Central deputation of officers very low: DoPT

DoPT tells States that not sending enough officers may affect future cadre review proposals.

June 09, 2021 11:27 pm | Updated 11:27 pm IST - New Delhi

The Central Secretariat’s North Block, which houses the Department of Personnel and Training in New Delhi. File

The Central Secretariat’s North Block, which houses the Department of Personnel and Training in New Delhi. File

With the States not nominating enough officers for Central deputation, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has shot off a letter to the State governments, cautioning them that not sending enough officers may affect future cadre review proposals.

For instance, Uttar Pradesh has over 500 Indian Administrative Service officers but data show that only 32 IAS officers are presently on Central deputation.

West Bengal has around 280 IAS officers but only 11 are posted with the Central Ministries.

Bihar fares better with 32 IAS officers on Central deputation out of 208, whereas 28 out of the 167 IAS officers of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre are serving the Centre.

Out of the 241 Gujarat cadre officers, 27 are posted with the Union government. Rajasthan has deputed 13 out of its 247 IAS officers to the Centre.

An official of Uttar Pradesh cadre, however, said it was not that officers were not willing to go on Central deputation but the no-objection clearance was hard to come by. The final clearance is given by the Chief Minister.

“Many officers from Uttar Pradesh have applied but they are not getting a clearance,” said the official.

As per norms, States have to depute All India Services (AIS)officers, including Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, to Central government offices and at any point it cannot be more than 40% of the total cadre strength.

‘Very minimal’

In a letter to States on June 4, the DoPT has said “the number of nominations received so far has been very minimal and as such the representation of officers from various cadres/ services, especially at the deputy secretary/director level, is extremely low.”

The DoPT had sent a similar communication in December 2020 but in the past two years it has not been able to fill vacancies at the director and joint secretary level in various Central ministries.

Around 40% or 390 CSS posts are at the joint secretary level (more than 19 years experience) and 60% or 540 such posts are at the rank of deputy secretary (nine years) or director rank (14 years of service).

Serious gaps

“…. every cadre is allowed a deputation reserve to ensure that officers have the opportunity to work on deputation including that under the Central Staffing Scheme [CSS], which adds to their experience. The utilisation of this reserve is low and this underutilisation, particularly at the deputy secretary/director level, causes serious gaps in cadre management. This aspect will also be kept in view by the DoPT while considering cadre review proposals, to be received in future. The cadres that have not been forwarding adequate nominations for the CSS at various levels may have to settle for less number of additional senior duty posts in future by way of corresponding reduction,” the letter stated.

The DoPT has stated that officers nominated for Central government posts should not be more than 54 years.

“It is also requested to ensure that the officers who are on the verge of promotion, as may be relevant, during the year are not nominated, often necessitating their early repatriation to avail of promotion in the cadre. It may be ensured that the names of only those officers are forwarded who are likely to remain available under the Central Staffing Scheme for full tenure,” it said.

Norms changed

Last year, to tide over the crisis, the DoPT changed norms and made it mandatory for IAS officers from 2007 batch onward to mandatorily serve for two years in Central deputation within first 16 years of their service if they wanted to be empanelled for a joint secretary rank in the future.

Before any officer of the AIS is called for deputation to the Centre, his or her concurrence is required. The Establishment Officer in the DoPT invites nominations from the State governments. Once the nomination is received, their eligibility is scrutinised by a panel and then an offer list is prepared, traditionally done with the State government on board.

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