The personnel ministry has decided to amend existing service rules to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of IAS officers for central deputation, officials said on Tuesday.
The proposal which will give greater say to the Centre came as various state/joint cadres were found to be not sponsoring an adequate number of Indian Administrative Service officers as part of the central deputation reserve even though the ministry had flagged the issue several times.
“As a result of this, the number of officers available for central deputation is not sufficient to meet the requirement at Centre,” the personnel ministry said in the proposal seeking changes in the IAS (cadre) Rules, 1954.
The move has evoked sharp criticism from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to roll back the proposal claiming it will affect states' administration.
"I express my strong reservations to the approach followed by the central government in proposing such amendment to the cadre rules which unilaterally mandates the state government to make such a number of officers available for deputation as prescribed under (the) central deputation reserve," Banerjee wrote to Modi on Tuesday evening.
Seeking to change the rules, the Centre has proposed that each state government shall make available for deputation to the central government such a number of eligible officers of various levels to the extent of the central deputation reserve prescribed under existing regulations, adjusted proportionately by the number of officers available with the state government concerned vis-à-vis the total authorised strength of the state cadre at a given point of time.
The actual number of officers to be deputed to the central government shall be decided by the central government in consultation with the state government concerned, the new rule proposes.
In case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the central government and the state government or state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government 'within a specified time,' it has proposed.
Existing rules did not mention any time limit for deciding on such disagreement.
The proposal to change the rules was sent to the chief secretaries of all the state governments on December 20, 2021. They were asked to furnish their comments by January 5, 2022.
The Centre 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, citing their shortage.
Officers of the level of deputy secretary/director and above are usually appointed in central government ministries/ departments (i.e. on central deputation) under the central staffing scheme.
Every cadre -- a state/states or states and union territories -- is allowed a deputation reserve to ensure that officers have the opportunity to work on deputation including that under the central staffing scheme, which adds to their experience.
It is requested that a larger number of officers may kindly be recommended for the appointment at DS/Director/JS level under the Central Staffing Scheme so that the central deputation reserve/ deputation reserves are duly utilised for this purpose, the Personnel Ministry had said in a communique.