A new policy for cadre allocation has been finalised by the Central government for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and other officers, aimed at ensuring "national integration" in the country's top bureaucracy.
Officers of all-India services — the IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) — will have to choose cadres from a set of zones instead of states.
The officers of the three services are currently allocated a cadre state or a set of states to work in.
They may be posted on central deputation during the course of their service after fulfilling certain eligibility conditions.
The existing 26 cadres have been divided into five zones in the new policy proposed by the personnel ministry.
Zone-I has seven cadres — AGMUT (also known as Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Zone-II consists of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, while Zone-III comprises Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland will constitute Zone-IV, while Zone-V will have Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The new policy will seek to ensure that officers from Bihar, for instance, will get to work in southern and north- eastern states, which may not be their preferred cadres, a personnel ministry official said.
"This policy will ensure national integration of the bureaucracy as officers will get a chance to work in a state which is not their place of domicile," the official said.
He said the new policy would help in upholding the rationale behind the all-India services.
"All-India service officers are supposed to have varied experiences which can be earned when they work in a different state, which is new to them. The officers may not be able to experiment new things if they work in their own domicile state," the official said.
Under the new policy, candidates appearing for the civil services examination — conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) — will have to first give their choices in a descending order of preference from among the various zones.
"Thereafter the candidates will indicate cadres in order of preference from each zone," it said. A candidate can list all 26 cadres, following this process.
The preference for the zones will remain in the same order and no change will be permitted there, the policy said.
"If a candidate does not give any preference for any of the zones/cadres, it will be presumed that he has no specific preference for those zones/cadres," it said.
If candidates are not allocated any one of the cadres for which they have indicated a preference, they shall be allotted along with other candidates any of the remaining cadres, arranged in an alphabetical order, where there are vacancies, the policy said.
Candidates will be allotted their home cadre on the basis of merit, preference and vacancy in the category, it said.
The official said while the policy had been finalised, it had not been decided when it would be put into effect.