In a move aimed at giving non-IAS officers a fair shot at holding top posts in the government, cabinet secretary PK Sinha has asked all departments and cadre-controlling authorities to nominate non-IAS civil servants for empanelment to hold secretary and additional secretary posts.
“It is proposed to draw up panels of IPS, IFoS and officers belonging to other Group A services for appointment at the level of secretary and additional secretary in the government of India,” Sinha said in the letter, according to PTI.
Sinha’s letter comes against the backdrop of non-IAS officers demanding for parity with their colleagues from the IAS in terms of pay and career progression.
Over the years, non-IAS officers have held junior and middle-level posts at the deputy secretary and director level but their numbers decline sharply at higher ranks. Last year, the PMO had ordered to empanel officers recruited before 1995 as joint secretary but the government has slipped on this deadline.
Non-IAS officers including those from the Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service believe the latest directive from the cabinet secretary too could meet a similar fate.
“The PMO is trying to accommodate others but the IAS officers will try to resist change since they benefit from status quo,” said a senior police officer. He said a two-year gap between the IAS and other civil services and delayed empanelment at middle level means that by the time an officer is eligible to be considered, he doesn’t have much time for his retirement.
A confederation representing these officers has also petitioned the Seventh Central Pay Commission seeking parity with IAS officers. The pay panel was divided on the issue of financial and career-related edge to IAS officers in its report submitted to the government in November.
Sinha said those officers who have completed a minimum of 30 years of service are eligible for empanelment as secretary, whereas for additional secretary the requirement is a minimum 25 years of service.
(With inputs from PTI)