Itanagar/New Delhi: After repeated demands from the Arunachal Pradesh government to create a separate cadre of IAS, IPS and IFS officers for the state, the Modi government has decided to revisit the structure of the AGMUT cadre.
According to sources, union minister for personnel and training Jitendra Singh has prepared a concept note exploring the possibility of having a different cadre for officers from Arunachal Pradesh. The state has a sanctioned strength of 42 officers.
At present, the state is manned by IAS, IPS and IFS officers from the AGMUT cadre — a common cadre for Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and union territories. Since the three states used to be union territories, they were merged into the UT cadre. They have remained there even after statehood.
“The government is contemplating whether there can be a separate cadre for Arunachal Pradesh officers because there is some merit in the argument that the development of a state could get affected if there isn’t a dedicated cadre of officers for it,” a DoPT official said.
Sources said the government is also considering separate cadres for Goa and Mizoram.
The development comes after Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu took up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah earlier this month.
Speaking to ThePrint, Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh’s development had suffered significantly as a result of not having a cadre of its own.
IAS officers come to the state for two years, and just before they begin to understand the nuances of governing it, they are sent off to another state or UT to serve, said Khandu. As a result, there is no institutional memory when it comes to development and governance of the state.
The chief minister added that while Sikkim is also a small state with a sanctioned strength of just 48 officers, it had benefitted immensely from having a cadre of its own, while Arunachal had suffered.
“It is against the federal spirit to not allow states to have their separate cadres,” said an IAS officer posted in Arunachal Pradesh.
“All AGMUT cadre officers come under the MHA, which means they control all their postings, transfers, etc… It is not right to discriminate between states by not allowing a few to not have their cadres.”
There is also a cultural gap, since officers never fully get acquainted with the culture, language and social mores of the states, the officer added.
A long-standing demand
Earlier this month, Arunachal Governor Brig B.D. Mishra (retd) called on the union minister to discuss the issue. With the Jammu and Kashmir cadre being merged with AGMUT, he asked the central government to consider the possibility of excluding states from the AGMUT cadre, and make it exclusively for union territories.
It has been a long-standing demand of Arunachal Pradesh to have a separate cadre. In 2017, all the MLAs passed a resolution demanding the same.
In early October, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga too discussed the issue with Home Minister Shah since union territories fall under the domain of the union home ministry. He had also raised the matter at the 68th plenary of the North East Council held in Guwahati in September.
Many IAS and IPS officers consider postings in the Northeast a ‘punishment’. In September, a 2011-batch IAS officer, Kashish Mittal of the AGMUT cadre, resigned from the service as he was being transferred to Arunachal Pradesh, a decision he was said to be unhappy with.
However, there are some advantages of having a common cadre too, another AGMUT cadre officer said.
“In some sense, AGMUT cadre officers reflect the true spirit of the All India Services …They get posted across the country, so have more exposure,” the officer said.
“Also, if states like Arunachal, Mizoram and Goa have their own cadres, the state will have a very small pool of officers to choose from since they are small states.”