IAS Cadre Rules Centre Vs States
India Today|February 07, 2022
New Delhi’s demand that AIS officers do mandatory central deputation is primed to become another Centre-states dispute
Amarnath K. Menon

A January 12 letter from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to the states has the latter up in umbrage. The letter called for responses by January 25 to a proposal for changes in sharing of bureaucrats from the All India Services (AIS), which includes the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS).

The DoPT letter comes in the wake of a perceived shortage of AIS officers in Union ministries. It says the states “are not sponsoring an adequate number of officers for central deputation”, leading to a shortage in meeting Union government needs. Its earlier letters (on December 20 and 27 and January 7) soliciti comments from the states elicited limited response, prompting it to revise the proposal in the January 12 letter. Earlier last year, the DoPT had cautioned the states that not sending enough officers may affect future cadre review proposals. The Centre is apparently unable to fill vacancies at director and joint secretary levels in various Union ministries. Among the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) posts lying vacant, 390 are at joint secretary level (experience of 19-plus years) and 540 are for deputy secretary (nine years) or director ranks (14 years of service).

At stake now is the move to amend Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, which governs central deputation in the IAS. According to it, an AIS officer can be posted at the Centre with the concurrence (no objection certificate) of the concerned state government. The DoPT asks states to send an annual list of names of AIS officers willing to go on central deputation, from which it then selects officers. The new proposal is prompted by a persistent shortage of officers on central deputation. As of January 1, 2021, only 458 IAS officers were on central deputation out of around 5,200 IAS officers in the country. Indeed, some states have nominated very few officers for deputation to the Centre. Madhya Pradesh (with just 24 of 370 IAS officers on central deputation), West Bengal (28 out of 298), Rajasthan (12 out of 241) and Telangana (9 out of 164) are conspicuous on this list (see Cadrewise Breakup of IAS Officers). In fact, actual deputation as a percentage of the mandated reserves fell from 69 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent in 2021, suggesting that the DoPT has a valid concern.

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