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New anxiety among IAS officers in Delhi as Modi govt picks only 7 for 33 top posts

IAS officers see move as way to reduce their numbers at the Centre, especially as Modi govt has only empanelled one officer since retaining power.

IAS officers
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and the IAS officers of the 2017 batch at the Parliament House Annexe Extension Building, New Delhi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

New Delhi: The Modi government’s first large-scale bureaucratic reshuffle in its second term has spread anxiety among Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers in the country — of the 33 joint secretaries that the government had appointed Monday, only seven are from the IAS.

“Never has the government appointed so few IAS officers as joint secretaries in the government,” said a senior IAS officer currently on central deputation. “It is unprecedented actually.”

The Modi government has been looking to dismantle the hegemony of the IAS in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy since its last term.

In its Monday appointments, the government has picked four Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers, while the remaining 22 are from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers and Indian Statistical Services.


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


Fewer IAS empanelments

The government’s apparent move to reduce the influence of the IAS in New Delhi’s power corridors isn’t confined just to appointments. The number of IAS officers being empanelled by the government is also at a record low.

Empanelment is the process of qualifying officers for positions in the Central government, from which some are eventually selected as joint secretaries, additional secretaries and secretaries among others.

Since retaining power, the Modi government has empanelled 57 officers for the position of joint secretaries. Only one of these officers is from the IAS.

The government has, instead, empanelled 26 officers from the Indian Railway Service, eight from the Indian Economic Service and seven from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service among others.

“See, it is very rare that the government appoints so few joint secretaries, but the truth is that even the number of IAS empanelments has been coming down for a host of reasons since the last few years,” said another IAS officer from Punjab. “So when the IAS pool is shrinking, the appointments will obviously shrink too.”

‘A way to reduce IAS numbers’

IAS officers, already anxious over the government’s lateral entry scheme, are viewing this new development as a way to reduce their numbers at the Centre.

“This is obviously a way to ensure that IAS numbers come down at the Centre,” said the first IAS officer. “One way was lateral entry, this is another.”

Earlier this month, the government wrote to all state governments asking them to send IAS officers in greater numbers on deputation — a move which is now being seen as pointless in the backdrop of the recent appointments.

“If you’re asking state governments to send more IAS officers, then why aren’t you appointing more from the pool you already have?” asked the officer. “Surely, you have more than seven empanelled IAS officers… This is a whitewash.”

A DoPT official, however, said the two developments are unrelated. “The government has been constantly pushing more IAS officers to come on deputation since their numbers have been falling,” the official said. “Also, the government is facing a shortage at the director and deputy secretary level… It’s in that context that states were asked to send more officers.”


Also read: IAS officers shouldn’t fear us, we’re here only to help, say lateral entrants


12 COMMENTS

  1. It is aright ploy to break the nexus. BJP realised the dream and expectations of people are being mis represented by Ias people and they make delay of implementation as complacency factor demotivating their delivery and corruption plays pivotal role . In all department they r just making them indispensable and keep on dictating unnecessary pressure on juniors even for stalling the progress and brings disrepute for Govt .
    They have lobby system and keep on listening their predecessors in many cases where earlier incumbent was released for his wrong doings ….

  2. It is aright ploy to break the nexus. BJP realised the dream and expectations of people are being mis represented by Ias people and they make delay of implementation as complacency factor demotivating their delivery and corruption plays pivotal role . In all department they r just making them indispensable and keep on dictating unnecessary pressure on juniors even for stalling the progress and brings disrepute for Govt .
    They have lobby system and keep on listening their predecessors in many cases where earlier incumbent was released for his wrong doings ….

  3. I fear shrinking is definitely going to terminate bureaucracy in the long run to wash off the lopsided n irrational craze for bureaucracy .Also..its jus a job with it’s own perks jus like any other job, clearing a tough exam doesn’t make u a hero being just a graduate and clearing a though exam what extraordinary merit it is?? Aint even a professional course, it definitely needs to be upgraded .No exam is a judge of a person’s intellect and wisdom, getting through any exam needs following a set protocol and the ones religiously following that clear the exam what’s a great deal about it?? Every single exam is tough for God’s sake don’t add unnecessary kudos to it as otherwise all other occupations must be buried only bureaucracy must rule..utter shit..I appreciate the govt’s sensible decision.

  4. IAS entry not to blamed? Earlier days it was illetrate politicians & educated IAS. Hence there was a nexus between two how to earn money . IAS in the past had advised the loop holes of the system & both had enjoyed. The honest National Character is built by educated & honest Parliamentarians. Let’s see how the political corrupt system without paying Taxes & enjoying freebees at Tax Payers money befooling innocent Janta on caste, Religion, Religionalism, Cowism, Ram Templeism , except for political Accountability, hoarse trading etc . The day corrupt, illetrate politicians corret themselves , the system will correct & India will rise. Love

  5. Bjp govt is doing a fabulous job in this regard! Now When these IAS officers will complete with private players and officers from other allied services then they will come to know about real competition and how deserving they are! Being an IAS doesn’t give u the sole right to be appointed as joint secretaries! Bjp has chosen IFS and IPS officers on top positions in PMO recently which shows what the govt thinks about calibre of ias officers!

  6. I sort of agree with you! Cracking one prestigious exam can give a guy a life-long “high”. It can give him a big ego. But NOT being able to crack a prestigious exam does not necessarily make a guy modest! In fact “unsatiated ego” can make them more difficult to get along with. It all basically boils down to picking a guy with a good mix of previous experience and intelligence to quickly imbibe new things. What I was saying in my comment is, the selectors should only look for these two factors, and give NO importance to the candidate’s religious inclinations.

  7. These IAS officers are responsible for our present situation. They are currupt and because of that they obey the unlowful order of our dirty politicians. If all these IAS officers act as per their constitutional no any politicians will dare to get unlowful act and country will be more progressive in all aspects and peoples condition are much better than today

  8. Just an example …. National Horticulture Board approves sponsored projects under its various subsidy schemes, at a benchmarked subsidy, based on which farmers work out their economics and send in proposals. Ever since an IAS hoity-doity has been installed as Chairman, there has been a massive bureaucratic delay in processing cases, exacerbated by the General Elections drama, and what is worse, the NHB has imposed an unexplained “CUT” on the percentage of subsidy. Resulting in farmers having to bear an additional burden of Rs 4-6 lakhs for every acre proposed. I sincerely wonder like ALL farmers in the situation, as to what kind of Govt Modi is purporting to run ! Shame that the very people who feed this country, are KICKED IN THE BELLY by Modi v 2 !

  9. IAS and IPS officers seem unwilling to come on deputation to the Centre. Even from the less developed states, where there is an incentive to get children better access to quality education and job opportunities.

  10. Looks like more govt is trying to introduce more technocrats or say accountants and analysts who are focused on process. Also, in my observation IAS selection and training focuses too much into administration not in managing resources. Qualified technocrats can analyze the situation and manage better, will also be able to change processes on the field. I am not saying IAS should be abolished. They need to able to manage, not just administer, which the British wanted them to do

  11. Can there be any Indian Railway Services or Indian Revenue Services candidate who wouldn’t have tried to crack the IAS exam himself? Or at least, viewed the IAS successful with awe or even a mild jealousy? All this points to one thing : Modi government is choosing B class material over A class material.

    Does such a decision necessarily have to be wrong? NO! In my time I have seen many diploma holders displaying better engineering sense than degree holders. But that was more to the credit of selectors in the industry who knew exactly what kind of knowledge or experience they were looking for for a particular engineering job. In Modi government, do the selectors know exactly what kind of expertise they are looking for for a particular job slot? If yes, then very good! But if only proclivity to a narrow kind of Hinduism is the super-arching criteria, then we can say that the roots of an efficient administration are severely being undermined.

    • Oh really!!! The IAS have had this position only because they could crack an exam and like most school students who “learn” by rote but never get any appreciation of the subject! The IAS are exactly that. The most stupid and hilarious part of this service is that N officers seniority is decided by the score he got in the entrance exam and that rating essentially continues till he retires.

      Most IAS officers I have come across are at best average managers, who lack the basic skills (forget specialist) to do their job, lack vision and with pompous egos. In fact many among them wouldn’t even be taken even in the Amin depts in the private sector.

      It is about time Modi sets this club right and get real administrators to set a d execute his policies

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