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Proposed amendment to the IAS (cadre) rules

Published: 31st Jan, 2022


A controversy is raging these days regarding the proposed amendments to the IAS (cadre) rules proposed by the Central Government. This brief aims to understand the current rules and how would the proposed amendments impact the system.


The issue

  • There were around 5,200 IAS officers in the country as of January 1, 2021, and 458 were on central deputation.
  • The Central Government is concerned because the required numbers of officers are not coming forward for central deputation and the Government of India is facing a shortage of officers.
  • Thus, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sent a list of proposed amendments to the chief secretaries of all states, titled Proposal for Amendments in IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954.


Understanding the concept of AIS

Before going into the issue, it essential to understand the concept of All India Services (AIS) as well as the federal structure of the constitution.

  • The idea behind the creation of All India Services (Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service) has been to have a common perspective between the State Governments and Government of India and that States should also function towards the achievement of national goals.
  • Members of these service are recruited by the Central Government and are placed under various State Cadres. 
  • On selection, IAS officers are assigned to a State cadre where they serve in the district and State Secretariat and acquire knowledge about the ground-level realities.
  • They can also opt for central deputation and generally, they spend five years in the Government of India if selected and acquire a national and international perspective.
    • He/she carries his/her experience back to the state after his central deputation period is over.
  • The All-India character of the service is maintained by the mechanism of giving 1/3 of the vacancies in a state in a particular year to candidates who belong to the state and the balance is given to the officers from outside the state.

What are the current rules regarding deputation?

  • Central deputation in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is covered under Rule 6(1) of the IAS cadre rule 1954 inserted in May 1969 which states that "a cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the State Governments concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government".
  • It further states that "provided that in the case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government".

How a central deputation reserve (CDR) is created and what is proposed now?

  • Depending upon the strength of the IAS officers in a particular state a central deputation reserve is created which indicates the number of officers, at various levels, who are eligible for Government of India deputation.
  • Based on this, the Central Government asks for an "offer list" of officers from which it selects the required officers.
  • The Government of India has now proposed an additional condition in 6(1) which states "provided that each government shall make available for deputation to the Central Government such number of eligible officers of various levels to the extent of the central deputation reserve".
  • Deciding authority: The actual number of officers to be deputed to the Central Government shall be decided by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government concerned.
  • Disagreement: In the event of any disagreement the State Governments shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government within a specified time.
  • In specific situations where services of cadre officers are required by the Central Government in the public interest the Central Government may seek the services of such officers for posting under the Central Government".

What about ‘willingness’ of Officers?

  • It is significant to note that the willingness of the officer concerned to go on deputation to the Government of India is essential as per rule 6(2)
    • Rule 6(20 states that "no cadre officer shall be deputed except with his consent".
  • The clause about posting the officers in the Government of India in public interest appears to override this crucial requirement of the willingness of the officer concerned.
  • In effect, it would mean that any time the Central Government can pull out an officer from the State Government to serve in Government of India irrespective of the willingness of the State Government or the officer concerned.

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