NEW DELHI: As many as nine non-BJP ruled states have opposed the Centre’s proposal that gives it an overriding power while deciding on central deputation of IAS officers, whereas eight others have given their consent, officials said on Wednesday.
A reminder will soon be sent to the states and Union Territories which have not yet responded to the proposal on making changes in the relevant service rules, they said.
Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan have raised their voice against the amendments, the officials said.
On the other hand, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have given their consent, they added.
Karnataka and Meghalaya had opposed the proposal initially sent to them last month but are expected to send a revised proposal, the officials said, adding that Bihar had also opposed the move earlier.
While the nine states opposed the suggested changes saying they were against the federal structure of the country, the Centre has defended its proposal asserting that the states are not sparing a sufficient number of IAS officers for deputation which is affecting its functioning, the officials said.
Sources in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said a trend of decreasing representation of IAS officers, up to the joint secretary-level at the Centre, has been noticed as most of the states are not meeting their Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) obligations and the number of officers, sponsored by them to serve at the Centre are much lesser.
Officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) are allocated a cadre, which is a state or states and Union territories.
Every cadre is allowed a CDR to ensure that officers have the opportunity to work on central deputation, which adds to their experience.
According to DoPT sources, the number of IAS officers on CDR has gone down from 309 in 2011 to 223 as on date.
The DoPT has recently proposed changes in the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 that will take away the power of states to override the Centre’s request for seeking officers on central deputation.
Odisha, in its opposition, said once the move comes into force, it will affect the administration of states and have an impact on the implementation of various development projects.
Describing the proposed amendments as “draconian” and intended to promote unilateralism, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “bury” the proposal.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, first to air her voice against the move, has urged Modi to withdraw the proposal as it would “create a fear psychosis among officers and impact their performance”.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has also asked the prime minister to drop the move that “strikes at the very root” of the nation’s federal polity and states autonomy.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said the proposed changes will violate the constitutional jurisdiction prescribed for the central and state governments, and reduce the spirit of working fearlessly and faithfully by the officers.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has said the proposed amendments are against the spirit of federalism and if implemented may lead to “collapse” of the administrative system of states.
Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra, an IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre, had on Friday said working with both the Centre and state governments broadens the perspective of the officers.
Citing shortage, the DoPT has been writing to the states seeking more officers on central deputation.
It had in June last year asked all state governments to nominate more officers for central deputation at the level of deputy secretary, director and joint secretary.
According to the DoPT proposal, sent to chief secretaries of all state governments on January 12, “in specific situations where services of cadre officer(s) are required by the central government in public interest, the central government may, seek the services of such officer(s) for posting under the central government and the state government concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government within the specified time”.
It further states that “wherever the state government concerned does not give effect to the decision of the central government within the specified time, the officer(s) shall stand relieved from cadre from the date as may be specified by the central government”.
Existing rules allowed mutual consultation for the officers’ central deputation.
The DoPT had written to chief secretaries of all state governments on December 20, 2021, after which reminders were sent on December 27, 2021, and January 6 and January 12.
The January 12 letter to states specifically mentions the Centre’s power to override the states’ disagreement on sending the officers on deputation. PTI