|IES Probationers: A file photo|
accommodated in other ministries. That means, the promotion of the cadre will be impacted, as the officers from the defunct plan panel will have to be placed in the ministries where posts of joint secretary and above are considered “reserved”, albeit unofficially, for the IAS officers.
Currently, young IES officers of 2001 batch have already been promoted as directors in the Government of India, thanks to the vacancies and timely cadre review (last one in 2010). A decade ago, promotion for IES officers took much longer and many of officers had to retire as directors, or at best joint secretaries. Now, there are 12 IES officers who are senior advisers, or equivalent to additional secretaries in the Government of India. And there are five officers who have the designation of principal advisers, or equivalent to union secretaries. Many IES officers fear, the abolition of the plan panel may push them back to an era when their seniors had to struggle for decades for routine promotions. The IES cadre was created in 1961, and the first ever direct recruitment examination was held in 1967, producing the 1968 batch.
In the Planning Commission, the IES officers had a major say because of their expertise. Also, the competition there was very limited. In the ministries, IAS officers seem comfortable with IES as directors, but issues do crop up when they too get the rank of a joint secretary. In a number of ministries, the joint secretary equivalent IES officers are often allotted inconsequential departments.
And if the government decides to freeze the IES posts for some time, it may impact fresh recruitment as well. But that will impact the cadre, as there will be more vacancies at the lower level, and the cadre will be a senior-heavy one.
Only recently, IES officers had an internal meeting at Yojana Bhawan to discuss their strategies if, in the worst case scenario, as many as 100 plan panel posts get abolished. Even if a part of the Planning Commission is retained, considered the best case scenario, at least 30 to 50 IES officers need to be uprooted from Yojana Bhawan.
Also, the government’s inability to find a suitable economist as the Chief Economic Adviser after four moths of taking charge, has added the woes of the IES. Chief Economic Adviser who sits in the North Block, technically heads the cadre. It was the CEC Dr Kaushik Basu (December 2009 - July 2012), who many IES officers acknowledge, was unusually kind to them and pushed their agenda at the highest level. The creation of a portal called arthapedia, being managed by IES officers themselves on a voluntary basis, was the brainchild of Basu.