Tuesday, December 26, 2017

CORRIDORS TREND 2017, PART 1: How non-IAS officers liberally chosen as GoI joint secretaries

IF YOU pick out the single major trend from the corridors of power in the year 2017, it will be the non-IAS officers being liberally given berths of joint secretaries in the union government, the posts which till recently were invariably under the control of the IAS officers. Does that mean the end of IAS supremacy in the Central government? It’s not, as additional secretaries and secretaries, the two senior-most ranks of the Government of India are fully dominated by the IAS. In BoI’s first part of the trend-spotting in 2017, here below are the reasons why and how IPS, IFoS and Group ‘A’ officers like IRS, IES, railway services etc. managed the coveted JS posts, making it the most prominent trend for 2017…
It all began in March 2017 when 10 out of 16 new JS were selected from services like IFoS, CSS, IPoS, IRAS etc., the highlight being the seven cases out of 16 where non-IAS officers were selected to replace existing IAS, and that too in key ministries and departments including the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and the department of financial services. For example, Vinod Kumar Tiwari, 1986 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IFoS officer was appointed as joint secretary in the ministry of tribal affairs in place of Manoj K Pingua, 1994 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS, and then Ms Vandita Kaul, 1989 batch Indian Postal Service (IPoS) officer was made the new joint secretary in the department of financial services in place of AV Patil, 1998 batch Tamil Nadu cadre lAS.
Whereas the list of new JS appointments in March 2017 was only the precursor, the trend got established in the month of June when 21 new joint secretaries were appointed, out of which only 4 belonged to the IAS. And the government made it clear that an officer’s specialisation had no bearing so far as the appointment of the joint secretaries were concerned. No wonder, an income tax officer Vipin Chandra (1987 batch IRS-IT), was made the joint secretary in the ministry of earth sciences, and Prasanta Kumar Swain, 1987 batch Indian Postal Service officer was appointed as joint secretary in the department of agriculture, cooperation and farmers welfare, replacing an IAS -- Shakil P Ahammed.
Then came another list of JS appointment in November 2017 when IOFS, IRAS, IRPS, IES, IDES etc. cornered 10 out of 20 new joint secretary posts. Dharma Reddy Alia, a 1991 batch IDES, for example, was made the new joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs (MHA) replacing a Nagaland cadre IAS, V Shashank Shekhar. Also, a forest service officer — Sanjay Kumar Sinha was appointed as joint secretary in the department of higher education.
Whereas the consistent demand from IPS and various Group ‘A’ services associations to accommodate their officers as GoI joint secretaries may have contributed to this trend, but the reluctance of many state governments to send their IAS officers to the Centre also forced the DoPT to choose the JS mainly from non-IAS. As BoI had earlier reported, there are only five IAS officers belonging to Chhattisgarh cadre at the Centre whereas the number should have been 31. The state has 160 IAS officers. Similarly, there are only 11 IAS of West Bengal cadre serving in Central deputation whereas the number should have been 56. This data released by the DoPT recently was updated till October 31, 2017.
But whatever could be the trigger, the bottomline is: non-IAS officers have swelled among JS-ranked officers, and all in 2017.


  1. Dopt has already put a spoke by delaying js confirmation to ies cadres

  2. There is a need for non-IAS officers to hold important posts in DoPT to arrest the tendency of favoring IAS by IAS there.