The bitter battle between the Centre and West Bengal government is casting its shadow on other areas too. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Association has sought intervention of Union government to ensure that more IAS officers from West Bengal cadre are released for central deputation.
Alleging that IAS officers from the West Bengal cadre are increasingly losing out career progression opportunities because of the reluctance of the Mamata Banerjee government in releasing officers for central deputation, the association pointed out that currently only 12 IAS officers from the state are on central deputation against the state’s central deputation reserve (CDR) poll of 78.
“We have pleaded to Union government so that it takes up the matter with the Bengal government so that the number of IAS officers from the state released for central deputation is at least doubled to 24 immediately,” said an office bearer of the association.
It has also asked its West Bengal unit to be more vocal. “Unless the state unit keeps up the pressure and takes up the matter with the state government, the effort of only the national body will not be fruitful,” he said.
The West Bengal government, however, has its own logic for the reluctance to release officers. “The total number of vacancies of IAS officers in West Bengal is quite high at 101, and therefore, it is difficult to release more officers on central deputation,” pointed out an officer of West Bengal personnel & administrative reforms department. This department is under the charge of chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself.
IAS Association refuted the logic and claimed that states with even higher vacancies send more officers on central deputation. “Bihar has the highest number of vacant posts of IAS officers at 128. But it has sent 41 officers on central deputation,” the IAS Association office bearer pointed out.
Besides an exposure in central ministries and crucial ministries and departments, a higher pay-band is an additional incentive for IAS officers to go for central deputation.