amendments-to-ias-cadre-rules

CONTEXT

The Centre has proposed amendments to the IAS (Cadre) Rules in order to exercise greater control in central deputation of IAS officers, which has often been at the centre of tussles between the Centre and the states.

PRESENT RULE ON DEPUTATION 

  • Rule-6 (1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954: according to the rule, a cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the concerned State Governments and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the Central Government or by another State Government.
  • The rule also states that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.
  • Central deputation: The Centre asks every year for an “offer list” of officers of the All India Services (IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service) willing to go on central deputation, from which it selects officers.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS 

  • Proposition of an additional condition in Rule 6(1): it says that each State Government shall make available for deputation to the Central Government, such a number of eligible officers of various levels to the extent of the Central Deputation Reserve prescribed under Regulations referred to in Rule 4(1).
  • 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.
  • Currently, states can veto an IAS or IPS officer’s Central deputation, or issue an objection or no objection notice. The proposed amendment would take this power away.
  • Decision with ‘specific time’: The proposed amendment has also added the words ‘within a specified time’ to the existing condition of disagreement according to which the state government shall give effect to the decision of the central government.

OBJECTIONS TO THE AMENDMENT BY STATES

  • Against cooperative federalism: States like West Bengal have raised concerns against the amendments, terming them against the spirit of cooperative federalism. There have also been fears regarding the effect of proposals on the administration of the states.
  • Administration of the states: It has also been said that availability of officers for deputation would also impact the assessment and planning of the administration of the state because of the engagement of officers forming part of the Central Deputation Reserve, fraught with the uncertainty of their sudden deputation by the Centre.
  • Vagueness in changes: These changes amount to arm-twisting States and unwilling bureaucrats to be deputed to serve the Union government and also presenting a fait accompli to States for “specific situations” which have not been defined and prone to misinterpretation and politicisation.

OTHER REFORMS FOR ADMINISTRATORS

Mission Karamyogi

  • The union government has approved the adoption of a new national architecture for civil services capacity building called mission Karmayogi in 2020.
  • It is the competency focused training of officials using a digital platform that aims to transform the capacity building apparatus at individual , institutional and process levels.
  • It is so designed that it remains entrenched in Indian culture and sensibilities while drawing learning resources from the best institutions and practices from across the world.
  • The programme would be delivered by setting up an integrated government online training-iGOT Karmayogi platform.

Aarambh

  • ‘Aarambh’ is an initiative to bring all the probationers of all India services, Group A Central services and foreign service together for a common foundation course to break the silos of services and departments from the very beginning of the career of a civil servant.
  • It aims at making the civil servants capable of leading the transformation and to work seamlessly across departments and fields.
  • Under this initiative, more than 800 officers belonging to different civil services have been imparted training with the help of technology driven learning pedagogy.

WAY FORWARD

  • As witnessed during the pandemic, states are very much dependent upon the bureaucracy and hence the deputation to the central government should not be done at the cost of state requirements.
  • The Union government must address the key question of the reluctance of capable civil servants to be deputed away from the States. 
    • Reports have indicated that civil servants have found the top-down culture in Union government offices to be stifling and prefer relative autonomy at the State level.
    • Hence, there is a need for a more qualitative approach.
  • A State-by-State look at deputation that disincentivises those States which depute officers much below the mandated numbers to the Union government by adjusting future cadre strength reviews by the Union Public Service Commission can also help in addressing the shortage problem.

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