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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Central Staffing Scheme - A Flawed Mode of Recruitment...must read by all Group A officers...

The Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) has been in operation for more than 50 years in India. This Scheme provides a systematic arrangement for the selection and appointment of officers to senior administrative posts in the Government of India.  It is one of the modes through which appointments to the posts of the rank of Under Secretary and above in the Government of India are made.  Before analyzing the Central Staffing Scheme, it is imperative on my part to briefly discuss about the administrative structure of the Government of India and the various modes of recruitment of personnel to man the posts/offices under it.


Administrative Structure of the Government of India
The constitutional head of the Executive of the Union of India is the President. Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President, who shall exercise his/her functions in accordance with the said advice. The real executive power is thus vested in the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head.  The Government of India is divided into various Ministries and Departments. The work of the Government of India is distributed among the various Ministries and Departments by the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961. For convenient transaction of this business of the Government of India, the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 were passed. The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of both these Rules facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/Departments of the Government of India by ensuring adherence to these Rules. The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister. The administrative head of the Secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary.  The Cabinet Secretary is the senior-most civil servant and also the head of the Indian Civil Service.  The Cabinet Secretary is mandatorily drawn from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).  The Transaction of Business Rules provided for the constitution of Standing Committees of the Cabinet for performing certain functions of the Government of India. These Standing Committees contain such Ministers as the Prime Minister may, from time to time, specify. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet is one such Standing Committee, which is responsible for taking various decisions like appointments, empanelments, extension of tenures, transfers, re-employment of officers, etc. of certain categories and rank/pay.
The work of the Government of India is distributed into different Ministries/Departments.  A Department is responsible for formulation of policies of the government in relation to business allotted to it and also for the execution and review of those policies.  For efficient disposal of business allotted to it, a Department is divided into administrative units called Wings, Divisions, Branches and Sections. The functions of the various functionaries of a Department may be summarized as follows:

S.No.
Administrative Unit
Administrative Head
Functions
1
Department
Secretary
A Secretary is the administrative head of the Ministry or Department.  He is the principal adviser of the Minister on all matters of policy and administration within his Ministry/Department.
2
Wing
Special Secretary/
Additional Secretary/
Joint Secretary
When the volume of work in a Ministry exceeds the manageable charge of a Secretary, one or more wings may be established with Special Secretary /Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary, incharge of each wing. Such a functionary is entrusted with the maximum measure of independent functioning and responsibility in respect of all business falling within his wing subject.
3
Division
Director/
Deputy Secretary
Director/Deputy Secretary is an officer who acts on behalf of the Secretary. He holds charge of a Secretariat Division and is responsible for the disposal of Government business dealt within the Division under his charge. He should ordinarily be able to dispose of the majority of cases coming up to him on his own.
4
Branch
Under Secretary
An Under Secretary is incharge of the Branch in a Ministry consisting of two or more Sections and in respect thereto exercises control both in regard to the despatch of business and maintenance of discipline. Work comes to him from the Sections under his charge. As Branch Officer he disposes of as many cases as possible at his own level but he takes the orders of the Deputy Secretary or higher officers on important cases.
5
Section
Section Officer
A section is generally the lowest organizational unit in a Department with a well-defined area of work. It normally consists of Assistants and Clerks supervised by a Section Officer. Initial handling of cases (including noting and drafting) is generally done by Assistants and Clerks who are also known as the dealing hands.
Each Department may have one or more Attached or Subordinate Offices. Where the execution of the policies of the government requires decentralization of executive action and/or direction, a Department may have under it executive agencies called ‘Attached’ and ‘Subordinate’ offices. Attached Offices are generally responsible for providing executive direction required in the implementation of the policies laid down by the Department to which they are attached. They also serve as repository of technical information and advise the department on technical aspects. For instance, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is an attached office of the Department of Commerce. Subordinate Offices generally function as field establishments or as agencies responsible for the detailed execution of the policies of the government. They function under the direction of an Attached Office, or where the volume of executive direction involved is not considerable, directly under a Department. In the latter case, they assist the Departments concerned in handling technical matters in their respective fields of specialization. Besides, the attached and subordinate offices there are a large number of other organizations under the Government of India, which carry out different functions assigned to them. These may be categorized as follows:
1)      Constitutional Bodies: Such bodies which are constituted under the provisions of the Constitution of India.  Eg: CAG, Election Commission of India, etc.
2)      Statutory Bodies: Such bodies which are established under the statute or an Act of Parliament. Eg: RBI, SEBI, IRDA, FMS, PFRDA, etc.
3)      Autonomous Bodies: Such bodies which are established by the Government to discharge the activities which are related to governmental functions. Although such bodies are given autonomy to discharge their functions in accordance with the Memorandum of Associations etc., but the Government’s control exists since these are funded by the Government of India. Eg: National Productivity Council (NPC), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), etc.
4)      Public Sector Undertakings: Public Sector Undertaking is that part of the industry which is controlled fully or partly by the Government. These undertakings have been set up in the form of companies or corporations in which the shares are held by the President or his nominees and which are managed by Board of Directors which includes officials and non-officials. Eg: Air India, BSNL, FCI, etc.

Recruitment of Personnel:
The personnel manning the various posts under the Government of India are recruited through various modes.  These modes can be summarized as follows:
1)      Central Staffing Scheme – It provides a systematic arrangement for the selection and appointment of officers to senior administrative posts in the Central Government, excluding the posts which are specifically encadred with the organized Group ‘A’ services or filled by recruitment through the UPSC.  Appointments to all other posts of the rank of Under Secretary and above in the Government of India are filled under the Central Staffing Scheme by borrowing officers from the All India Services and participating Group ‘A’ services.  All officers who are so borrowed will serve the Government of India for a stipulated tenure on deputation and thereafter return to their parent cadre.  Their growth, development and career prospects will be mainly in their own Service.  The raison d’ĂȘtre of such a scheme is the Centre’s need for fresh inputs at senior levels in policy planning, formulation of policy and implementation of programmes from diverse sources viz. the All India Services and the participating organized Group ‘A’ services.  The services of scientific and technical personnel and professionals in the field of economics, statistics, law and medicine are similarly obtained, whereby they serve for specified periods on deputation and return to their respective cadres at the end of the tenure.  This two-way movement is of mutual benefit to the service cadres and the Government of India.  The bulk of the posts under the Government of India in the Central Secretariat are filled through the Central Staffing Scheme. 
2)      Recruitment through UPSC – Some posts under the Central Government are filled by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) directly. 
3)      Posts Encadred to Specialized Group ‘A’ Services – Some posts in the Union Government are specifically encadred to the specialized Group ‘A’ Services.  These posts are to be filled only by officers belonging to that particular Service. For instance, the Foreign Secretary is always an IFS officer, the Chairman and Members of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) are IRS officers, the Chairman and Members of the Railway Board are to be drawn from railway services like IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, IRSME, IRSEE, IRSE; Secretary (Posts) is always an IPoS officer, the Directors of CBI, IB and R&AW are IPS officers, etc. 
4)      Posts Encadred to Central Secretariat Service – Some posts of Director, Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary are encadred to the Central Secretariat Service.  These posts are filled only by the Central Secretariat Service officers in accordance with the rules of the Central Staffing Scheme but stand outside the Central Staffing Scheme.
5)      Foreign Service Appointments – Appointment of members of Indian Foreign Service to posts included in the Foreign Service Cadre are made on the recommendations of the Foreign Service Board comprising IFS Officers.
6)      Appointments by Railway Board – Appointment to posts under the control of the Ministry of Railways are made on the advice of the Railway Board.
7)      Services Selection Board Procedure – Appointments to posts under the control of the Ministry of Defence other than civil posts are made on the advice of the Services Selection Board or other specified authorities.
8)      Statutory Appointments by the President of India – Statutory appointments to be made by the President of India will be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
9)      Appointments of Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Heads of Missions or High Dignitaries under the aegis of the Ministry of External Affairs will be as per the prescribed procedure.

Central Staffing Scheme:
            The idea behind the Central Staffing Scheme is the Central Government’s need for fresh inputs at middle/senior levels in the formulation of policy and implementation/monitoring of various programmes.  The officers are drawn from diverse sources for a specified period on deputation.  This two-way movement is of mutual benefit to the service cadres and the Government of India.  A total of 37 Services are included in the Central Staffing Scheme.  An attempt has been made here to study and find out whether the Central Staffing Scheme is working on the lines planned and whether the Central Government and thereby the country is benefitting from this Scheme of personnel administration.
            The complete lists of Secretaries, Special Secretaries, Secretary Equivalents, Additional Secretaries, Additional Secretary Equivalents, Joint Secretaries and Joint Secretary Equivalents to the Government of India that were available on the website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions were critically analyzed.  The following disturbing inferences were drawn:
1.   The list of Secretaries, Special Secretaries & Secretary Equivalents (as on 12/02/2014) that is available on the website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions contained names of 128 officers belonging to various Services. These posts carry the basic pay of Rs.80,000 (fixed) (Apex Scale). The Services represented along with the number of officers in these Secretary level appointments are summarized below:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Number of Officers from the Service Represented
Percentage of Posts Occupied by Officers belonging to the Service
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
95
74.22%
2
Indian Police Service (IPS)
11
8.59%
3
Scientists
8
6.25%
4
Indian Legal Service (ILS)
4
3.13%
5
Economists
3
2.34%
6
Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
2
1.56%
7
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
1
0.78%
8
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
1
0.78%
9
Indian Information Service (IIS)
1
0.78%
10
Doctors
1
0.78%
11
Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
1
0.78%
Total
128
100%
It is to be noted that the Indian Legal Service (ILS), Scientists, Economists & Doctors mentioned in the above table are not among the 37 Services eligible to be considered under the Central Staffing Scheme.  So, only 7 Services out of 37 eligible Services are actually represented at the Secretary level appointments in the Government of India.  Services with large cadres like Indian Revenue Service (with cadre strength as large as that of IAS) were not represented at all.  The one Secretary level post occupied by the IPoS is that of Secretary(Posts), which is an encadred post of the IPoS.  The one Secretary level post occupied by the IDAS is that of Secretary(Defence Finance), which is an encadred post of the IDAS.  The one Secretary level post occupied by the IIS is that of the Secretary to the President of India, which occurs rarely.  The one Secretary level post occupied by the IFoS is that of Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, which is again an encadred post of IFoS.  10 out of the 11 Secretary level posts occupied by the IPS are those encadred to IPS.  So, in effect, only 3 Services out of 37 eligible Services (i.e. only 8.11% of the eligible Services) are represented at the Secretary level posts filled through the Central Staffing Scheme.  Even out of these 3 Services, IFS occupied only 2 posts and IPS only 1 post at the Secretary level, which are not encadred to them.  The 2 posts occupied by IFS are those of Secretary to the Vice-President of India and the Deputy National Security Adviser, which can also be considered as occurring rarely.  So, all most all the Secretary level posts filled under the Central Staffing Scheme are occupied by IAS officers.
2.         The list of Additional Secretaries & Additional Secretary Equivalents that is available on the website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions contained names of 118 officers belonging to various Services. These posts carry the pay scale of Rs.67,000-(annual increment @ 3%) – 79,000 (HAG Scale) or Rs.75,500-(annual increment @ 3%) – 80,000 (HAG+ Scale).  The Services represented along with the number of officers in these Additional Secretary level appointments are summarized below:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Number of Officers from the Service Represented
Percentage of Posts Occupied by Officers belonging to the Service
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
104
88.14%
2
Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS)
4
3.39%
3
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
4
3.39%
4
Indian Police Service (IPS)
2
1.69%
5
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
1
0.85%
6
Indian Revenue Service (C&CE)
1
0.85%
7
Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Service (IPTAFS)
1
0.85%
8
Indian Cost Accounts Service
1
0.85%
Total
118
100%
The 2 posts occupied by IPS are those of Additional Directors of CBI, which are the cadre posts of IPS.  Services with large cadres like Indian Revenue Service (IT) (with cadre strength as large as that of IAS) were not represented at all at the Additional Secretary level posts under the Government of India.  So, in effect, only 7 Services out of 37 eligible Services (i.e. only 18.92% of the eligible Services) are represented at the Additional Secretary level posts filled through the Central Staffing Scheme.  Here also almost all the posts are cornered by the IAS.  The invasion by the IAS at this level is more pronounced than that at the Secretary level appointments.
3.         The list of Joint Secretaries & Joint Secretary Equivalent officers that is available on the website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions contained names of 535 officers belonging to various Services. These posts carry the pay scale of Rs.37,400-67,000 with Grade Pay of Rs.10,000 (SAG Scale).  The Services represented along with the number of officers in these Joint Secretary level appointments are summarized below:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Number of Officers from the Service Represented
Percentage of Posts Occupied by Officers belonging to the Service
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
345
64.49%
2
Indian Police Service (IPS)
33
6.17%
3
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
24
4.49%
4
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
24
4.49%
5
Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS)
23
4.30%
6
Central Secretariat Service (CSS)
15
2.80%
7
Indian Revenue Service (IT)
10
1.87%
8
Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
9
1.68%
9
Indian Information Service (IIS)
7
1.31%
10
Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
7
1.31%
11
Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
7
1.31%
12
Indian Economic Service (IES)
5
0.93%
13
Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
5
0.93%
14
Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
5
0.93%
15
Indian Revenue Service (C&CE)
4
0.75%
16
Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE)
3
0.56%
17
Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS)
2
0.37%
18
Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
2
0.37%
19
Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Service (IPTAFS)
1
0.19%
20
Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
1
0.19%
21
Indian Trade Service (ITS)
1
0.19%
22
Indian Telecom Service
1
0.19%
23
Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE)
1
0.19%
Total
535
100%
Even at the Joint Secretary level appointments, IAS officers occupied the bulk of the posts.  The 15 posts occupied by the Central Secretariat Service are their cadre posts and the Central Secretariat Service is not included in the 37 eligible Services for the Central Staffing Scheme. Therefore, as can be seen from the above table, only 22 Services out of 37 eligible Services (i.e. only 59.46% of the eligible Services) are represented at the Joint Secretary level posts filled through the Central Staffing Scheme.
            It can be seen from the above observations that the Central Staffing Scheme had not achieved the objectives set out for it in the first place.  Only one Service i.e. the IAS has been occupying bulk of the posts filled through this Scheme and only very few Services are being represented in the Central Staffing Scheme posts.  The very idea behind the Scheme of attracting fresh inputs at middle/senior levels in the formulation of policy from diverse sources has been defeated completely.  The cardinal principle of the Central Staffing Scheme is that all officers who are borrowed will serve the Government of India for a stipulated tenure on deputation and thereafter return back to the parent cadre.  The growth, development and career prospects of these officers will mainly be in their own Service.  But the working of this Scheme reveals that the growth, development and career prospects of IAS officers are being furthered by the Central Staffing Scheme at the cost and to the detriment of the other Services and the country in general.  The Central Staffing Scheme is promoting caste system in bureaucracy by promoting one caste (read IAS) over other castes (read Services). The caste system has no place in a modern society. An attempt is made here to identify the real reasons behind the failure of this grand Scheme and the remedies needed urgently for the Central Secretariat to function with efficiency and fairness. 
 
Reasons for Failure of the Central Staffing Scheme:
1.         Flawed Process of Empanelment:
It has been the practice to draw a suitability list (known as panel) of eligible officers from the All-India Services and Group ‘A’ Services participating in the Central Staffing Scheme.  This process is known as ‘empanelment’.  This suitability list/panel will be utilized for making appointments to posts under the Government of India.  However, inclusion in the panel would not confer any right to such appointment under the Central Government.  It has been observed that this very process of empanelment is the biggest hurdle for non-IAS officers to get appointments under the Central Staffing Scheme. The empanelment process has become so skewed that it automatically eliminates the vast majority of the non-IAS officers from the Central Staffing Scheme at the level of Joint Secretary and above.
For the purpose of empanelment, an Expert Panel will examine the APARs/ACRs, year-wise in detail, for each batch and will give their own assessment of the gradings of officers for each year.   This assessment will be taken into account by the Civil Services Board (CSB) for making recommendations for officers to be included in a Panel.  The final approval will be obtained from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for empanelment of officers of All India Services and Organized Group ‘A’ Central Services for holding Secretariat posts at the level of Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary in the Central Government.  The ACC will be assisted and advised by the Civil Services Board.  So, in effect the Civil Services Board is the actual body responsible for preparing the Panels.  The composition of the Civil Services Board is as follows:

S.No.
Official
Designation
Service(s) from which the official is drawn
1
Cabinet Secretary
Chairman (ex-officio)
IAS
2
Secretary (Personnel)
Member (ex-officio)
IAS
3
One Secretary to the Government of India
(to be appointed for a year at a time)
Member
IAS in 90% of the cases
4
Establishment Officer
Member-Secretary (ex-officio)
IAS
5
Secretary of the Administrative Ministry or Department concerned
Co-opted Member
IAS in 90% of the cases
From the above table, simple mathematics will reveal that in 96% of the cases all the five Members of the Civil Services Board are IAS officers and the principles of probability reveal that in less than 4% of the cases there is a probability of atleast 2 out of the 5 Members will be non-IAS Members.  Even under this 4% probability, the majority of the Civil Services Board is comprised of IAS officers.  This very composition of the CSB dominated by IAS officers is the real reason for empanelment of IAS officers on a large scale and elimination of non-IAS officers.  Let us see whether this observation is correct.  An analysis of the officers of the All India and organized Group ‘A’ Central Services who are empanelled to the posts of Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary under the Central Staffing Scheme reveals the following:
(I) Secretary, Special Secretary & Secretary Equivalent:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Junior-most Batch Empanelled for appointment to Secretary, Special Secretary & Secretary Equivalent at the Centre
Number of Officers of the Junior-most Batch Empanelled
Whether any Officer belonging to the Service was actually holding any post that is not encadred to his/her Service
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
1980
36
Yes
2
Indian Revenue Service (IT)
1977
1
No
3
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
1977
1
No
4
Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
1977
1
No
5
Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
1977
1
No
6
Indian Economic Service (IES)
1976
1
No
7
Indian Revenue Service (C&CE)
1976
1
No
It is observed that over the last 5 years only officers belonging to 7 Services have been empanelled for Secretary & Secretary Equivalent posts under the Central Staffing Scheme.  It is also significant that over the past 5 years only around 25 non-IAS officers (from a group of 36 Services) were empanelled for Secretary & Secretary Equivalent posts but around 200 IAS officers (from a single Service) were empanelled during the same period. The junior most batch of IAS empanelled for Secretary & Secretary Equivalent posts is that of 1980 whereas the 1976 & 1977 batches are the junior most from the other Services to be empanelled at this level.  What is significant is that none of the officers belonging to the non-IAS from the latest batch to be empanelled was actually appointed to any post of Secretary & Secretary Equivalent other than to the encadred posts.  Even officially, a 2-year difference is maintained between IAS and non-IAS officers while empanelling for appointment to the posts of Secretary and Additional Secretary/Equivalent at the centre.  God only knows why this discrimination even at official level. 
(II) Additional Secretary & Additional Secretary Equivalent:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Junior-most Batch Empanelled for appointment to Additional Secretary & Additional Secretary Equivalent at the Centre
Number of Officers of the Junior-most Batch Empanelled
Whether any Officer belonging to the Junior-most empanelled batch was actually holding any post that is not encadred to his/her Service
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
1983
57
Yes
2
Indian Economic Service (IES)
1979
2
No
3
Indian Revenue Service (C&CE)
1980
3
Yes
4
Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Service (IPTAFS)
1979
1
No
5
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
1981
1
No
6
Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
1978
1
No
7
Indian Revenue Service (IT)
1979
1
No
8
Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
1981
2
No
9
Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS)
1981
4
Yes
10
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
1981
2
Yes
It is observed that over the last 5 years only officers belonging to 10 Services have been empanelled for Additional Secretary & Additional Secretary Equivalent posts under the Central Staffing Scheme.  The junior most batch of IAS empanelled for Additional Secretary & Additional Secretary Equivalent posts is that of 1983 whereas the 1979, 1980 & 1981 batches are the junior most from the other Services that are empanelled at this level. The representation from the non-IAS Services is also meager in the Panels prepared.  Most of the non-IAS are not actually appointed to any Additional Secretary level posts under the Central Staffing Scheme even though they were empanelled.  It can also be seen from the above tables that when 1980 batch of IAS was empanelled for Secretary level posts, the senior batches of 1979 belonging to non-IAS Services were empanelled for Additional Secretary level posts.   So, even if actually appointed, these non-IAS officers will work under the IAS officers belonging to their junior batches i.e. a senior works under his junior. This is the height of ridiculousness with which empanelment process is being taken up under the Central Staffing Scheme.  The IAS officers are simply marching over the other Services in violation of all norms of fairness and equity. 
(III) Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent:

S.No.
Name of the Service
Junior-most Batch Empanelled for appointment to Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent at the Centre
Number of Officers of the Junior-most Batch Empanelled
1
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
1995
61 (Initial)
2
Indian Economic Service (IES)
1986
6
3
Indian Revenue Service (C&CE)
1985
3
4
Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Service (IPTAFS)
1989
1
5
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
1988
1
6
Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
1984
4
7
Indian Revenue Service (IT)
1986
37
8
Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
1988
8
9
Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS)
1991
14
10
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
1987
47
11
Indian Trade Service (ITS)
1986
1
12
Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME)
1983
12
13
Indian Police Service (IPS)
1988
7
14
Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS)
1985
21
15
Indian Information Service (IIS)
1985
1
16
Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
1986
25
17
Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
1985
1
18
Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
1988
3
19
Indian Telecom Service
1982
35
20
Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
1995
-
The empanelment for posts at the level of Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent is a thesis on inequality, unfairness, hegemony, greed and injustice.  The 1995 batches of IAS and IFS were already empanelled for appointment to posts of Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent under the Central Staffing Scheme.  The next nearest batch of any Service to be empanelled was that of the 1991 batch of Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS).  The junior most batches of IRS(IT), IES, IRTS and ITS to be empanelled to the posts of Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent were those of 1986.  The 1982 batch of Indian Telecom Service, 1983 batch of IRSME, 1984 batch of IDES, 1985 batches of IOFS, IIS, IRPS and IRS(C&CE) were the junior most batches so far empanelled to posts of Joint Secretary & Joint Secretary Equivalent.  So, it is very clear that non-IAS officers are simply trampled by the IAS lobby when it comes to appointments under the Central Staffing Scheme through the highly skewed process of empanelment. 
2.         Civil Services Board Procedure for Appointments:
            For staffing posts of the rank of Deputy Secretary, Director and Joint Secretary in the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) is assisted and advised by the Civil Services Board (CSB).  The functions of the CSB include:
a)      To make recommendations for appointments to the posts of Deputy Secretary, Director and Joint Secretary under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS).
b)     To make recommendations for appointments of All India Services and Group ‘A’ Central Services to some non-CSS posts like posts of Constitutional bodies & statutory bodies, etc.
c)      To make recommendations for appointments to foreign posts in Indian Missions abroad under the administrative control of the Ministries of Finance, Commerce, etc. (other than Ministry of External Affairs).
d)     To make recommendations for appointments to captive posts of Government of India in international organizations like EDs in World Bank, IMF, ADB, etc.
e)      To draw the panels for Joint Secretary level posts under the Central Government (empanelment process).
The Establishment Officer & Additional Secretary to the Government of India, who is an IAS officer, is the ex-officio Member-Secretary to the Civil Services Board and ex-officio Secretary to the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.  The Civil Services Board prepares a panel of three officers from the lists of officers of various Services empanelled to posts of Deputy Secretary, Director and Joint Secretary for making actual appointments to posts under the Government of India.  This panel of three names will be forwarded to the Minister-in-charge for his selection.  The name of the officer selected by the Minister-in-charge will be forwarded to the ACC for approval.  The CSB inturn relies on the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) for preparing this panel of three names for appointments to posts of Deputy Secretary, Director and Joint Secretary. This Committee of Secretaries is again comprised of IAS officers.  It is anybody’s guess as to why only IAS officers are actually appointed to senior posts even though non-IAS officers are also empanelled.  The appointments process by the CSB is the second level of elimination for non-IAS officers. In the first place it is very difficult to get empanelled and in the second place it is next to impossible to actually get appointed to senior posts under the Government of India for the non-IAS officers.
            For the posts of Additional Secretary and above the empanelment and actual appointment is done by the Cabinet Secretary directly.  In this function of the Cabinet Secretary, he/she is assisted by a Special Committee of Secretaries (SCoS), which consists of senior IAS officers.  Here again it is the IAS officers who undertake the empanelment process, make recommendations for appointments and make the actual appointments. No wonder then that 74.22% of Secretary level posts and 88.14% of Additional Secretary level posts under the Government of India are occupied by the IAS officers themselves.
3.         Delay in submission of updated APARs/ACRs:
            One of the reasons given for delay in the empanelment of All India and organized Group ‘A’ Central Services for posts at the level of Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary to the Government of India is the delay in submission of updated APARs/ACRs for consideration.  During the empanelment process, the panels of suitable officers are drawn upon an annual basis considering all officers of a particular year of allotment from one Service together as a group.  It is really difficult to consider large Services like IAS, IRS(IT), IPS and IRS(C&CE) for empanelment as completed APARs of around 100-150 officers in a batch have to be obtained.  It is a cumbersome and long drawn process.  But the real question is if it can be done for IAS why not for others?  What about the delay in case of Services with very small cadre size like IDAS, IDES, IIS, ITS, IFoS, etc.?  So, there are some deliberate manmade procedural bottlenecks which actually hamper the timely empanelment of non-IAS officers which only the Establishment Officer or Secretary (Personnel) can explain.

Suggestions for a Dynamic Personnel Administration:

1.         The empanelment process for appointments to the posts of Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary to the Government of India has to be completely scrapped.  Every year the vacancies arising at these levels have to be uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and applications have to be called for directly from the officers belonging to all the 37 eligible Services. The applications may be submitted through proper channel by the officers who are interested in applying for these posts.  Every officer who has already been promoted to the pay Scale of the Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary to the Government of India in their parent cadre should be made eligible to apply to the respective vacancies at the centre.  This should of course be subject to the vigilance clearance.  As observed earlier in this article, the empanelment process has become the biggest impediment for the non-IAS officers. For instance, IRS(IT) officers upto 1992 batch have already been promoted to Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) grade (Joint Secretary level) in their cadre but empanelment to the post of Joint Secretary to Government of India could be completed only upto the 1986 batch.  So, the IRS officers belonging to 1987 to 1992 batch are losing the opportunity to be appointed to posts of Joint Secretary to Government of India under the Central Staffing Scheme for no fault of theirs. Had there been no empanelment process, even officers of 1992 batch of IRS would have been eligible to apply for Joint Secretary level posts in the Government of India.  Similar is the fate of all other organized Group ‘A’ Central Services.  The process of empanelment is done to check for the eligibility of officers for appointment to senior level posts under the Government of India and to prepare a panel from which selection can be made for appointment.  So, there is duplication of efforts on the part of Department of Personnel and Training and creation of two Padmavyuhas/Chakravyuhas for the non-IAS officers to cross before being appointed to senior level posts under the Government of India.
2.         The composition of the Civil Services Board, Committee of Secretaries and the Special Committee of Secretaries should be changed.  A rule should be made saying that no two persons belonging to a single Service shall be made Members of these three bodies.  The Establishment Officer should only be a Secretary but not Member-Secretary if the incumbent is an IAS officer.  This is required because the Chairman of CSB is always the Cabinet Secretary, who is an IAS officer.  This one measure will bring in a drastic change in the Central Staffing Scheme. 
3.         The 2-year difference being maintained between the IAS and non-IAS should be completely eliminated as it violates the fundamental Right to Equality, which forms the basic structure of the Constitution of India.  No Service is superior to the other and every Service has its role and importance.  Every Service is created to achieve certain objectives and every Service should be allowed to function without any prejudice. No person becomes superior by being part of a particular Service.  It should be noted here that in Civil Services Examination some toppers are choosing Services other than IAS as their first or second choice.  So no superiority should be attributed to officers belonging to any Service.
4.         The difference in pay scales created after the Sixth Pay Commission between the IAS and non-IAS Services by the grant of additional increments to IAS & IFS on promotion to Senior Time Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Non Functional Selection Grade should be done away with.  This difference in pay scales between the Services recruited through the same exam violates the fundamental rights of ‘Right to Equality’ and ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’.  This also makes no sense when some higher ranked candidates in the Civil Services Examination are opting for Services other than IAS & IFS.  There is one argument made by IAS lobby that since candidates who were allotted Service other than IAS & IFS are allowed to take Civil Services Examination again with a view to make it to IAS.  This loss of service due to repeated attempts should be compensated by higher pay to IAS & IFS.  If that is the case the candidates who were allotted Services like IRTS, IRPS, ITS, IPoS, IIS, IRS(C&CE) take exam again and make it to IPS or IRS(IT).  These officers should also be given higher pay by that logic.  The fact of the matter is that this logic is actually highly illogical and promotes inequity and heartburn among non-IAS officers.
5.         Encadrement of all specialized posts to the relevant specialized Services has to be done immediately. God only knows how an IAS officer without any relevant educational qualifications or experience is more suitable to be a Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests than an Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer with 30-35 years of relevant experience in the field.  Similarly, it is not clear how an IAS officer who cannot even file his own return of income is more eligible to be a Revenue Secretary than an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer with 30-35 years of relevant experience in the field.  As per convention, IAS and IFS alternatively hold the ambassador's post in Belgium.  Who can explain how an IAS officer is more suitable than an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer to be an Indian Ambassador to Belgium?  Similarly, I am at a loss to understand how an IAS officer without any knowledge of accounts and audit is more suitable to be a Comptroller and Auditor General of India than an IAAS, IDAS, ICAS, IPTAFS or an IRS officer who are experts when it comes to accounts administration.  Even a kid can tell that an Indian Trade Service (ITS) officer is more suitable to be a Commerce Secretary and the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) than an IAS officer.  Similarly, an Indian Economic Service (IES) officer is far more qualified to be appointed as Executive Director (ED) in World Bank, IMF and ADB than an IAS officer.  An IRS officer is far ahead than an IAS officer in qualifications and experience to be a Director of Enforcement Directorate.  It is also not difficult to understand that an Indian Information Service (IIS) officer will make a better Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting than an IAS officer.  Similarly what is the qualification of IAS officers to be appointed as heads of regulatory bodies like RBI, SEBI, CCI, IRDA, PFRDA, etc? So, there is an urgent need to identify the posts which should be encadred to the specialized Group ‘A’ Services in the centre.  The posts at any level from Under Secretary to Secretary, which require a specialized background or experience have to be filled up only by officers belonging to the particular relevant service. 
Specialization of administration is the dire need of the time. The days are gone where a generalized IAS officer looks after the entire administration involving specialized functions like collection of revenue, diplomatic functions, legal services, engineering services, infrastructural activities, medical & health services, educational services, defence of the country from external threats, internal security, accounts & audit functions, economic functions, information services, transport services, telecommunication services, protection of environment and forests, etc.  Specialized Services/Corps were established to look after these various functions of the Government of India and these Services should be allowed to do their work.  The country had enough of these generalized bureaucrats lording over every Ministry or Department.  The country had survived this onslaught for centuries together and it is high time the country is allowed to realize its full potential through drastic changes in its personnel administration.  Where there is no specialized Service to look after the functions of a particular Ministry or Department, the officers belonging to the 37 eligible Services with relevant educational background or substantial experience in the field should be posted.  Experience should be substantial (10 years or more) otherwise IAS officers with one or two years experience in the State Governments in Departments like Health, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Home or Finance will claim expertise in that particular field.  Actually that particular Department might have survived this IAS officer with great difficulty.  Alternatively, the Government of India should consider creating new specialized Services like Indian Medical Service, Indian Agriculture Service, Indian Education Service, etc.  Only those posts which doesn’t require any specialized knowledge on the part of the incumbent but only a high level of intelligence, integrity and general efficiency should be filled through the Central Staffing Scheme.
6.         Some more Boards have to be set up for recruitment in some specialized Departments.  A Revenue Services Board has to be set up for filling up posts in the Department of Revenue on the lines of Foreign Service Board and Services Selection Board.  Similarly Forest Service Board, Accounts Services Board, etc are to be formed.  These are the urgent requirement under the present circumstances.  These Boards should be constituted on the lines of Foreign Service Board whereby only relevant officers from the relevant Services are made part of them.  For instance, the Revenue Services Board should have only IRS officers and Accounts Services Board should have officers from IAAS, ICAS, IDAS and IPTAFS. This will make these Services independent of the ever-expanding IAS.  When this is being done for IFS why not for other important Services?  This will also not entail any additional expenditure as these Boards will simply replace the Civil Services Board, Committee of Secretaries and Special Committee of Secretaries. 
7.         As recommended by the First Administrative Reforms Commission (1966-70), the Department of Personnel & Training should not itself administer any service cadre. The administrative control of different service cadres should vest with individual Ministries and Departments concerned. The administration of the IAS and the Central Secretariat Service should be the responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs.  The generalized character of the IAS should be eliminated for efficiency in administration. Hence, a specific functional filed should be carved out for the IAS.  The IAS should be converted into a functional Service.  In the words of the First ARC,
“If the higher posts in the different functional areas are encadred within one Service, as has happened in the case of the IAS posts in the States, qualified and competent persons will not be attracted to all the needed functions and, hence, growth of well-organized Services in the emerging areas of administration are likely to be inhibited. In the changing context, therefore, the old concept underlying the formation and the role of the IAS would require readjustment. We would recommend that a specific functional field must be carved out for the IAS. This would consist of Land Revenue Administration, exercise of magisterial functions, and regulatory work in the States, in fields other than those looked after by officers of other functional services.” 
8.         As recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, Certain posts in the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) and the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) requiring technical or specialized expertise and not encadred in any of the Services are to be opened up for being filled up by suitable officers within the Government as well as from private sector who can bring in new skills into Government.  However, here again the authority making selection should be broad based and should not contain more than one person from the same Service/background.   Otherwise it will be an old wine in a new bottle.  Similarly civil servants should be permitted to work in the private sector as well as in academic and other non-government institutions while retaining a lien in government. As recommended by the 2nd ARC, in drawing up the list of external organizations to which government servants can be permitted to go on deputation, the primary consideration should be the objectives and activities of such organizations and not merely its organizational structure. Government should permit deputation of civil servants only to such organizations that are engaged in non-profit making activities to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.
9.         The post of Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India, the highest position in the Indian civil service, has remained the privilege only of the officers from the IAS.  This post has to be made open for recruitment from other Services.  Similarly, the posts of Secretary (Personnel) and Establishment Officer are always occupied by the IAS.  Officers from other Services should also be appointed to these posts.  It should be made mandatory that no two officers belonging to the same Service be posted successively to the posts of Cabinet Secretary, Secretary (Personnel) and Establishment Officer.  It should also be ensured that no two officers from the same Service occupies these three posts at the same time. This will ensure diversity and improvement in the personnel administration of the country.
Conclusion:
The framework of the Government of India has to facilitate a staffing pattern which promotes a link between policy making and implementation. This will also help the structure of both the Government of India and the States and promotes the concept of cooperative federalism.  Public servants working in Government of India as well as its attached and subordinate offices have to develop a national outlook transcending parochial boundaries. This will strengthen national integration.  This is all the more necessary because policy making today is a specialized function which requires a broader perspective, conceptual understanding of the domain and proper appreciation of the external environment.  The first ARC recommended a scheme of reforms to enable entry into middle and senior management levels in the Central Secretariat from all Services on the basis of knowledge and experience in the respective areas of specialization. The Hota Committee on Civil Services Reforms, 2004, had recommended that domain assignment should be introduced for civil servants to encourage acquisition of skills, professional excellence and career planning. It had also recommended that empanelment and posting of Joint Secretaries, Additional Secretaries and Secretaries should be carried out through domain assignment, competitive selection and matching of available skills with the job requirements.
As regards the placement of officers, the Surinder Nath Committee observed as
follows:
“The principal problem with the present system of selections for particular positions under the Central Staffing Scheme is that there is no systematic matching of the competency requirements for particular positions and the backgrounds of the candidate officers. Also, there is no formal system of eliciting the interests and preferences of officers for particular positions, consistent with their background and broader career interests. These lead to unseemly scrambles for particular prestigious positions, in which unstructured influences are pervasive. The result is, frequently, a glaring mismatch between the required competencies and the backgrounds of officers selected for the positions. Career profiles of officers end up displaying the features of a “random walk”, with no regard to building skills and capabilities. In the long-term, these result in poor policy-making and implementation, as well as insufficient capacity for policymaking and public management.”
The First Administrative Reforms Commission had also recognized the importance of domain competency and advocated its philosophy for the management and staffing of civil service positions in the following manner:
1)      “Devising a rational basis to fill policy-making positions with officers having required qualifications and domain competence. This would involve an optimum use of different Services for policy making assignments in the secretariat.
2)      Selecting senior management personnel from all relevant sources - generalist and specialist.  Talent needs to be identified and nurtured in all the Services.
3)      Providing greater opportunities to talented and competent personnel to move to higher positions in the Government.”
According to the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations, “The present accent on generalism should yield place to greater specialisation in one or more areas of public administration. Training and career development policies should be geared to this objective.”
The Indian Civil Service had its origins in the erstwhile British Civil Service of colonial days.  The foundation of the British Civil Service was based on aristocracy.  Even though the modern British Civil Service has changed considerably in line with the modern principles of administration, the Indian Civil Service has still retained the archaic principles.  It is time for a big shake up of the Indian Civil Service from its slumber.   Since independence many committees and commissions have been appointed to usher in administrative reforms in the personnel administration of the country.  Lot of changes have been introduced but unfortunately all these reforms have gone on to strengthen the position of IAS at the cost of all other Services and to the detriment of the country as a whole.  The main reason for this state of affairs is that, in India, even though civil service reforms have mostly come at the initiative of the elected representatives forming the government of the day, the reforms were actually suggested and implemented by the IAS.  The Indian civil Service should dynamically modernize itself.   The professionalization of its activities will bring in speed and reduce the redtape.  What best way than to start with by modifying and improving the Central Staffing Scheme based on the principles of equity, fairness, justice and efficiency.  Hope the 7th Pay Commission and the new government at the centre takes care to usher in a new and dynamic personnel administration at the centre to achieve the lofty ideals enumerated in the Constitution of India, which include the need to alleviate acute poverty, sustaining a healthy and inclusive economic growth, ensuring social justice, maintaining peace and harmony, and the achievement of an ethical, efficient, transparent and a participative governance.

The writer is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer currently posted as Deputy Director of Income Tax (Investigation) at Hyderabad. The views expressed here are those of the writer and not that of the Government. The writer can be reached at prasantpsirs1@gmail.com....keep on Blogging...