Weekly Current Affairs

Task force for cadre review of Group ‘A’ Central Services [Governance]

  • In a surprise move, the Central government announced the constitution of a task force for a comprehensive study of the cadre structure of all organised Group ‘A’ Central Services and sought a report within three months.
  • The decision of the Department of Personnel is on the directive of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Besides the three Group ‘A’ All India Services — the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS), which are common to the Centre and the States, there are 58 other technical and specialised services.
  • These include the Indian Audit & Accounts Service Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, the P&T Accounts and Finance Service in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Indian Postal Service and the Indian Foreign Service.
  • The Terms of Reference of the task force is to make a comprehensive study of the structures of organized Group ‘A’ level, recommend ideal structure expected at the higher levels of the posts of Director General to Additional Secretary, suggest ways of ideal recruitment and way forward to “mitigate stagnation” level.
  • The objective of the ‘Cadre Review’ exercise is to ensure the smooth functioning of the service and keeping up the morale of its members.
  • In view of the deficiencies in the management of the various cadres highlighted by a study team, the Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended that “for all, service advance projection should be made of requirements of personnel for 5 years at a time” and that these should be followed by mid-term appraisals.
  • It is not clear from the Terms of Reference whether the task force would address the most contentious and sensitive issue related parity between the IAS and other technical services, including that of doctors, engineers and scientists.
  • Efforts by representatives of other services to prevail upon the 7th Pay Commission to consider parity with the IAS in pay, perks and promotions came to a naught as the Commission did not go deep into the subject.
  • Officers in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), the Indian Defence Accounts and Indian Audit Accounts barely reach the level of Director before retirement.
  • The Indian Revenue Service association had actually demanded the scrapping of the empanelment process on the ground that it is dominated by the IAS.
  • The IPS association had quoted statistics to demonstrate how other central services, which come through common selection process, were discriminated both in pay and positions compared to ‘elite’ Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
  • It had pointed out to the Commission how the IAS had cornered specialised posts in the internal security department of the Home Ministry — out of 20 joint secretaries in the Ministry, only one is an IPS, the rest are IAS.