critically evaluate - Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.


Define  lateral entry and the reason that the government intends to achieve with it.


In the first part, highlight the positive impact that the lateral entry in administration would have.

In the next part, highlight the issues that can emerge as a consequence of such a move. Suggest some other ways to reform administration processes.


Conclude with an approach which is balanced.

Model Answer

The government is looking for exemplary individuals, equipped with expertise in economic affairs, revenue, commerce, agriculture, financial services, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, shipping, road transport and highway, civil aviation, forests and climate change, environment, new and renewable energy. The UPSC lateral entry IAS mode is an attempt by the Indian government in order to bring in fresh, new talent into the bureaucracy. This is the lateral entry meaning.

In the advertisement for recruitment through lateral entry by the Personnel Ministry, the notified post is ‘joint secretary’ level. It is generally filled by officers selected through the conduct of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Civil Services Examination. Joint Secretaries are at an important level of senior management in the Government of India. They are responsible for leading policymaking in the nation’s governance. Execution of various programmes and schemes for the department is also assigned to them.

Advantages of Lateral Entry

Some of the advantages of lateral entry in the IAS include:

  • Complexity: Governance is turning out to be more and more complex, requiring specialised skills. A generalist officer may not always be expected to be up-to-date with such specialized knowledge.
  • Personnel Shortage: According to the Department of Personnel and Training data, there is a scarcity of about 1500 IAS officers in the Government of India. Lateral entry will enable us to bridge this huge gap.
  • Organisation Culture: Lateral entry will assist in bringing about a change in organizational culture in the government sector.
  • Participatory Governance: In recent times governance is far more participatory and a multi-actor enterprise.

Issues Involved

  • Need for Transparent Process: Selection of the right people in a manner which is transparent is essential. The constitutional role of the UPSC will provide legitimacy to the entire process of recruitment. This should not be ignored.
  • The difference in Organisational Values: The value systems between the public and the private sector are quite different. It is crucial to ensure that the selected experts are skilled enough to adjust to an entirely different system of functioning.
  • Profit Motive vs. Public Service: The approach of the private sector is profit-oriented, whereas the motive of the government is public service. This is also a basic transition that a private sector person has to make while functioning in the government.
  • Internal Resistance: Lateral entry is expected to face tough conflict from Civil Servants in-service and their associations.
  • Narrow Scope: Lateral entry only at the top-level policymaking positions may possibly have little influence on field level execution.

Lack of Specific Criteria: The criteria laid out in the notification were broad-based, and so, it failed to grant a narrow window to attract domain experts of eminence, in the fields advertised for.