Centre mulls Delhi stint rider for IAS officers
The Narendra Modi government is set to amend IAS rules and make mandatory a “tenure” of at least three years at the Centre to secure promotions.
The move may lead to a fresh face-off between the Bengal government and the Centre as Nabanna is likely to oppose the plan, citing the smaller number of IAS officers at its disposal.
Sources said chief secretaries of all states had already been informed about the decision by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), which is the cadre controlling authority for All-India service officers, during a recent meeting in Delhi.
“As the Bengal chief secretary could not attend the meeting, the secretary of personnel and administrative reforms department represented the state. The top brass of the government is not happy with the move and the state will give a note of dissent when the formal proposal is sent to Nabanna for its views,” said a senior government official.
Sources said the DoPT made it clear during the meeting that the Centre was facing a shortage as some states, including Bengal, were not releasing officers for central deputation, citing an acute shortage.
After clearing the UPSC exams, IAS officers are distributed across states, though they remain All-India service officers. Depending on vacancies, the officers, at different stages of their careers, can apply for central positions after securing clearance from the state they have been assigned to. Most officers prefer central deputation as it gives them the exposure in running Union ministries.
“It was made clear during the meeting that the IAS officers are all-India Service officers and if they don’t serve at least one stint in the government of India, the service requirements are not met,” said a source.
Sources said that though no proposal had been sent to Nabanna seeking its views over the proposed amendment so far, it is believed the Centre will make it sure mid-level officers serve in the Union government at least once in their career.
“The IAS officers get secured promotions at 4th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 25th and 30th years of their service. In all likelihood, it will be mandatory that officers must serve the Centre for getting promotions in the 13th or 16th year of service as the Centre is facing an acute shortage of officers at this level, which is equivalent to joint secretary-rank at the Centre,” said a bureaucrat.
Sources also said DoPT officials had repeatedly urged Bengal to release officers for central deputation as the number serving at the Centre from Bengal cadre had gone down in recent years because of the state’s reluctance to send officers in central deputation.
As of now, only 8 IAS officers from Bengal are serving in Delhi while the state could have sent 54 officers from the state given the existing strength of 290 against a sanctioned strength of 368.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee believes officers are “brainwashed” by the BJP government during their stint in Delhi.
“She had opposed vehemently when the centre made it mandatory for the IAS probationers to serve in Delhi for three months before sending them to the states. This time also the chief minister would not like the idea,” said an official.