The Narendra Modi government has proposed a change in rules for central deputation of IAS officers, putting the onus on states to “make available” a certain number of officers for the Centre and also fix a time period in which any disagreements on the same are resolved.
The central deputation of officers has always been a point of contention between the Centre and states, with the latter not recommending an adequate number of officers even when required by the Centre. This leads to a shortage of officers for key posts at the Centre, officials said.
The Centre has now sent a proposal to all state chief secretaries for a draft amendment to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954. The document has been reviewed by News18.com.
The proposed amendments put the onus on states to mandatorily depute a certain number of IAS officers for central deputation by amending Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules which states that any IAS officer could be posted on central deputation with the concurrence of the state government concerned. This part of the rule remains intact.
“Provided that each State 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 prescribed under Regulations referred to in Rule 4(1), adjusted proportionately by the number of officers available with the State Government concerned vis-a-vis the total authorized strength of the State Cadre at a given point of time,” the proposed addition says.
The new rules propose that the actual number of officers to be deputed “shall be decided” by the Centre in consultation with the states. This means whatever number of officers the state has, it will be mandatory that the state gives a central deputation reserve list to the Centre.
A senior IAS officer explained: “Suppose a state has 100 officers, right now 33 officers out of that 100 is central deputation reserve in most states. Which 33 officers can be given by state… that list has to be given to Centre now as per the new draft proposal.”
The proposal also states: “Further 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 within a specific time.”
This is new as the proposed amendment wants to make the state accountable to Centre within a stipulated period of time and not sit for an indefinite period of time on the central deputation cases.
Centre requires comments of states before making such changes in rules and hence a letter has been sent to the states. But Opposition-ruled states might not support this move as the Centre will then be able to decide how many officers the state can have and may unilaterally pick any officer from any state, which would hurt the interest of states, sources in West Bengal government told News18.com.
Most states have a bad track record in not sending officers for central deputation.
In 2021, Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee was suddenly called by the Centre for deputation and the case is pending in court. Last year, West Bengal had around 280 IAS officers, but only 11 are posted with the central ministries. Rajasthan has deputed only 13 out of its 247 IAS officers to the Centre, as per 2021 data.