Demolishing the dream of Sardar Patel
LATERAL hiring may sound like an exciting concept, but it is a flawed one for several reasons. For one, it will destroy what it aims to rebuild. One of the reasons for its acceptance is that it will allow people with domain knowledge to participate in governance. What’s forgotten in such a logic is that, over the decades, governance and public policy have themselves acquired the status of new domains. A public servant now requires expert knowledge in both these areas. More important, an excellent doctorto ca can no tot managea age AIIMS, S, ab brilliantat engineer cannot ‘Make in India’, and a lawyer cannot draft PPP contracts. acts. Two, the IAS structure allows those in governance to understand andnd master the unique federal structure of this country. It enables the public servant too realise the needs of the people at severall levels. As she starts from the district and works towards the centre, she undergoes a bottoms-uptoms-up approach that helps her to always putut the needs of the people before anything else. Ann efficient and effective policy maker, be it a ministerinister or a civil servant, should never forgetrget it. Domain experts may not even think along long these lines. What most proponentsroponents fail to grasp is that the workings of the civil services is enshrined in the Constitution. Part XIV deals with “Services Under the Union and the States”. Article 309 states, “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Acts of the appropriate Legislature may regulate the recruitment, and conditions of service of persons appointed, to public services and posts in connection with the affairs, of the Union or of any State.” Any change in the governance structure requires constitutional amendments, and cannot be done through executive orders. Lateral talent will undermine thee Co Cons ti tut ion.suo There are several other problems wit with the concept. We talk about the corruption and lack of tra transparency in the civil services. However, outsiders, who are directly hired by the government, may be as cor corrupt. In addition, such a process can easily becom become rotten, and lead to crony capitalism, patronage, and favouritism. Over the past decade, we debate debated on how to reduce the government’s discretio discretionary powers. This will only enhance them, and in are areas where recruitments were meant to be co completely transparent and merit-based. Aw wrong cannot be righted by another wrong. Like two wrongs don’t make a right. Prabhat Kumar former Cabinet Secretary and MG Dev as a ha Dev asa hay am a former IAS officer have debat debated the issue.