NEW DELHI: A new policy for cadre allocation has been finalised by the Central government for IAS, IPS and other officers, aimed at ensuring "national integration" in the country's top bureaucracy.
Officers of all-India services -- the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (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.
Under the new policy, candidates can only select one state/cadre from a zone as their first choice. Their second, third, fourth and fifth choices have to be from the different zones.
Usually candidates choose their home state as their first choice and neighbouring states as their subsequent preferences.
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.
Candidates appearing for the civil services examination-- conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission -- will have to first give their choices in a descending order of preference from among the various zones, as per the new policy.
The preference for the zones will remain in the same order and no change will be permitted there, it 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," the policy 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, it said.
Candidates will be allotted their home cadre on the basis of merit, preference and vacancy in the category, it said.
The official said the policy is likely to be put into effect from this year.