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The proposal to have ‘lateral entry’ in government posts showed that PM Narendra Modi had done what his predecessors could only think of, even though they too brought experts from outside from time to time, government sources said.

Sources told TOI that “lateral entry is a well-established principle across the world and is universally acknowledged by experts to catalyse greater governance, efficiency, professionalism and specialised, cutting-edge experience in public administration”.

Countries like United States , Belgium, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have, in fact, institutionalised this practice as a permanent part of their system, said a government official. He added that even though lateral entry was consistently recommended by multiple government committees and reviews over the years, the onus was always left to the political leadership.

Nothing moved over the years as leaders remained reluctant to bite the bullet on account of fear of administrative and populist backlash. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a vocal advocate of lateral entry.

In practice, lateral entry is new to India. A number of experts have been brought into government by almost all governments and prime ministers over the years. In the current government, Param Iyer, Arvind Panagariya, Kamal Kishore, Arvind Gupta and many others have been appointed on ad-hoc basis.

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