|Introduction: Establish a link between IAS and the federal structure of India, and briefly describe the event of amendments.|
Briefly describe the IAS cadre Rules and the proposed amendments to it.
Write a few points on the rationale behind the amendment to IAS cadre rules.
Write a few points on the issues linked to amendments and how it is going to change the center-state relations.
Conclusion: Provide a balanced way forward which is neutral towards both center and states.
The structure of All India Services (AIS) was designed to support and maintain the federal structure of India, under article 312 of the constitution. Thus, officers of the IAS are under the dual control of the state governments to which they belong and the central government, which is their recruiting, appointing, and training authority.
Thus, the changes to the IAS cadre rules proposed by the central government will have a direct impact on the federal structure, maintaining center-state relations.
About IAS cadre rules
Under the current dispensation, officers, are placed at the disposal of state governments. They work in their assigned states throughout their service period, except for periods of central deputation under Rule 6(1).
The rules provide for a consultative process involving the Union government, the state government, and the concerned officer for the deputation of the officers to the Centre.
Amendments to IAS cadre rules
However, the proposed amendment will change the rule.
Now, first, the Centre will decide the actual number of officers to be deputed to the Central government in consultation with states. Second, the decision of the Centre will be supreme in case of disagreement between center and state and the state will have to implement the decision of center “within a specified time.”
Desirability of amendments
- The number of officers, opting for central deputation, is declining. It is increasingly getting difficult for the central government to get officers even at the joint secretary levels.
- Generally, of the total cadre strength of the states, about 25-30 percent used to be on central deputation. Currently, less than 10 percent are working in various central ministries.
- There are instances where officers are reluctant to take the center’s deputations due to comparatively better service conditions in the states.
- Center has an important role in maintaining the federal structure of the country and civil servants are the actual executive body to give effect to the government’s mandate. The shortage of officers will affect the policy-making and implementation role of the central government.
Issues associated with IAS Cadre rules
Several state governments are opposing and criticizing the proposed amendment on the following grounds:
- It will weaken the State’s political control over the bureaucracy established by the constitutional scheme.
- It will affect the autonomy of the states as officers might hesitate in taking any decision favoring state government over the central government.
- Lastly, it will reduce the significance of AIS in the eyes of state government, and they might prefer their own State Civil Services over AIS.
- As the state governments are responsible for the grassroots-level administration and implementation of central schemes, arbitrary and sudden transfers of officers from the states to the Centre can be highly disruptive, undermining governance in the state
Central government must focus on promoting cooperative federalism. Thus, it should consult with states properly on this matter and provide for adequate recruitment for AIS, so that there is no shortage of officers.