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‘Embrace it’: 17 IPS retirees back govt move to remove state veto on its request for IAS officers

Open letter by ‘Track The Truth’ comes days after another group of retired civil servants criticised the government’s proposed amendment to IAS (Cadre) Rules.

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New Delhi: A group of 17 retired IPS officers has issued a statement supporting the Modi government’s proposed amendment to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, that seeks to remove states’ authority to veto an officer’s transfer on central deputation.

In a statement, the retired officers — identifying their grouping as ‘Track The Truth’ — appealed to serving IPS officers to “embrace” the initiative by the central government. 

The open letter, dated 4 February, comes days after the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), a platform of around 200 retired civil service officers, issued a statement criticising the proposed amendment. 

Even though the IPS statement does not refer to the proposed amendment to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, it says it “supports GOI’s (Government of India’s) initiative to encourage IPS officers to offer themselves for central deputation, given the vast opportunities to develop oneself and contribute to the macro- and micro-levels of national security”.

“Such deputations strengthen the bond between central and state administrations, as AIS (All India Services) are the most important threads, which knit the Indian Union and states together,” it said.

The government has yet to propose a similar amendment to the IPS (Cadre) Rules. However, it is learnt, it is likely to be brought soon. 

The open letter claims the Union government is facing a deficit of IPS officers. 

“The IPS, with a cadre strength of ~5,000 has ~2,700 senior duty Posts (SP to DG rank). 1,075 (40 per cent) of these are meant for central deputation reserve (CDR) as per prevalent rules,” it says.

“However, only 442 IPS officers are currently on central deputation to fill up 645 sanctioned posts at the Centre. The letter also speaks about the need for a merger of “the two-stage empanelment process for IPS officers to Level-14 (for inspector general and joint secretary) to just one”. This has been a long pending demand of the officers and the IPS Association (central). 

Track The Truth has former Uttar Pradesh DGP Vikram Singh and former Jammu & Kashmir DGP S.P. Vaid in its advisory council. The two are mentioned as “patrons” in the letter. 

Also Read: Not just Gujarat: Modi’s star IAS, IPS, IFS officers earned spurs under PM Manmohan

The amendment proposal

The proposed amendment to IAS (Cadre) Rules was conveyed to states through letters to chief secretaries on 12 January. Several Opposition-led states, including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Telangana, have opposed the amendment, calling it “draconian” and an attack on the federal structure. 

A senior serving IPS officer said the government may notify or issue a similar order for IPS officers after amending the All India Service rules. While the amendment proposal for IAS was brought by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), for the IPS, it will be the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and for the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 

In their letter, the retired IPS officers said “dynamic exchange of human resources, the principal elements of change, from New Delhi to state capitals and vice versa creates a dynamic, cohesive entity, a nation, that pursues similar objectives, works in the same direction and evaluates, absorbs and disseminates new ideas, technology and systems”. 

They further suggested the merger of the two-stage empanelment process. “India’s understanding of internal and external security and direction of improvement are the same at the states and Centre, primarily due to free movement of IPS officers between these units of governance. In order to facilitate implementation of recent instructions of the Union, Ministry of Home Affairs could also consider aligning the slope of the Central Pyramid of Posts with the State Pyramid of Posts,” read the letter. 

“This can be done by enhancing the number of sanctioned CDR posts at senior levels of ADG and above (only 8 per cent vacancy) and reducing those at the DIG-level (74 per cent vacancy), given that residency of IPS officers at the DIG-level is the shortest (4 years), hence availability is always short,” the letter said. 

“Another alignment of rules, which could ease the process of IPS officers deputing to CSS posts could be to merge the two-stage empanelment process for IPS officers to Level-14 (for IG and JS) to just one.”

Talking to The Print, Ashwani Kumar Chand, secretary of the IPS Association (central), said IPS is the “steel frame for the civil services”. 

“The Indian Police Service is an All India Service (AIS) and IPS officers should come on central deputation as this is the basic tenet for the AIS as per the constitutional scheme of the service, envisaged by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” he added. “The central government is running [a] cadre deficit, and more IPS officers should opt for deputation.” 

He also said the association welcomed the suggestion “on merging the two-stage empanelment process for the IPS officers in the rank of IG and JS”. “It has been a long-pending demand by IPS officers,” he added.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

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