Highlighting the lateral recruitment and proposed changes in civil service deputation rules, a group of 82 former civil servants on Thursday wrote to President Draupadi Murmu. In the letter, he expressed concern over “systematic efforts” being made to change the character of the civil services.
In an open letter, he appealed to them to convey their concerns to the central government, warning them that the attempt to change the character of the civil services was fraught with great danger and would lead to the end of constitutional government in India.
The letter states that a concerted effort is being made to change the character of the civil services, especially the IAS and IPS. We would like to contact you on a matter which has been causing us great concern recently and we feel obliged to bring it to your notice.
The letter further states that the service rules have been sought to be amended to force central deputation without the consent of the officers concerned or their state governments, effectively undermining the authority and control of chief ministers over their officers. Can go It has upset the federal balance and left civil servants carefree between conflicting loyalties, weakening their ability to be impartial.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had proposed changes in the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 in December 2021. The proposal would take away the power of states to overrule the request of the Center for requisitioning officers on central deputation. Comments were sought from states and union territories in this matter. The existing rules allow mutual consultation of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers on central deputation. However, no final decision has been taken in the matter yet.
The letter states that governments in the past have allowed lateral recruitment at senior levels and many such officers have proved themselves successful. Lately, there has been opacity in the recruitment process at the middle level and there is concern that candidates are being selected on the basis of their ideological biases. The letter states that there is no need to comment on its consequences for the future of an independent civil service.
Let us tell you that this month the Center has decided to recruit 20 experts from the private sector as Joint Secretaries, Directors and Deputy Secretaries on contract basis in its 12 departments. Former bureaucrats said such measures are being taken which could jeopardize the unique federal design of the IAS and IPS. It underlines Sardar Patel’s vision of a permanent civil service that would bind the country together and enable it to strike a balance between the interests of the Union and the states.
The letter states that efforts are being made to pressurize the officers to show exclusive allegiance to the Union instead of the parent state cadre. Arbitrary departmental action has been taken several times against those who refuse to do so.
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