Civil Services Reforms

Upsetting the Centre-state balance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 312

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with changes in IAS rule

Context

The proposed amendment to Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules 1954, seeks to do away with the consent of both the officer and the state government.

What makes All-India services different?

  • Article 309: Under Article 309 of the Constitution, the Centre and states are empowered to erect and maintain services for running their administration.
  • Both the Centre and the states exercise full control over their services independently of each other.
  • Article 312: Unlike a central service or state service, an All-India Service is compositely administered under Article 312.
  • While recruitment and allotment to a cadre (state) are determined by the Centre, the states determine the work and posting.
  • Balance between Centre and states: Hence, All-India Services are carefully balanced between the Centre and the states.
  • The Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS) are the three All-India Services.
  • Being an All-India Service, officers of the IAS are posted to the states, from where they are deputed to the Centre with the tripartite consent of the officer, the state government and the central government.

Issues with the proposed changes

  • The proposed amendment to Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules 1954, seeks to do away with the consent of both the officer and the state government.
  • Reasons for amendment: The reason for the amendment, as declared by the central government, is to ensure adequate availability of IAS officers for central deputation, which at present is “not sufficient to meet the requirement at the Centre”.
  • However, the central government has gone beyond its declared reason and stretched the cadre rules to also allow for appropriation of IAS officers “in public interest”.
  • The Centre has virtually conferred upon itself the plenipotentiary power to pull out any number of IAS officers from the states.
  • States may divest IAS officers of key posts: To protect their administration from becoming paralysed, states may resort to altering their Transaction of Business Rules to divest IAS officers of key posts in the state, and vesting the same with the state officers.
  • Alternately, states may conjure provisional berths for retired bureaucrats to re-enter administration as special appointees, outside the cadre rules.
  • Flouting of cadre rules by States: As it is, the implementation of cadre rules is left to the mercy of the states, with the Centre showing a disinclination to enforce them.
  • Some states openly flout the cadre rules with impunity in matters of postings and transfers.
  • The Civil Services Board has been rendered impotent, non-cadre officers are being unilaterally appointed to IAS cadre posts, and the minimum tenure guarantee is openly flouted.
  • Against federalism: Not only could it allow distrust to fester in Centre-state relations, it would also result in the functional depreciation of the IAS in the states.

Conclusion

It is important for the states to be reassured that they are in control of their administration, and for the service to not lose its relevance.

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