Tuesday, August 07, 2012

IFS officers feel the heat as global IAS may dictate economic diplomacy

VERY often, officials from IRS cadre have problems with IAS lobby. Now, Indian Foreign Service officers are feeling the heat. As influential, and also ambitious, mid-career IAS officers have begun to fill up key economic posts in major missions such as US, UK, Japan etc., there is a fear among career diplomats that this new breed of global IAS may call the shots at a time when economic policies dictate diplomacy.
What has soured the relations further was...
the delaying of promotion of the 1993 batch IFS officers as joint secretaries, for which Prime Minister’s Office had to intervene, according to media reports. One report says IAS lobby is not happy with external affairs ministry’s “adventure” into creating a new post of secretary (public relations) in South Block who may articulate MEA’s viewpoints in matters as wide-ranging as trade and commerce, environment, health, climate change etc. Though no difference of opinion has flared up as yet, these are the areas where diplomats too have strong views and try to influence policies, something IAS officers at the helms are not comfortable with. 
According to reports, there are now about 40 global IAS who are posted in various Indian missions abroad. They are the commercial counsellors helping Indian embassies or high commissions to engage with the foreign countries in economic and trade matters.
For the career diplomats, the bigger challenge now is how to address their lack of orientation towards global economic and trade issues which have in the last few years replaced the security matters as the core part of diplomacy. What’s more, there are only 800 IFS officers, too less a number if compared to China’s 4,000 and US’ 12,000 foreign service officers.
Till now, IRS officers have problems with IAS. As taxmen, they are specialists in their own subject and are largely independent in their day-to-day functioning including sensitive areas like raids. But in the end of the day, all IRS officials including those in customs and central excise come under Union revenue secretary, an IAS officer.

Action and Appointments
a) The inter cadre deputation of Ms Sonali N Vayangankar from MP to Maharashtra cadre, has been approved. She is a 2000 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre.
b) The ACC has approved extension in deputation tenure of Sanjay Kundu, a 1989 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IPS officer, as Inspector General (IG) in Border Security Force for a period of four months till December 25, 2012.
c) Dinesh Kumar, a 1983 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS, presently in the cadre, has been appointed as Executive Director (Transport), in Food Corporation of India (FCI), Headquarters, New Delhi. He will hold the rank of a joint secretary. The post was held by Amar Singh, a 1981 batch MP cadre IAS, who was recently appointed as FCI’s chairman.


  1. PS : I think Dr.Amar Singh is 1978 batch IAS

    Even after 50 years of independence,the vestiges of British rule cannot be erased from the civilian bureaucracy. It is with great anguish we pour our feelings out, and hope that the highest level of the political leadership considers it sympathetically and avoid any inaction by vested bureacratic interests.
    The non-class 1 i.e the Group B,C are an aggrieved lot.
    The classification of the services under Gazetted-non-Gazetted , Group A, B and C has created a virtual Aparthied like situation wherein we come across cases of Group A officers having a disdainful and supercilious attitude towards their non UPSC, Non Class 1 subordinates bordering on hubris.This over time crates an ivory tower mentality.What is so sacrosanct about this classification that it is leads to vested interests protecting their turfs and how can you have social justice in society when the civil service itself has such an inegalitarian hierarchal structure that it it in danger of falling apart if any other formation based on social justice platform like Mayawati comes to power at the centre. Before we go public on this issue, I suggest that the Govt.
    act on it and take some remedial measure before any social upheavel shakes up the very citadels of our bureaucracy.
    This has assumed such an Institutionalized setup that it almost mirrors the varna system in Hinduism.
    Everything is based strictly on hierarchy and not on value.The hiatus is too wide to bridge, given the sacrosanct nature of Group A. How sacrosanct the Class 1 scales in the sixth Pay Commission are, can be gauged by the substantial jump in some allowances and perks in the Grade Pay of Rs 5400/ and PB-3 and the virtual red letter highlights in PB-3
    as 'Group A induction'.
    Lack of any lateral upward moves on the part of the lesser
    mortals to move up the Varna system, which euphemistically is
    referred to as Induction in group A, and which is tantamount to a lower varna person being baptised into a higher one, has created a deep resentment in many talented employees who by virtue of bad luck could not make through UPSC and had to opt for SSC instead.This system,like the caste system, is designed in such a way that it precludes any latent talent in the lower rungs.
    Probably no other Instiuition has this kind of divergence
    wherein a certain class of people are condemneded to stagnation for the rest of their lives ,however talented they may be.
    As a first step towards alleviating this historical wrongs,
    the Govt can make towards abolishing this classification into A,B,C,D and gazetted.Also any graduate in Govt. service in whatever grade pay should be made to appear for an exam and given an opportunity to get the Grade pay of Rs 5400/ after he clears certains minimum criteria in a transparent manner.
    It is never too late in History to correct a wrong.
    Some of the privileges enjoyed by the higher echelons like
    unquestioned study leave, can also be extended to all sections
    as everyone can justify value addition after taking a
    sabbatical off for education. I dont see any reasons why
    a non -gazetted employee who has put in 20 years service
    should be denied permission for a 2 year study leave, on loss of pay. Why cant you frame rules on this.
    Secondly as the recommendations of the Chairman of the Commission do carry some weight, I suggest that keeping the egalitarian nature of our Constitution in mind kindly keep the ratio of the Highest vs the lowest pay at the ratio of the fourth pay Commission.
    Thirdly , there should be scope for lateral or upwardly induction of exceptionally talented staff from non group A ,who by virtue of mischance might not have fared well in the UPSC civil services examination and who are condemned to stagnation for the rest of their lives.This will address to
    a great extent the frustration and resentment in them.

    1. Very well said. Well argued. This is yet another caste system