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1. Lateral Entry

1.1. More About the News

  • Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has invited applications for 10 joint secretary-level posts in the departments of Economic Affairs, Revenue, Commerce and Highways and others.

  • Criteria for selection- Graduation Degree, Minimum 40 Years age, 15 years’ experience in fields like Revenue, Finance, Transport, Civil Aviation and Commerce.

  • The recruitment will be on contract basis for three to five years depending upon the performance.

1.2. Arguments in Favour of Lateral Entry

  • Helpful in Policy Making- It is essential to have people with specialized skills and domain expertise in important positions as policy making is becoming complex in nature. o The IAS officers see the government only from within, lateral entry would enable government to understand the impact of its policies on stakeholders — the private sector, the non-government sector and the larger public.

  • First ARC had pointed out the need for specialization as far back as in 1965. The Surinder Nath Committee and the Hota Committee followed suit in 2003 and 2004, respectively, as did the second ARC.

  • Increase in efficiency and governance- Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd in its 2012 report rated Indian Bureaucracy as the worst in Asia due to corruption and inefficiency. o Career progression in the IAS is almost automatic which could put officers in comfort zone. Lateral entrants could also induce competition within the system.

  • A UPSC-commissioned report of the Civil Services Examination Review Committee headed by YK Alagh (2001) had recommended lateral entry into middle and senior levels of the government.

  • Niti Aayog, in its Three Year Action Agenda for 2017-2020 had said that sector specialists be inducted into the system through lateral entry as that would “bring competition to the established career bureaucracy”.

  • Entry and retention of talent in Government- Justice BN Srikrishna-headed Sixth Central Pay Commission report (2006) said lateral entry could "ensure entry and retention of talent in the government even for those jobs that have a high demand and premium in the open market".

  • Shoratge of officers: According to a report by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions there is a shortage of nearly 1,500 IAS officers in the country.

  • Baswan Committee (2016) had supported lateral entry considering the shortage of officers.

  • Recruitment of IAS officers at very young age- makes it difficult to test potential administrative and judgement capabilities. Some who are potentially good administrators fail to make it, and some who do make it, fall short of the requirements. Mid-career lateral entrants with proven capabilities will help bridge this deficiency.

  • Not a new phenomenon: It has been successful in RBI and the erstwhile Planning Commission, as well as its successor, the Niti Aayog. o Ministry of finance has institutionalised the practice of appointing advisors to the government from the world of academia and the corporate sector.

  • Concept already being followed by countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand etc.

1.3. Arguments against Lateral Entry

  • Difficult to ensure responsibility and accountability-for the decisions taken by the private people during their service, especially given the short tenures of 3 to 5 years.

  • No long term stakes: The advantage with the current civil service is that policy makers have long-term interests in government.

  • Bypassing constitutional mechanism- The recent order of the government instructed the cabinet secretary-headed committee to recruit professionals bypassing the Union Public Service Commission which is an independent organisation.

  • Transparency in Recruitment- Political interference in the Selection process may occur and it may promote Nepotism and Spoils System (an arrangement that employed and promoted civil servants who were friends and supporters of the political group in power).

  • Lack of field experience- Officers who will join might score on domain knowledge, but they may fall short on the experience of working in the “fields”.

  • Deters existing talent: Lateral entry shows that experienced civil servants are less efficient and expert than private professionals, which is a not necessarily true. o The best talent can be attracted only if there is reasonable assurance of reaching top level managerial positions.

  • By suggesting a contract-based system for positions of joint secretary and above, the signal would be sent out that only mid-career positions would be within reach in about 15-18 years of service and there would be considerable uncertainty about career progression thereafter.

  • Earlier experiences: The past experience of inducting private-sector managers to run public-sector enterprises has not been particularly satisfactory. For e.g. Air India, Indian Airlines etc.

  • Issue of Reservation- It is unclear whether there would be reservation for recruitment through Lateral Entry or not.

Way Forward

  • India civil services portray all the characteristics of Weberian Ideal bureaucracy i.e. hierarchy, a division of power. Various reforms apart from institutionalised lateral entry are the need of the moment such as:

  • Set up public administration universities for aspiring and serving civil servants: can create a large pool of aspiring civil servants as well as enable serving bureaucrats to attain deep knowledge of the country’s political economy, increased domain expertise and improved managerial skills.

  • Deputation to Private Sector- A Parliamentary panel has recommended deputation of IAS and IPS officers in private sector to bring in domain expertise and competition.

  • Central Civil Services Authority as recommended by 2nd ARC should take decision on posts which could be advertised for lateral entry and such other matters that may be referred to it by the Government.

  • Appraisal mechanisms: Such as government’s new “360 degree” performance appraisal mechanism for senior bureaucrats, whereby officers are graded based on comprehensive feedback from their superiors, juniors and external stakeholders. o incentives for bureaucrats that are linked to their district’s annual development indicators can also be offered.

  • Make bureaucratic decision-making less top-down and more transparent: The colonial Indian Civil Service was designed with the primary aim of maintaining law and order and pursuing state-led development while remaining insulated from the needs of the masses. India must transition away from this top down approach.

2. Reservation In Promotion

Background

  • This direction of apex court came in the response to government’s complaint that promotions were at a “standstill” due to separate orders passed by various high courts.

  • The Supreme Court’s decision will permit the government to fill a large number of vacancies in various departments.

  • ‘In accordance with law’ points towards the guidelines laid down in M Nagaraj case 2006 presently applicable as there is no specific law which deals with the reservation in promotions.

  • The apex court had further that a seven-judge Constitution bench needs to be constituted to look into the Nagaraj judgement.

2.1. Related cases and amendments

  • Article 15(4) allows State to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for SCs and STs

  • In the Indira Sawhney case (1992), the Supreme Court held that the reservation policy cannot be extended to promotions.

  • However, 77th Constitutional Amendment (CA), inserted Clause 4A in Article 16 and restored provision of reservations in promotions.

  • The court in 1990s restored their seniority once promoted at par with the SC/ST candidates who got quick promotions ahead of their batch mates.

  • However, 85th CA Act, 2001 gave back “consequential seniority” to SC/ST promotees.

  • In Nagaraj judgement, apex court while upholding the previous constitutional amendments regarding this issue, put some restrictions on the state that it should: o collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment.

  • ensure that efficiency of administration is not reduced while giving promotion.

  • not breach the ceiling-limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.

2.2. Argument in favour of reservation in promotion

  • The makers of the Constitution used the reservation policy for giving protection to the deprived sections of society due to systemic deprivation of rights, social discrimination and violence. Besides, the Supreme Court has, time and again, upheld any affirmative action seeks to provide a level playing field to the oppressed classes with the overall objective to achieve equality of opportunity.

  • The representation of SCs/STs, though, has gone up at various levels, representation in senior levels is highly skewed against SCs/STs due to prejudices. Over the years Institutions has failed to promote equality and internal democracy within them. There were only 4 SC/ST officers at the secretary rank in the government in 2017.

  • Overall efficiency in government is hard to quantify, and the reporting of output by officers is not free from social bias. For ex. In Maharashtra, a public servant was denied promotion because his ‘character and integrity was not good’.

2.3. Argument against the reservation in promotions

  • Provisions under articles 16(4), 16 (4A) and 16 (4B) of the Constitution are only enabling provisions, and not a fundamental right. In a case the Supreme Court ruled that no reservation in promotions would be given in appointment for faculty posts at the super specialty block in AIIMS.

  • The intent of framers of the constitution behind including reservation policy was not reservation without merit.

  • Gaining employment and position does not ensure the end of social discrimination and, hence, should not be used as a single yardstick for calculating backwardness.

  • The reservation in promotion may hurt the efficiency of administration.

  • There is ambiguity and vagueness in promotion process as of now. Thus, there is a need for a new, comprehensive law to be enacted.

3. Statehood For Delhi

Why statehood should be granted?

  • In 1991, when the 69th Amendment to the Constitution created the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, the city’s population was much smaller. Today, there are nearly two crore people in Delhi.

  • Nowhere in any democracy are two crore people represented by a government with restricted powers.

  • When the Union Territories were first created, the idea was to provide a flexible yet transitional status to several territories that joined the Indian. With time, Goa, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura have been granted statehood.

Background

  • Till 1992, except for a brief interlude, Delhi was a union territory under the complete control of the Government of India.

  • Delhi was allowed its ‘statehood’ early in the 1990s, with a Chief Minister and a popularly elected unicameral legislature though the ‘State’ remained truncated in its powers.

  • But It remained in substance a union territory and in form a State, with the Lt. Governor retained as its chief executive.

  • The Chief Minister and his Cabinet made a late entry into space where Lt Governor and several municipal corporations already existed which created friction.

  • Many departments of the Centre, State, scores of parastatals and five ULBs (urban local bodies) providing bits of governance in the city.

  • It could safely be asserted that Delhi has more government and less governance than any other city or state in the country.

  • Now, the time has come to enter the second and final stage to create the full State of Delhi.

  • projects that Delhi urban agglomeration will make it the most populous city in the world by 2028.

  • An elected government representing a massive population need to have a say in law and order and land management.

Why statehood should not be granted?

  • The support for full statehood has not been a national compulsion, but a call fuelled by Delhi’s local political ambitions.

  • Recent Supreme Court Verdict on Delhi-Centre Power Tussle.

  • The Supreme Court judgement in the Government of NCT Delhi vs Union of India case, overturned the August 2016 judgment of the Delhi high court, which had ruled that since Delhi was a Union territory all powers lay with the central government, not the elected Delhi government.

  • Resolving the dispute over the demarcation of powers between the Union Government and the Government of Delhi, the Supreme Court laid down a few key principles:

  • Delhi government has power in all areas except land, police and public order and the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the government in areas other than those exempted

  • The only exception to this rule, it said, was a proviso to Article 239-AA, which allowed the LG to refer to the President any issue on which there was a difference of opinion with the council of ministers. In such a case, the LG would be bound by the President’s decision.

  • Delhi Lieutenant Governor cannot act independently and must take the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers because national capital enjoys special status and is not a full state. Hence, the role of the L-G is different than that of a Governor.

  • It observed that neither the state nor the L-G should feel lionized, but realise they are serving Constitutional obligations and there is no space for absolutism or anarchy in our Constitution.

  • Delhi is the national capital and must necessarily be viewed from the prism of the interests of the entire country.

  • elhi is home to vital institutions such as the president’s estate, the Parliament and foreign embassies. All of these infrastructures require special security cover and close coordination with centrally administered agencies such as the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

  • These institutions are the sole responsibility of the Union Government and not of any one particular state legislative assembly

  • Indian government must have some territory under its control; it cannot possibly be an occupant or a tenant of a state government

  • Many regional parties have expressed their strong reservation to acceding full statehood for Delhi. For them, India’s national capital belongs to every citizen of the country and not just those who reside in the city.

  • Statehood would deprive Delhi of the many advantages it gets as national capital. o For instance, the entire burden of policing—involving the coordination of a mammoth staff—is borne by the federal government.

Way forward?

  • Overlapping jurisdictions in a national capital is inbuilt and constitutional entities have to manage this reality.

  • Provide greater autonomy and reasonably robust fairer power-sharing arrangements among different constituents

  • For a start, Delhi should demand the urgent revision of the existing constitutional provisions (i.e. 69th Amendment, Article 239) and Rules of Business.

  • The existing system of referring the disputes to the office of the president is a failed model that lacks credibility and invariably gets resolved in favour of the national government.

  • What is required is an empowered Mayor, performing the functions of a municipal body extending to all such subjects where the GoI does not operate.

  • Given the overlapping and often-contested jurisdictions, it is imperative to strive for a credible and institutionalised dispute-resolution mechanism as has been adopted by national capitals all over the world.

  • City-government should have a hand in the running of the local municipal bodies.

  • The functions of the parastatals, unrecognised by the Constitution, need to be merged in the ULB. Any such subject/function that operationally is difficult to be merged with the ULB can function under the aegis of the Lt Governor.

  • Governance restructuring would need to be done in a manner that accountability in relation to specific functions falls squarely on a single organisation/individual.

4. Cauvery Water Management Scheme, 2018

4.1. Composition of CWMA -

  • Chairman – appointed by the Central Government who is a senior and eminent engineer or an All India Service Officer with experiences in water resource management and inter-State water sharing issues having tenure of five years or till sixty-five years of age.

  • Two whole-time Members - representing Central Water Engineering Services (CWES) and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare respectively for a term of three years (extendable upto five years).

  • Six Part-Time Members – of which two represent Central Government and four from party States.

  • Member Secretary0 Head Quarters of the Authority shall be at New Delhi and all expenses of the Authority shall be borne by the concerned party states.

4.2. Background of Cauvery Water Dispute

  • In February, the Supreme Court directed the Union government to form the CWMA within six weeks.

  • SC while accepting that the

  • issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”, raised the share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin.

4.3. Functions of CWMA

  • Monitor and determine the total residual storage, apportion shares, supervise operation of reservoirs at the beginning of water year (1 June) with the assistance of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

  • Regulate release of water by Karnataka, at the inter-state contact point at Billigundulu gauge.

  • Advise suitable measures to improve water use efficiency, by promoting micro-irrigation (drip and sprinkler), change in cropping pattern, improved agronomic practices, system deficiency correction and command area development.

  • Take suitable actions in case of defaults by party states.

4.4. Significance of CWMA

  • Unlike the earlier interim arrangements, it is a permanent body under the Union Ministry of Water Resources and its decisions are final and binding on all the party States.

  • Framework for other similar river water disputes: the outcome of the functioning of CWMA could contribute to the larger unfinished agenda of formulating a comprehensive policy for inter-state river water cooperation and can address other river water disputes.

  • Provide a stable solution to the farmers of the region by ensuring an assured, periodic quantum of water for irrigation.

4.5. Concerns

  • Forging federal consensus on Centre’s role in inter-state rivers- the states must agree to give the necessary functional space to the Centre as the powers and functions of CWMA are in favour of Central Government under Entry 56 of the Constitution.

  • Political and bureaucratic will power is extremely necessary for the success of this scheme.

  • Concerns raised by Karnataka: (a) the "scheme" should be debated in the Parliament, (b) Authority can interfere in deciding the crops to be raised and farmers might take a long time to switch over to modern farming practices, and (c) Situations where Tamil Nadu face floods due to North East Monsoon, releasing water would then result in wastage.

June Indian Polity and Constitution

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