Officials: Fewer officers on deputation hits work

Updated on Jan 21, 2022 06:06 AM IST
  • Documents reviewed by HT show that the number of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers available on central deputation reserve (CDR) has gone down from 309 in 2011 to 223 as on date. The proportion of CDR utilization has gone down from 25% in 2011 to 18%.
Officials said the state governments are refusing to send IPS officers on central deputation, which is hitting the working of paramilitary forces.(HT file photo)
Officials said the state governments are refusing to send IPS officers on central deputation, which is hitting the working of paramilitary forces.(HT file photo)
By, New Delhi

Even as some state governments have signalled their intent to challenge the Centre’s proposed amendments to All India Services Rules that will allow it get more officers on Central Deputation, data reviewed by Hindustan Times shows that the number of such officers on deputation has declined over the past decade. Union government officials said that this has affected the functioning of the Central Government .

Documents reviewed by HT show that the number of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers available on central deputation reserve (CDR) has gone down from 309 in 2011 to 223 as on date. The proportion of CDR utilization has gone down from 25% in 2011 to 18%.

This has come despite an increase in the number of IAS officers at Deputy Secretary/Director level from 621 in 2014 to 1130 in 2021; the number of officers at this level on central deputation has almost remained the same -- changing from 117 to 114.

The situation in the Indian Police Service (IPS) is far worse and exemplified by a letter written by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to West Bengal Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi last June. In his missive, the Home Secretary stated that the CDR earmarked for West Bengal Cadre is 75, but only 14 IPS officers are presently working on Central Deputation.

That the state governments are refusing to send IPS officers on central deputation is hitting the efficiency and working of the central paramilitary forces, the officials cited in the first instance added. There is evidence, they said, to show that on January 1, 2022, there is a vacancy of 186 IPS officers at the DIG level against a sanctioned strength of 252 officers. The vacancy at Superintendent of Police (SP) level is 97 (sanctioned strength 203) and at Inspector General (IG) level it is 30 (140). Data as of today shows that West Bengal utilizes only 16% of central deputation reserve followed closely by Haryana (16.3%), Telengana (20%), Karnataka (21.74%), Maharashtra (26.47%), and Punjab (29.73%) . There is a shortage of 633 IPS officers on central deputation with only 442 officers on deputation.

While the Union government has sought state government responses to the proposed amendments to IAS cadre rules by January 25, after the last reminder on this was sent on January 6, some state governments have called this a blow to the federal structure of governance as they will be forced under the new rules to relieve officers for central deputation.

The Hindu first reported on January 19 that at least six states, including some ruled by BJP governments have written to the Centre opposing the changes.

Among the amendments proposed is one that says the Centre will arrive at the number of officers on CDR in consultation with states, another that in case of any difference of opinion between the Centre and the state, the latter will go with the decision of the former, and within a specified time and a third that the Centre could pick a specific officer from a state in public interest.

While some states are questioning this right of to seek services of a particular officer, the officials cited in the first instance pointed out that sometimes, in a specific situation such as a major disaster, or where a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism or anti-Naxalite operation needs to be carried out, there is requirement of specialist officers as not every one can handle the situation at hand.

“The Centre is willing to discuss the proposed amendments with the states. It is not going to be a unilateral decision, but the fact is that officers with experience of states are need at the Union level. Further, the growth of state officers will remain stunted if they are not exposed to the central and international stage. This is why the IAS, IPS and IFS were categorized as All India Services,” said a top bureaucrat, explaining the rationale behind the proposed amendments.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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