National Affairs

Against The Federal structure: Non-BJP States Opposes Centre’s Proposal On Deputation Of IAS Officers

So far nine non-BJP ruled states including Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand have come together in protest against the Centre’s proposal on central deputation of IAS officers, saying that it is against the federal structure of the country. Officials gave this information on Wednesday.

On the other hand, the central government has defended the proposal, saying that the states are not releasing sufficient number of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers for deputation, thereby affecting the administrative functioning at the Centre.

Sources in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that the representation of IAS officers up to the level of Joint Secretary in the Center is declining as most of the states are not fulfilling their Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) obligations and their responsibilities for service at the Centre. The number of officers sponsored by

Indian Administrative Service officers are allotted a cadre, which is state and union territory. Each cadre is allowed a CDR to ensure that officers get an opportunity to work on central deputation. It also enhances the experience of the officers.

The DoPT has recently proposed changes to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, which would take away the power of the states to reject the Centre’s request for seeking officers on central deputation.

Odisha, which has joined the list of protesting states, said the move once implemented would affect the administration of the states and impact on the implementation of various development projects. Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan have also raised their voices against the amendments.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drop the proposal, terming the proposed amendments “draconian” and “promoting unilateral action”.

 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the first to raise her voice against this move. Banerjee urged Modi to withdraw the resolution as it would “create a ‘feeling of fear’ among the officers and affect their performance.” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also urged the prime minister to drop the move. It has been said that this is an attack on the root of the federal policy of the country and the autonomy of the states.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said that the proposed changes would violate the constitutional jurisdiction laid down for the central and state governments and reduce the spirit of fearlessness and honesty by officials.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has said that the proposed amendments are against the spirit of cooperative federalism and if implemented, the administrative system of the states may “crash”.

Apoorva Chandra, a Maharashtra cadre IAS officer, had said on Friday that working with both the central and state governments gives officers a broader perspective. Citing paucity of officers, DoPT has been writing to the states seeking officers on central deputation. The DoPT in June last year had asked all state governments to nominate more officers for central deputation at the level of deputy secretary, director and joint secretary.

Under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS), generally officers of the rank of Deputy Secretary, Director and above are appointed in the Ministries, Departments of the Central Government (ie on central deputation). According to DoPT sources, the number of IAS officers on the CDR has come down from 309 in 2011 to 223.

Sources said that non-availability of adequate number of officers at the Center is affecting the functioning of the Central Government as the Center needs the services of these officers for getting updated information in policy formulation and program implementation. 

He said that furthermore, transfer of officers from state to center and center to state is mutually beneficial for both as it contributes towards better coordination with the states for effective program implementation, besides contributing towards professional development of the officers. enables the. Sources said that there is shortage of officers in the cadre as most of the state cadres did not sponsor the number of officers as per the prescribed CDRs.

The DoPT had written to the chief secretaries of all state governments on 20 December 2021, followed by reminders on 27 December 2021 and 6 January and 12 January. The January 12 letter to the states specifically mentioned the power of the Center to put an end to the dissent of the states on sending officers on deputation.

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