THE first lateral entrants into the Government of India have finally joined work as joint secretaries across different ministries. It was an uphill task to train and acclimatise them to the mindset of working within the government. The government assigned the task of training them to the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA). Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba himself held the fort along with Bhasker Kulbe, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, 15th Finance Commission chairman N K Singh and several secretaries, sources disclosed. The task was how they can work effectively within the government. DOPT Secretary C Chandramouli focused on the challenges a JS lateral would be facing in managing pressure, keeping conflict of interest at bay and the challenge of ‘earning respect and creating a space’. Rural Development Secretary Amarjeet Singh lectured a session on ‘dos and don’ts’ while Additional Secretary in the personnel & training department, Sujata Chaturvedi, outlined ‘a day in the life of a joint secretary’. PMO Joint Secretary Debarshee Mukherjee briefed on ‘what all a joint secretary can do?’ Special sessions were held on the system of ‘drafting’ and ‘noting’ in the government, official, correspondence rules. Former IAS officer B S Baswan detailed the Weberian-Westminster model and tents of ‘sound public policy’. IAS officer Ravindra Kumar held a session on the Central Civil Services conduct rules of 1964, the need to uphold the supremacy of the constitution, political neutrality and accountability. Secretary DPIIT, Guruprasad Mohapatra, spent an entire session explain the Centre’s $5 trillion economy plan. Secretary, Drinking water and Sanitation, Parameshwaran Iyer talked of ‘bringing change at scale’. Prakash Kumar, CEO of the Goods and Services Tax Network, offered an insight into ‘disruptive transformations’. Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library Shakti Sinha did a session on how the thoughts of Gandhi and Sardar Patel impacted policy and governance in India. Arvind Gupta, former CEO of MyGoV.in, underlined the use of technology for governance. Amitabh Kant and Bhaskar Kulbe stressed on management practices in the government. Deepak Bagla of Invest India held forth on ‘Managing hierarchy’ within the government, explaining how to engage with Ministers and Secretaries. Vikram S Mehta emphasised the differences in lives of civil servants and private sector professionals. Nandan Nilekani was also invited to enlighten new recruits and explain how the strengths of private sector can have large impact on governance. Chairman, Quality Council of India, Adil Zainulbhai emphasised on ‘relationship building in government’. To give a field experience, the new officials were taken on a field visit to Alwar to understand the on-ground working of a national flagship mission like Jal Shakti Abhiyan.