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Modi govt to slash IPS posts by 50% at Centre as ‘states refuse to spare them’

Home ministry has told states that central govt plans to to reduce Central Deputation Reserve quota of IPS officers from 1,075 posts to about 500.

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New Delhi: Faced with a crippling shortage of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, the Narendra Modi government has decided to reduce the number of posts reserved for them at the central level by 50 per cent.

In a letter dated 26 November, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed all states that the central government is undertaking an exercise to reduce the Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) quota of IPS officers from the existing 1,075 posts to about 500.

The CDR quota is the maximum number of officers from across the state cadres that can be deployed at the central level.

The home ministry has asked the states to give their feedback on this “instant matter” latest by 15 December.

“It has been noted that most of the state governments are not sparing their IPS officers to serve on central deputation,” the home ministry letter said.

“On going through the data of officers on central deputation throughout the country, it is observed that at present only 428 IPS officers are working on central deputation against the authorised strength of 1,075 i.e. 39.81 per cent of Central Deputation Reserve posts,” the letter added.

IPS officers on central deputation are generally deployed in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, etc. and in Central Police Organisations (CPOs) like the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and Intelligence Bureau, among others.

The home ministry’s decision comes at a time when the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is considering making central deputation of IAS officers compulsory. The DoPT’s move also comes in the wake of fewer IAS officers coming to Delhi as a result of their shortage in the states.

Overall, there are 4,940 IPS posts across the country, of which 970 — or 19.64 per cent — were vacant as of 2018, according to a written reply from Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh in the Rajya Sabha. 

As a result, states, which are battling with a scarcity of IPS officers, are less willing to send them to serve in the central government.

Also read: ‘Hostility must stop’ — Amit Shah wants IPS and armed police forces to talk, end disputes

‘Will affect All-India nature of IPS’

Arguing that the home ministry’s decision would impact the “All-India nature” of the IPS, a senior officer called the decision “short-sighted”.

“The rules governing the IPS state that 40 per cent of all the IPS posts in the country would be reserved for central deputation,” said the officer.

“If that rule is amended, IPS officers will start working in silos in their respective states…There would be no difference between the state civil services and us,” the officer added.

The shortage of IPS officers in the country is “temporary,” and stop-gap arrangements should be made to address it, rather than changing the nature of civil service itself, the officer said.

It is an argument acknowledged by the home ministry as well. Its letter stated that according to Article 312 of the Constitution, the IPS “is an All India Service for both the Union and the States”.

“The movement of officers from the state to the Centre and back is of mutual benefit to the states and the government of India on the one hand and to the officers concerned, on the other,” the letter stated.

However, due to a persistent shortage of IPS officers, such a measure has been necessitated, a home ministry official told ThePrint.

‘Shortage will be automatically addressed in a few years’

Another IPS officer explained that the current shortage of IPS officers is a result of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recruiting very small batches of officers between 1998-2004. 

“At that time, the UPSC recruited just 30-40 officers a year, and these are the ones who are eligible for DIG-level promotions right now…That is why there is a shortage,” he said.

The officer, however, also said that since recruitment in the subsequent years went up to 150 IPS officers a year, the shortage will automatically be addressed in the next few years.

“In fact, then the states will have a surplus, and they would want to send officers to the Centre…So my sense is that the states will tell the Centre to not reduce the CDR,” he added.

Also read: ‘We’re not monsters’ — IPS officers say celebration of ‘Hyderabad encounter’ in poor taste


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  1. There may be a transient shortage of IPS officers, due to smaller batch sizes between 1998 and 2004. However, it is a fact that officers, including those from the IAS, no longer look forward to working in Delhi.

  2. This decision seems like cutting the nose to spite the face. If shortages are given de jure status by cutting down number of IPS posts in centre how will meet the need for IPS officers at the Center? At best, Centre can feel happy that there are no vacant IPS posts. This policy doesn’t make sense.

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