Minister of State for Department of Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh on Sunday said Centre’s decision to open up posts of joint secretaries in different ministries to professionals from private and public sector was an endeavour to give every Indian a chance to grow.

The Centre on Sunday invited applications for 10 posts of joint secretary in different ministries. Until now, the positions were usually filled by officers selected through the Union Public Service Commission examinations. The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions said that it was looking for “talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building”.

“It’s an endeavour to get the best from whichever source available,” Singh said. “It’s motivated with focus on allowing every Indian citizen a fair chance to ensure their growth depending on their potential.”

The ministry said it wanted 10 outstanding individuals from private or public sectors, with expertise in financial services, revenue, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmer welfare, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forest and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce.

The applications can be sent between June 15 and July 30. The applicant must be at least 40 years of age on July 1, and a graduate from a recognised university. The joint secretaries will serve for three years, and the government may extend their term to five years. They will be paid a salary between Rs 1.44 lakh and Rs 2.18 lakh per month, apart from allowances.

The NITI Aayog and a committee of secretaries had recommended allowing lateral entry of professionals to overcome a shortage of joint secretaries in the government, The Economic Times reported.

Congress cautious, DMK criticises government

Congress leader P Chidambaram said there were “serious misgivings” about the government’s move. “We [the Congress] need to have more details...We will raise a number of questions,” the former finance minister said according to PTI. “Let us see what the government’s answer is before we come to a final conclusion.”

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was much more critical of the move. DMK Working President MK Stalin said the government’s intention was to induct members of the Sangh Parivar into the bureaucracy and formulate policies based on Hindutva. He claimed that such appointments would be “anti-constitutional” as they would not meet the norms on appointments to government departments as per the Mandal Commission’s recommendations.