Kerala and Himachal Pradesh top the list of states that have the largest proportion of their Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers serving in the Narendra Modi government, an analysis has shown.
This analysis was carried out in the backdrop of a growing perception that Gujarat cadre IAS officers have started dominating the bureaucracy in Delhi since the NDA government took over last year. “It is clearly a myth,” a senior government official told HT.
There are only 16 Gujarat cadre officers in Delhi as against 20 in September last year. That means less than 8% of the 204 Gujarat cadre IAS officers are in Delhi.
A reason for this perception could be that everyone has scrutinised more closely movements of IAS officers from Gujarat, such as economic affairs secretary Hasmukh Adhia, than others.
“But if you look at the statistics, of the 97 secretary-level posts, only seven are from Gujarat. In contrast, Uttar Pradesh cadre has 19, Tamil Nadu has eight, and Bihar has seven,” the official added.
Yes, UP is the largest cadre with its 484 officers, making up for 10% of the total strength of IAS officers (4,802) in the country.
The big surprises, however, are states such as Kerala, which has 25% of its 156 IAS officers serving in Delhi. Himachal Pradesh cadre has over 22% of its officers serving in the government; Bihar about 18%; and the north-eastern states, such as Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya, about 15%-17%.
However, these statistics do not reflect the biggest change in the way civil servants are appointed.
There has been a grudging acknowledgement within the civil service that the government has been able to fix the appointment process that was open to manipulation in the past.
“The government has ensured that officers are appointed on merit; their track record and ability to deliver, rather than extraneous reasons,” a senior official said.
This has been achieved by discouraging ministers from nominating officials they want to induct into their ministry. Instead, the PMO — that closely tracks the performance of bureaucrats — identifies suitable officers for senior-level appointments.
A government official said it may still not be a perfect system and could do with some tweaks. “But it was certainly better than a system that it replaced,” the officer said.