What are the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules?
The personnel of the All India Services—Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and Indian Foreign Service—are recruited by the Central Government and assigned to different State Cadres, which is a unique aspect of the AIS Act, 1951. Members of the armed forces are required to serve in both the state and the central government. The IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, provide appropriate measures to secure IAS officers’ service at the Centre. According to Indian Administrative Service regulations, the Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) of a cadre/joint cadre may not exceed 40% of the Sanctioned Duty Posts (SDP) of a cadre/joint cadre. The Central Deputation quota fixes the share of the government of India out of the state cadre.
What amendments to the rules has the Centre proposed?
The subject of the proposed revisions is Rule 6(1), which deals with central deputation. It further states that in the event of a dispute, the matter will be settled by the Centre, with the state or state government involved giving effect to the central government’s decision.
a) Each State Government shall make available to the Central Government for deputation a such number of eligible officers of various levels as the Central Deputation Reserves prescribed in Rule 4 (1), adjusted proportionally by the number of officers available to the State Government concerned in relation to the total authorised strength of the State cadre at any given time. The number of officers to be deputed to the Central Government will be determined by the Centre in consultation with the state governments concerned.
b) In the case of disputes, the matter will be settled by the Centre, and the state government or state governments involved will implement the Central Government’s decision within a defined time frame.
What is the reason behind this decision?
As most states failed to satisfy their CDR obligations, the number of officers coming to the Centre at the Joint Secretary level has decreased. From 309 in 2011 to 223 as of now, the number of IAS officials on CDR has decreased. The proportion of people that use CDRs has decreased from 25% in 2011 to 18% currently. The Centre’s argument is that the government’s ability to function is being harmed by the lack of a sufficient number of officers, who are needed to obtain fresh inputs in policy formulation and programme implementation, as well as to use their vast field experience to provide vital inputs for policy planning and formulation at the Centre.
Why has it rankled the states?
States have expressed strong opposition to the proposal, citing “politics” as the reason. Most state cadres use a dearth of officers as an excuse for not supporting the number of officers required by the CDR. Only a few states have applauded the decision. There is a perception that the amendments to the rules are unilateral since they require states to propose officials for central deputation, but it is up to the Centre to decide whether or not to accept the officer. Furthermore, in the case of a disagreement, the centre has the upper hand, causing the federal structure to be distorted.
What are the opinions of IAS officials on the changes?
Officers get caught in the middle of a conflict. Some regard it as a power struggle between the centre and the state government. They believe they are part of the All India Service, hence ownership is impossible. They believe that since there are services that belong to the central and state governments, people who belong to the All India Service should be able to choose where they want to work.
Many people are deciding against a central deputation because they believe their job prospects would be greater in the state. There is also apprehension over how many will make it to the highest levels of the Centre and who will be forcibly deported if they do not find a way to work within the political system.