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Modi govt gets rid of long empanelment process for DIGs to overcome IPS vacancies at Centre

Home ministry's proposal cleared by Modi cabinet on 10 February. According to a home ministry report, 47% of DIG-ranked posts at Centre are vacant.

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New Delhi: The Union government has done away with the empanelment process for DIG (Deputy Inspector General)-ranked IPS officers — the age-old, lengthy system for personnel willing to take up Central deputation.

The move is aimed at filling an acute shortage of DIG-ranked officers at the Centre in the shortest possible time, according to senior officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). 

It was the MHA that proposed the idea to dispense with the empanelment process — the system through which officers from the states are chosen for service at the Centre — for DIG-ranked officers. The appointments committee of the cabinet approved the change last week, says a government order dated 10 February.

According to the order, the MHA has been proposing this since 2020, and wrote to the committee twice, once in December 2020 and later in April 2021.   

Senior officials at the MHA who have worked on this matter said that the Union government has a 47 per cent cadre deficit of DIG-ranked officers. The acute shortage of officers is the reason behind such an order, they said. 

“The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for dispensing with the empanelment at the level of DIG with immediate effect and carrying out the corresponding stipulated amendments in the existing IPS Tenure Policy,” says the government order, a copy of which is with ThePrint. 

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

Acute shortage of IPS officers 

The genesis of such an order lies in the numbers in the Central Deputation Reserve (CDR), said the senior officials. 

The CDR of each state cadre determines the number of officers who can be sent on deputation to the Central government. 

According to the vacancy report on the MHA website, the Central government has 252 sanctioned posts for DIG-ranked officers, of which 118 are lying vacant. The sanctioned strength for SP (Superintendent of Police)-ranked officers at the Centre is 203, of which 104 positions are unoccupied. The vacancy report was last updated on 20 December, 2021. 

The issue of cadre shortages and alleged non-compliance by state governments in filling up the CDR by sending adequate numbers of IAS officers on central deputation has prompted the government to bring an amendment proposal to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, said a DG (Director General of Police)-ranked IPS officer, who did not wish to be quoted. 

“This idea of doing away with the empanelment system for the DIG-ranked officers can be a part of the government’s efforts to bring in more officers on deputation to run the system,” said the officer. 

However, the Centre is yet to dispense with the “cumbersome” two-stage empanelment process for IG (Inspector General) and JS (Joint Secretary)-ranked officers, which takes more than a year, the officer said.

“There are two different committees, one is MHA-controlled and another is DoPT (Department of Personnel & Training)-controlled. These two committees can be merged and the duration for the process can be cut short,” added the officer. 

Speaking to ThePrint, Ashwini Chand, secretary of the IPS Association, said, “We welcome this step by the MHA. This is a progressive decision. It was long pending.”

Chand added, “On the same lines, the government should also dispense with the two-stage empanelment process of IPS officers for the IG and JS level, though both are of level 14 (a grading system indicating seniority). The IG rank officers should be empanelled on the due date for both as IG and JS at the Centre in the same order.” 

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)

Also read: 20% fewer IAS officers on central deputation since 2014 although Modi govt wants more


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