Media reports suggest that the Union Government is preparing to strip the UPSC of its powers and functions pertaining to allocation of cadre to candidates who have qualified in the civil services examinations. A recent note from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) asked various ministries to examine “the feasibility of giving due weight to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to All India Service Officers based on the combined score obtained in the Civil Services Examination as well as in the Foundation Course.” (The Financial Express, Delhi, 21 May 2018).
People from various walks of life have already voiced their apprehension over the PMO’s intention behind the proposed plan. Until the 1970s, the central government allocated cadres to the candidates who had cleared the examinations for Indian Adminsitrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Forest Service (IFoS) and other services and were recommended by Union Public Service Commission for appointment. A formula of 50:50 was in place for cadre allocation. This implied that 50 per cent of vacancies a state cadre of IAS, IPS and IFoS were filled by natives of the particular state, the remaining 50 per cent being offered to outsiders, that is, those who belonged to other states. This objective of this arrangement was to achieve and secure national integrity through the All India Services.
Three services comprise All India Services: Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forests Service (IFoS). Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the PMO’s note leaves out IFoS from this proposed change in the cadre allocation system.
The government thus intends not only to allocate a particular service but also a cadre to the qualified candidates. There can be little doubt this would afford the government ample room for manipulation and abuse. The IAS and IPS officers could then be transferred anywhere in the country irrespective of their cadre. Such an idea had fondly been toyed with in certain quarters in the past, but it had not come to fruition. If it is really implemented now, the members of All India Services would be under perennial threat of transfers from one end of the country to the other, regardless of their personal inconveniences. That would render them vulnerable and therefore more amenable and pliable to the whims and caprices of the authorities.
This initiative of the PMO might be the beginning of the thin end of the weapon making its way into the UPSC and the services and inflicting irreparable damage. People in India are immoral and depraved and they can go to any extent for personal benefits, even if they comes at a cost to society and the nation. There is no power left to deter them. Institutional integrity has been trod on to serve the interests of a few. An epidemic of corruption has invaded the nation. And there is no antidote to it. The beneficiaries will keep it alive.
Turn to the east or west, south or north, State Public Service Commissions present a shameful, harrowing and abominable spectacle. Add to them the dreadful and hydraheaded scandals thrown up by VYAPAM (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, which holds examinations for recruitment in government jobs and admission to educational institutes of the state of Madhya Pradesh). Scandals do not bring down the powerful and the privileged. Only the weak succumb and surrender.
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