Decreasing Vacancies and the Shortage of IAS/IPS Officers in India

In the UPSC 2020 civil services official notification released by the UPSC, the number of vacancies for the civil services mentioned is 796. This number is 100 less than the vacancies for the previous year, 2019. In fact, if we analyse the numbers from 2014, it has shown a decreasing trend. Curiously, there is a shortage of IAS and IPS officers in the country as told by the Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh in the Lok Sabha. As per reports, India might not be able to bridge this deficit even by 2025. Then why is the UPSC not increasing the vacancies for the civil services? This article explores this irony of decreasing vacancies and the shortage of IAS/IPS officers in India.

First of all, we bring you a table showing the number of vacancies as released by the UPSC in the notification each year.

Year Number of Vacancies for Civil Services
2009 580
2010 965
2011 880
2012 1037
2013 1000
2014 1291
2015 1129
2016 1079
2017 980
2018 782
2019 896
2020 796

As seen from the above table, the number of vacancies has steadily decreased from 2014 onwards. But as per the government, there is a shortage of 1400 IAS and 900 IPS officers in India. Here is another interesting table:

Service Actual Number of Officers Authorised Strength Gap
IAS 4,926 6,396 1470
IPS 3,894 4,802 908
IFS 2,597 3,157 560

The problem with this gap in the number of officers in the bureaucracy is that the government machinery cannot run effectively. Shortage of qualified people will impact the administration of the country.

The Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) submitted a report according to which if the government wanted to seal this gap by 2020, it should recruit more than 180 IAS officers every year. Based on this recommendation, the government has decided to recruit 180 IAS and IPS officers every year.

But if there is a shortage of officers, why doesn’t the government appoint more than 180 officers and increase the vacancies for direct recruitment through the UPSC civil services exam? Such a move will definitely delight the lakhs of youngsters in the country who are hoping to become IAS officers in the future. But the government has given valid reasons why it cannot increase the vacancies.

Reasons for not increasing the number of vacancies filled via direct recruitment through the UPSC CSE:

  • The present capacity of the LBSNAA is only 180 officers in one batch.
  • Taking in more numbers can impact the quality of officers.
  • The government also does not want to affect the pyramidal structure of civil services.

But even if the number of vacancies is increased the competition is bound to be still as intense as it is today. Aspirants should not worry about the number of seats on offer but focus all their strength and intellect into clearing the civil services with flying colours.

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