New Delhi: The Union government has long suffered a crunch of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers — an issue that has been a topic of discussion for a year now. Yet, the intake of officers in the service has remained unchanged since PM Modi assumed office in 2014.
While the Centre proposed amendments to IAS (Cadre) Rules early this year to address the shortage, the results of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services exam, declared Monday, showed that the intake of IAS officers is 180 — the same as it was in 2013 and the years since then.
The total intake of officers in the Indian civil services has, meanwhile, gone down to 749 in 2021 from 1,228 in 2013.
According to the UPSC result list published by the PIB every year, these are the numbers of vacancies that the government says are to be filled. The UPSC then recommends candidates, including through provisional and reserve lists, for these vacancies.
Since 2013, the numbers for total intake and intake in central services (Group A) have kept changing. Both numbers have been falling steadily since 2019.
In March, the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice submitted a report recommending that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) increase the intake of IAS officers. However, the central government has yet to decide on the issue.
ThePrint sent detailed queries to a DoPT spokesperson through text and mail seeking the government’s version on the issue, but is yet to receive a reply.
V. Ramani, a retired IAS officer who worked in the central government, said: “There must be a formula that the government is working on, and a sudden increase (of intake) can be a knee-jerk reaction. The intake of officers generally depends on the cadre review.”
The government, he added, “has decided to maintain the numbers for IAS considering the requirement in ministries and states”.
“A sudden increase in intake may lead to bunching of officers as well,” he said.
On the drop in total intake in the civil services, he said “it seems the government has done some analysis and cadre review after which these decisions were taken”.
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A close look at the total intake in the Indian civil services — comprising the IAS, IFS, IPS and other central services — through the UPSC every year since 2014 shows that the numbers have been declining.
According to the results of the civil services examination 2013, a total of 1,228 candidates were picked. This included 180 IAS, 32 IFS, 150 IPS and 710 central services (Group A) officers.
In UPSC 2021, the total intake has dropped to 749 candidates. The intake for the IAS officers remained unchanged at 180, while 37 IFS and 200 IPS officers were taken.
The central services (Group A) category has also seen a steady fall in intake, to 242 in 2021 from 710 in 2013. The government increased the intake of IPS officers to 200 in 2020, from 150 in 2019.
Another retired IAS officer, who worked in various positions in the central government, said: “The total intake in central services is falling probably because the government is trying to restructure the system. Earlier, we used to get over 1,000 civil service officers (per year), but then the government faced some technical issues in posting them.”
“This is a good approach to bring all the civil service officers to the fore, and post them in important ministries and departments. A sudden increase in intake may lead to the state governments facing capacity constraints. The government needs to decide on the career path for recruits too,” he added.
Meanwhile, in a fresh approach, the Centre is shuffling central services (Group A) officers and appointing them in positions traditionally held by IAS officers. For instance, in the past week, starting from 25 May, the DoPT has issued at least 13 posting or extension orders in which four are for IAS officers, while the rest are for other central services officers.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
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