Central Deputation Reserve (CDR)

 

Context:

  • The amendments proposed to Rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Cadre) Rules of 1954, which seek to empower the Central government to unilaterally order the Central deputation of IAS officers without the consent of the State governments or the officers concerned, have provoked controversy.
  • The Centre has justified them on the ground that the States are not meeting their Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) obligations because of which the Centre is suffering from an acute shortage of mid-level IAS officers, especially Deputy Secretaries and Directors.

 

Background:

  • The first cause of the shortage was the drastic reduction in the annual recruitment of IAS officers after 1991 (from 140-160 to just 50-80) under the misguided notion that the government will have a reduced role due to economic liberalisation.
  • That didn’t happen. It took nearly 20 years for the Centre to correct this mistake and restore the annual recruitment to pre-1991 levels.
  • As of January 1, 2021, the shortage of IAS officers at the all-India level was 23%. The number of IAS officers recruited annually should be increased to around 200 for a few years as a short-term measure.
  • The second cause is lackadaisical “cadre review”.
  • This is an exercise conducted jointly by the Centre and the States to designate certain strategic posts in the States as “cadre posts” and earmark them exclusively for IAS officers.
  • The third cause is the ill-advised discontinuance of direct recruitment of officers to the Central Secretariat Service Group B since 2000
  • The fourth cause is the complete non-utilisation by the Centre of the services of officers who are appointed to the IAS by promotion or selection from the State Civil Services.
  • The fifth cause is the numerous administrative barriers to Central deputation imposed by the Centre itself in the form of highly restrictive conditions, perverse incentives, annual lapsing of offer lists, long debarment periods, compulsory cooling-off periods, etc.

 

 

Way Forward:

 

  • It is suggested that it should be made mandatory for directly recruited IAS officers to serve at least three years on Central deputation between nine and 25 years of service.
  • Their promotion to Principal Secretary grade in their State cadre (usually after 25 years) should be subject to their completing this mandatory period of Central deputation.
  • This wider window will enable IAS officers to opt for Central deputation at their convenience and the Centre will also be assured of a steady, adequate supply of deputationists.
  • We suggest that it should be made mandatory for directly recruited IAS officers to serve at least three years on Central deputation between nine and 25 years of service.
  • Their promotion to Principal Secretary grade in their State cadre (usually after 25 years) should be subject to their completing this mandatory period of Central deputation.
  • This wider window will enable IAS officers to opt for Central deputation at their convenience and the Centre will also be assured of a steady, adequate supply of deputationists.

 

Source The Hindu

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