DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC |01 Mar 2021| RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

01 MAR 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

A wolf in watchdog’s clothing

 The Hindu

2

More about Big Government than Big Tech.

The Hindu

3

“A tale of two halves”

Indian Express

4

A project in slow motion

Indian Express

5

‘Lateral entry’ into bureaucracy: reason, process, and controversy.

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

City Innovation Exchange (CiX) Launched for Fostering Innovation in Urban Ecosystem

Syllabus- GS2 –

Bilateral agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Analysis:

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched City Innovation Exchange (CiX) platform.
  • The City Innovation Exchange (CiX) will connect cities to innovators across the national ecosystem to design innovative solutions for their pressing challenges.
  • The platform will ease the discovery, design & validation of solutions through a robust, transparent and user centric process that will reduce barriers for innovators and cities to discover fitting solutions.
  • Built on the concept of ‘open innovation’, the platform will help in the flow of ideas ‘outside in and inside out’, enhancing the skills and capacity required to deliver smart urban governance.
  • Through interaction with the Academia and Businesses/Startups, the platform will benefit cities in the transfer of ideas from ‘labs’ to real environment.
  • Similarly, by helping urban governments interact with citizens, the platform will ensure adoption of tested solutions that will be impactful and sustainable.
  • The platform in due time will help our cities in adopting solutions that will enhance the quality of life for its residents and significantly improve the Ease of Doing Business.

96% people faced drop in earningsduring last year’s lockdown: survey

Syllabus- GS2 –

Employment and earnings

Analysis:

  • Nearly 96% of the people surveyed under a food rights campaign in Maharashtra faced a drop in their earnings during the novel corona virus induced Lockdown
  • last year, a social body Around 96% people outof those surveyed admitted
  • that their earnings dropped sharply in the lockdown period, and their situation remained the same five months after the lockdown was lifted.”

PM calls for water conservation drive

Syllabus- GS2 – 

Environment- Water conservation

Analysis:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said there
  • was a need to start conserving water right away and that the Jal Shakti Ministry would be launching a 100day“catch the rain” campaign soon.
  • Modi was speaking during his monthly radio address, Mann Ki Baat, when he said there was a need to have collective responsibility on water conservation.
  • “In most parts of India, rainfall begins in May-June.
  • Can we right away start a100daycampaign for the
  • sake of cleaning up the water sources around us and conserving rain water?
  • According to the English translation of his address provided by the government.
  • Since it was National Science Day on Sunday, Mr. Modi said the youth should learn about the history of science in India and scientists.

Mains Analysis

A wolf in watchdog’s clothing

Why in News: –

The new rules “The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021” introduced by the Centre to regulate all types of digital platforms, with the idea of redressing user grievances and ensuring compliance with the law.

Syllabus: -GS-2:

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;

GS-3: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

The new Rules: –

  • The rules claimed to “address people’s varied concerns while removing any misapprehension about curbing creativity and freedom of speech and expression”.
  • These rules force digital news publishers and video streaming services to adhere to a cumbersome three-tier structure of regulation, with a government committee at its apex.
  • The new rules pertain only to digital news media, and not to the whole of the news media, hardly provides comfort, as the former is increasingly becoming a prime source of news and 

What is Digital Media: –

Digital Media’ means digitized content that can be transmitted over the internet, Computer networks and for the purposes of these rules includes content received, stored or transmitted by: an intermediary; or a publisher of news and current affairs content or online curated content.

The Concern:

  • The great concern in a country where the news media have been given the space all along to self-regulate, based on the mature understanding that any government presence could have a chilling effect on free speech and conversations
  • it is of significant concern that the purview of the IT Act, 2000,has been expanded to bring digital news media under its regulatory ambit without legislative action, which digital liberties organizations such as the Internet Freedom Foundation have flagged.

 

Mechanism to redress complaints:

  • The three-tier regulatory mechanism will seek to redress complaints with respect to the digital platforms’ adherence to a Code of Ethics.
  • Other things includes the ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct’, compiled by the Press Council of India, the Programme Code of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, as also a negative list of content that shall not be published.

The Code of Ethics:

  • While there is not much that is wrong with the Code of Ethics per se, what is problematic is that it will take little to bring this regulatory mechanism to vicious life.
  • According to the rules, “Any person having a grievance regarding content published by a publisher in relation to the Code of Ethics may furnish his grievance on the grievance mechanism established by the publisher.”
  • Literally anyone could force a digital platform to take up any issue. It has to be taken up first, under the new rules, by the digital platform’s grievance officer.
  • If there is no resolution or if the complainant is dissatisfied, this can be escalated to a “self-regulating” body of publishers.

The new rules increased the compliance burden for social media platforms:

  • The bigger of these platforms will have to appoint chief compliance officers, to ensure the rules and the laws are adhered to, and a nodal officer, with whom the law enforcement agencies will be coordinating, apart from a grievance officer.
  • Such platforms in the messaging space will have to “enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource” based on a judicial order.
  • The rules require messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Signal to trace problematic messages to the originator.
  • While the triggers for a judicial order that require such an identification are serious offences, it raises uneasy questions about how such apps will be able to adhere to such orders, as their messages are encrypted end-to-end.

Problems with online content:

  • it’s referred to a 2018 Supreme Court observation that the government “may frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography, rape and gangrape imageries, videos”.
  • The websites in content hosting platforms and other applications, besides making a mention of discussions in Parliament about social media misuse and fake news.

The newspaper argued earlier:

  • It could prove counterproductive in a country where the citizens still do not have a data privacy law to guard themselves against excesses committed by any party.
  • Regulation has an important place in the scheme of things, and no one advocates giving a free pass to the digital platforms.
  • The laws to combat unlawful content are already in place.
  • What is required is their uniform application. It is also far from reassuring that this government has had an uneasy, sometimes unpleasant, relationship with media in general.

The appetite for criticism:

  • The appetite for criticism, so vital in a democracy, is just not there. Some weeks ago, the government had a run-in with Twitter after its defied orders to ban certain hashtags and handles.
  • Also, an environment where people are sensitive to content, the regulatory mechanism could become an operational nightmare.
  • The casualties could be creativity and freedom of expression. The government would like to see itself as a watchdog of digital content in the larger public interest, but it comes across as a predator.

Way forward

  • The tightening of policy is inevitable given new challenges
  • It would be wrong to imagine that by implanting itself in the grievance redress process or by making platforms share more information, the government can solve these problems.
  • Amidst growing concerns around lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media and after elaborate consultation with the public and stakeholders, the new rules somehow overcome the digital media challenge. 

Question: –

What are the reasons for introduction of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code? Discuss critically its salient features and their effectiveness.

More about Big Government than Big Tech.

Why in News:

Under the IT Act new rules, it appears that the interest is largely about trying to force technologists to fall in line.

Syllabus: – GS-3:

Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

  • The Union Government issued a set of rules under the Information Technology Act, noting that it was superseding rules issued under Section 79 of that statute in 2011.
  • The Rules notified therein, subject to the import of Article 19(2) of the Constitution and ensure that their platforms are not used to commit and provoke terrorism, extremism, violence and crime.
  • Section 79 of IT act had specified that limited immunity for legal liability regarding user content, which Parliament had strengthened in 2008 when it amended that law.

 Section 79 of the IT Act 2000:

  1. Section 79 of the IT Act elaborates on the exemption from liabilities of intermediaries in certain cases. 
  2. Section 79(2)(c)mentions that intermediaries must observe due diligence while discharging their duties, and also observe such other guidelines as prescribed by the Central Government.
  3. The intermediary has conspired or abetted or aided or induced, whether by threats or promise or otherwise in the commission of the unlawful act;

 The Challenges: –

  1. The notification of new rules, however, do not merely represent the executive branch superseding previous subordinate rules under a law with newer regulation.
  2. They represent a dramatic, dangerous move by the Union Government towards cementing increased censorship of Internet content and mandating compliance with government demands regarding user data collection and policing of online services in India.
  3.  This has happened in the absence of open and public discussion of the full swathe of regulatory powers the government has sought to exercise, and without any parliamentary study and scrutiny.
  4.  The Union Government has chosen to pass these rules to outline the due diligence that Internet intermediaries ranging from telecom providers, search engines, Internet platforms and able to claim their qualified legal immunity under Section 79 of the IT Act.

 The Curious stand:

  • The government’s claimed that the rules were also issued under the legal authority to specific procedure for blocking web content under Section 69A of the IT Act.
  • The ability to issue rules under a statute to frame subordinate legislation is by its nature a limited, constrained power.
  • it is limited to the substantive provisions laid out by Parliament in the original act passed by the latter the executive branch is subordinate to what Parliament has permitted it and cannot use its rule-making power to seek to issue primary legislation by itself.

The Directives and mandates:

  1. The executive created new rules that apply only to “significant social media intermediaries” a term that appears nowhere in the Information Technology Act.
  2. It has included mandates for retention of user data by such intermediaries for use by government agencies and clauses on how popular messaging services have to enable the tracing of the original creator of a even though the sections in the law cited by the government do not give them that power.
  3. The rules have grown to include a chapter on how digital news sites have to be registered before the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
  4. Further laid out a mechanism by which streaming video sites featuring original content) have to agree to a government-supervised “self-regulatory system”.
  5. Even though digital news service registration is not required under the IT Act and streaming video content has not been included under the ambit of the Cinematograph Act.

 The message is clear

  1. It appears that the government wants to send a message to all Internet ecosystem players that they desire compliance with their desires formal or informal regarding what content should be taken down, along with a removal of any push back against over broad demands for user data and other surveillance orders by government agencies.
  2. The Government of India wants to regulate practically, no institutionalised oversight or true checks and balances, to force censorship and surveillance on Internet platforms and other web services in India.


The increasing public discussion
of concerns regarding the usage of these powers and challenges being made by firms and impacted individuals against their abuse is something that the Union Government would like to avoid. The concerns regarding the powers:

  • The issue of direct formal orders when one can instead force compliance in less visible, more institutionalized ways Indicating that the government has made up its mind to force these mandates by notifying them,
  • Even with doubtful legal validity, is a key signalling effect to Internet ecosystem players, especially firms keen to avoid public battles and smaller entities who do not have the resources or political position to be able to contest overboard government directives.

Important facts

  1. In world “At 3.8 billion, the number of internet users comprises more than half the world’s population,” and China has the largest base, accounting for 21 per cent of all internet users globally with USA has 8 per cent of global internet users.
  2. Global internet user growth is solid but slowing, it said. The growth was 6 per cent in 2018, down from 7 percent in the previous year.
  3. In 2020, India had nearly 700 million internet users across the country. This figure was projected to grow to over 974 million users by 2025,indicating a big market potential in internet services for the south Asian country.

Forward:

  • The misuse of social media by criminals and anti-national elements has brought new challenges to the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA).
  • Like recruitment of terrorists, circulation of obscene content, spread of disharmony, incitement of violence, public order, fake news etc. And Section 79 of IT act 2000 help in combating 
  • The advancing Internet content control interests and increased requirements around government demands for user data, while not advancing surveillance law reform or enacting a strong statutory data protection framework,
  • It appears that the government interest is more in advancing “Big regulation” and trying to force technologists to fall in line, no matter the cost to our fundamental rights in our Internet age.

Question: –

Bring out critically the reasons in roll out of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code?

“A tale of two halves”.

Why in News: –

Economy is doing better in year’s second half. Pandemic scars won’t be erased merely by growth.

Syllabus: – GS-3:

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context:

  1. Between January and may each year, India gets to see two “advance” estimates and one “provisional” estimate of GDP growth, as more data becomes available.
  2. The revision to the current fiscal year’s contraction from the 7.7 per cent forecast in January to 8 per cent now in the second advance estimate is not surprising.
  3. But the crucial number will be in the may “provisional estimate”, considered more reliable and with a longer shelf life as the next revision will be available only in calendar year 2022.

 

Data availability and forecasting:

  • Particularly for India, even those figures could change in the final estimates as economic activity in the vast informal sector is hard to assess and does not get reflected in the advance and provisional estimates.
  • Fiscal year’s additional complication is the pandemic.
  • Data availability and forecasting in a fast-evolving scenario becomes difficult and comes full of surprises.
  • In the first quarter, the surprise was on the downside, with GDP contracting at 23.9 per cent (now estimated at 24.4 per cent).
  • From the second quarter, it has been on the upside, with third-quarter GDP growth estimated to have moved into the mild positive territory (0.4 per cent).
  • But all this does not change the emerging story of 2020-2021, which is essentially a year of two distinct halves.
  • The economy has moved up from a steep of 15.9 per cent contraction in the first half to flattish growth in the second half as per second advanced estimates.

 Why it happened?

  • First, is the fortuitous combination of people learning to live with the virus along with the flattening of the covid-19 curve in the second half.
    • This led to a gradual lifting of restrictions, improving mobility and economic activity across-the-board, except in services.
    • Within services, the contact-based ones such as trade, hotels, transport and communication have continued to contract in the second half, albeit at a slower pace.
    • This also means that the urban economy, which accounts for over two-thirds of these services, is still ailing.
  • Two, overall, government consumption expenditure has risen, though only by around 2 per cent on-year.
    • As central government spending has been strong, the drag is likely from the states.
    • The budget data also shows a notable lift in investments by the centre in the second half.
    • The nature of government spending — on roads, highways and metros — has benefited the labour-intensive construction segment.
    • Real estate construction has also picked up in select regions, with lower housing loan rates, developer discounts and reduced stamp duty rates spurring buyers.
    • Consequently, construction GDP growth is projected to rebound sharply from a contraction of 29.1 per cent to a growth of 7.4 per cent between the two halves.
  • Three, manufacturing activity rebounded quickly once supply restrictions were lifted, logging 1.6 per cent on-year growth in the third quarter, with the momentum continuing into the fourth.
    • A shift in spending away from services (such as money saved on holidays) to purchase of items also seems to have contributed — the government’s leave travel concession cash voucher scheme also facilitated this transition.
    • Additionally, the wealth effect from soaring stock markets has raised the spending ability of households with exposure to them.

Concerns: –

  • Though interest rates are likely to remain supportive, there is an upward price pressure on durable goods due to a rise in input costs and commodity prices.
  • Weakness in contact-based services will restrict demand for products from this segment. Steady growth will need a sustained lift in household incomes.
  • Agriculture GDP growth of around 3 per cent this fiscal (holding steady in both halves) confirms the resilience of the farm economy to the pandemic.
  • A normal monsoon, a bumper crop and high food inflation in wholesale markets has contributed to rural incomes. Government support in the form of mgnrega and pm-kisan allocations, along with record procurement in 2020, have also helped.

Way forward:

  • Looking beyond a near-term recovery, it’s also important to ask: will india build back better and revert to its pre-pandemic decadal growth trajectory of 6.5-7 per cent annually over the medium run, given fiscal and monetary policy normalisation? For that, the revival of the investment cycle is critical.
  • In the next fiscal, india expects gdp to grow at 11 per cent. Yet, the pace will return to the pre-pandemic level only by the second quarter, and the full-fiscal real gdp will be barely 2 per cent higher than 2019-20, underscoring a permanent gdp loss of around 11 per cent.
  • The pandemic will also leave a lot of scars that may not be erased merely by higher growth.
  • While growth is important, so is policy intervention to address the distributional ill-effects of the pandemic, particularly for small business units and the urban poor. In short, this is not an easy recovery.
  • An effective combination of vaccination and herd immunity will take time to materialise and till that happens, the risk of a second wave looms. Rising cases in maharashtra and kerala are a grim reminder of that.
  • A firm control over the pandemic is a pre-condition for a broad-based recovery that includes contact-based services.
  • But, even as fiscal policy remains supportive of growth, monetary policy has limited ability to juice up the economy.
  • The premature withdrawal of policy support in advanced countries could also threaten their growth prospects, and in turn, that of emerging markets as well.

 Question: –

Examine the impact of lockdown and Covid-19 on Indian Economy.

A project in slow motion

Why in News: –

For Operation Green to deliver, experience of raising milk production in Operation Flood can prove beneficial.

Syllabus: – GS3:

Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Background: –

  • While presenting the Union budget for the FY 2021-22, Finance Minister announced that Operation Green (OG) will be expanded beyond tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP) to 22 perishable commodities.
  • Although India does not know yet which other commodities have been included in OG, the country welcomes this move as it reflects the government’s intentions of creating more efficient value chains for perishables.
  • Operation Green was originally launched in 2018 by the late Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • It has been now three years, and it may be useful to see how it has progressed so far, and whether it has achieved its objectives.
  • Based on this rapid appraisal, one can suggest what else needs to be fixed to ensure that it delivers quickly and effectively as it expands to cover 22 commodities.

Three basic objectives of operation green (OG):

  1. First, that it should contain the wide price volatility in the three largest vegetables of India (TOP).
  2. Second, it should build efficient value chains of these from fresh to value-added products with a view to give a larger share of the consumers’ rupee to the farmers.
  3. Third, it should reduce the post-harvest losses by building modern warehouses and cold storages wherever needed.

Implementation of OG:

  1. The design and strategy followed so far are that the OG scheme is housed in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under a Joint Secretary.
  2. MoFPI has invited some programme management agencies to see its implementation.
  3. Out of the Rs 500 crore from its initial outlay, Rs 50 crore were reserved for the price stabilisation objective, wherein NAFED was to intervene in the market wherever prices crashed due to a glut, to procure some excess arrivals from the surplus regions to store them near major consuming centres.
  4. Another Rs 450 crore has been reserved for developing integrated value chains projects. Such projects are given 50 per cent grants-in-aid with a maximum limit of Rs 50 crore per project.
  5. This subsidy goes up to 70 per cent in case the project is of a Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO).
  6. As of 23 February 2021, six projects worth Rs 363.3 crore have been approved for the scheme, of which Rs 136.82 crore has been approved as grant-in-aid.
  7. But so far, a mere Rs. 8.45 crore has been actually released, which may be because the scheme envisages the payment of subsidy on a reimbursement basis.

Crucial analysis: –

  1. A closer examination of the scheme in terms of achieving its objectives of price stabilisation, or ensuring a larger share of farmers in consumers’ rupee, reveals that OG is in slow motion, and nowhere near achieving its objectives.
  2. Research at ICRIER reveals that price volatility remains as high as ever, and farmers’ share in consumers’ rupee is as low as 26.6 per cent for potatoes, 29.1 per cent in the case of onions, and 32.4 per cent for tomatoes (see graph). This is reflective of the malaise in the horticulture sector.
  3. In cooperatives like AMUL, farmers get almost 75-80 per cent of what consumers’ pay. Operation Flood (OF) transformed India’s milk sector, making the country the world’s largest milk producer, crossing almost 200 million tonnes of production by now.
  4. Although OG is going to be more challenging than OF — each commodity under OG has its own specificity, production and consumption cycle, unlike the homogeneity of milk as a single commodity.

Important lessons fromOG:

  1. First and foremost is that results are not going to come in three to four years. One has to be patient.
  2. OF lasted for almost 20 years before milk value chains were put on the track of efficiency and inclusiveness. If this is the horizon needed for OG, India needs a different structure and strategy than is being followed currently.
  3. There has to be a separate board to strategise and implement the OG scheme, more on the lines of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) for milk, which keeps itself at arm’s length from government control.
  1. Second, India needs a champion like Verghese Kurien to head this new board of OG — a leader who is respected for his/her independence, as well as commitment and competence to give a different shape to horticulture sector value chains.
  2. That person will have to be given at least a five-year term, ample resources, and be made accountable for delivering results.
  3. The MoFPI can have its evaluation every six months, but making MoFPI the nodal agency for implementing OG with faceless leaders (joint secretaries who can move from one ministry to another at the drop of a hat) is not very promising.
  4. Third, the criteria for choosing clusters for TOP crops under OG is not very transparent and clear.
  5. The reason is while some important districts have been left out from the list of clusters, less important ones have been included.

Way Forward

  • What is needed is quantifiable and transparent criteria for the selection of commodity clusters, keeping politics away.
  • Fourth, the subsidy scheme will have to be made innovative with new generation entrepreneurs, start-ups and FPOs.
  • The announcement to create an additional 10,000 FPOs along with the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and the new farm laws are all promising but need to be implemented fast.

Question: –

What do you mean by Operation Green? How will be a rescue the farmers from the low-income trap?

‘Lateral entry’ into bureaucracy: reason, process, and controversy.

Why in News: -GS2:

  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Syllabus:

  • In February 2021, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) issued an advertisement seeking applications “from talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building” for three posts of Joint Secretary and 27 of Director in central government Departments.
  • These individuals, who would make a “lateral entry” into the government secretariat, would be contracted for three to five years.
  • These posts were “unreserved”, meaning were no quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs.

 What is ‘lateral entry’ into government?

  1. NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda, and the Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGoS) on Governance in its report submitted in February 2017, recommended the induction of personnel at middle and senior management levels in the central government.
  2. These ‘lateral entrants’ would-be part of the central secretariat which in the normal course has only career bureaucrats from the All-India Services/ Central Civil Services.
  3. A Joint Secretary, appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), has the third highest rank (after Secretary and Additional Secretary) in a Department, and functions as administrative head of a wing in the Department. Directors are a rank below that of Joint Secretary.

 What is the government’s reasoning for lateral entry?

  1. “NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda, and the Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGoS) on Governance in its report submitted in February 2017, recommended the induction of personnel at middle and senior management levels in the central government.”
  2. Government has, from time to time, appointed some prominent persons for specific assignments in government, keeping in view their specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.
  3. Lateral recruitment is aimed at achieving the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of manpower.

Has the government so far made any ‘lateral entry’ appointments?

  1. The new ad is for the second round of such recruitments. Earlier, the government had decided to appoint experts from outside the government to 10 positions of Joint Secretary in different Ministries/Departments and 40 positions at the level of Deputy Secretary/Director.
  2. The ad for the Joint Secretary-level appointments, issued in early 2018, attracted 6,077 applications; after a selection process by the UPSC, nine individuals were recommended for appointment in nine different Ministries/Departments in 2019.

 Criticism Based on one-year experience

  1. Several skeptics of the move within the civil services see the slow movement on the lateral entry scheme as a vindication of their belief that the bureaucracy cannot be overhauled with the induction of a few professionals.
  2. IAS officers and other stakeholders that The Print spoke to said the system was well entrenched and too vast for a few lateral entrants to make a difference.
  3. It is primarily because you are trying to induct domain expertise into a generalised domain, i.e. administration.
  4. These people have no idea about how governance works, they need training in it. They should be sent to Mussoorie (Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration) for training for some time after their recruitment to get a hang of things.
  5. IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi, in his petition, has said, “The present system of recruitment of Joint Secretary level post through contract system is completely arbitrary and irrational. An IFS officer with more than 17 years of experience (which in actual practice is 22 years as IFS officers if 1998 batch are being empanelled) would not be able to get an opportunity to work as Joint Secretary in the same sector of Environment and Forest, while anyone from private sector with having much less experience of 15 years would be eligible.” The other problem is they have very limited areas of expertise. Beyond those, they struggle to contribute in any other areas.
  6. While the government’s decision to recruit professionals through lateral entry was touted as a major reform, some of the more ambitious and radical recommendations with regard to lateral entry were put on the backburner by the government.
  7. While the government accepted the Group of Secretaries (GoS) on governance recommendation to recruit professionals laterally, its recommendation to do so through a competitive examination, and to do it each year for the next seven years have not been accepted.

 Value- Addition

Baswan Committee (2016)

The Baswan Committee (2016) has shown how large states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have a deficit of 75 to over 100 officers and their unwillingness to sponsor officers to go to the Centre on deputation is understandable. Lateral induction is, therefore, a small step towards essential housekeeping in central government staffing and ought to be supported.

 

Quotes

  • Ananthasayanam Ayyangar described a contented civil service “as the backbone of the country”.
  • It was recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reform Commission, high level committees appointed by different governments and a plethora of think tanks. 
  • Vallabhbhai Patel’s conception of the Indian Administrative Service’s (IAS’) role as a binding agent in a newly independent nation that was wildly heterogenous and traumatized was of its time. 
  • “The perfect bureaucrat everywhere is the man who manages to make no decisions and escape all responsibility.” – Brooks Atkinson.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru once said the Indian Civil Service was ‘neither Indian, nor Civil, nor a Service’.

BookstoQuote: –

  1. Traveling Agents: Political Change And Bureaucrat Turnover in India (The Review Of Economics And Statistics, 2012) by Lakshmi Iyer and Anandi Mani
  2. “The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data”, a 2016 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace paper by Milan Vaishnav and Saksham Khosla 

Way Forward:

  • The government’s idea is to bring in domain expertise from the private sector to the Central administration, which also faces a shortage of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers working on deputation in the Centre.
  • The objective of lateral entry is inducting specialists is to improve efficiency and create competition in governance delivery.

 

 Question: –

Examine critically the recent changes in bureaucracy in terms of lateral entry.

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