What are the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules?

A unique feature of All India Services -- Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service -- created under the AIS Act, 1951, is that the members of these service are recruited by the Central Government and are placed under various State Cadres. It is incumbent upon the members of service to serve both under the State and the Centre. To ensure service of IAS officers at the Centre, suitable provisions have been made under the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954. The Indian Administrative Service regulations provide for Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) not exceeding 40 per cent 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 are the amendments the Centre has proposed for the rules?

The proposed changes are in Rule 6 (1), which deals with Central deputation. It also provides that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Centre and State or the State Government concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.

New Insertions – a) 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 Reserves prescribed under Regulations referred to in Rule 4 (1), adjusted proportionately by the number of officers available with the State Government concerned vis-à-vis the total authorized strength of the State cadre at any given time. The actual number of officers to be deputed to the Central Government shall be decided by the Centre in consultation with the State Government concerned.

b) In case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Centre and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government within a specified time.

What are the reasons for this move?

There has been a decreasing trend of officers coming to the Centre at the Joint Secretary levels as most States were not meeting their CDR obligations. The number of IAS officers on CDR has gone down from 309 in 2011 to 223 as on date. The percentage of CDR utilisation has gone down from 25 per cent in 2011 to 18 per cent now. The Centre’s argument is that the non-availability of a sufficient number of officers is affecting the functioning of the Government since it needs these officers to obtain fresh inputs in policy formulation and programme implementation, to utilise their vast field experience by way of providing vital inputs for policy planning and formulation at the Centre.

Why has it rankled the States?

Strong opposition has come from States as they see ‘politics’ in this move. The argument by most State cadres for not sponsoring the number of officers as per prescribed CDR is the shortage of officers in the cadre. Only a few States have welcomed the move. There is a feeling that the insertions in the Rules are unilateral as it makes it mandatory on the States to necessarily nominate officers for Central deputation, but whether to take the officer or not is left to the Centre. Also, in case of a disagreement, the upper hand is with the Centre, thus distorting the federal structure.

What do IAS officers say about the changes?

Officers find themselves caught in the crossfire. Some see it as an ego tussle between the Centre and the States. They feel that they belong to All India Service, so there cannot be any ownership. They argue that there are services that belong to Central and State Services, so for those belonging to All India Service, it should be their choice where to work.

Many are not opting for Central deputation because they also see better career growth in the State. There is also a sense of uncertainty regarding how many actually make it to the top ranks at the Centre and who will be unceremoniously repatriated if they don’t find a way with political setup.