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Lateral entrants join civil services after 2-week training

NEW DELHI: The first lateral entrants into the Government of India services have finally joined work as joint secretaries across different ministries, but only after a power-packed two-week training to attune them to the ways of the government.

The Cabinet Secretariat had tasked the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) with preparing the induction programme held from September 23 to October 4. As part of the module, the ‘joint secretary-laterals’ interacted with the brass of the Narendra Modi government including cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, secretary to the PM, Bhaskar Kulbe, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, 15th Finance Commission chairman N K Singh and several secretaries, officials said.

Some stalwarts of the corporate world too had stopped by, from Nandan Nilekani to Vikram S Mehta and Adil Zainulabhai, who drew upon their own experiences in working with the government.

The basic idea was to provide each new joint secretary with ‘a set of essential skills’ to help them work effectively within the government. Structured interactions and rulebook briefings apart, the laterals were taken on a field visit to Alwar to understand the on-ground working of a national flagship mission like Jal Shakti Abhiyan. DOPT secretary C Chandramouli held forth on the challenges a JS lateral would be facing — from winning over a team to managing pressures, keeping conflict of interest at bay and the challenge of ‘earning the respect and creating a space’, officials said.

Rural development secretary Amarjeet Singh chaired a session on the ‘dos and don’ts’, detailing well thought-out proposals that could not be implemented or failed for some reason. Additional secretary in the personnel & training department Sujata Chaturvedi outlined ‘a day in the life of a joint secretary’, bringing in the rules of conduct, JS support staff and administrative process.

PMO joint secretary Debarshee Mukherjee held forth on ‘what all can a joint secretary do?’ with case studies, the procedures to originate and implement a file and an idea, the resources and limitations of a JS, and how to work within these to get things done.

Special sessions were held on the system of ‘drafting’ and ‘noting’ in the government, official, correspondence rules. A separate class was held on Cabinet note preparation, structuring them and building in of flexibilities and disclaimers.

Source: Economic Times