The government finalized a new cadre allocation policy for civil servants which will be effective from the CSE 2017. The order was issued in September this year and is aimed at building ‘national integration’ in the country’s bureaucracy. Instead of giving cadre preferences, officers will have to give their zonal preferences. If you are wondering “How cadres are allocated to IAS officers”, read on.
In the previous cadre allocation policy, officers would give their preference according to states. Each state was a cadre except three joint cadres. In the new policy, the country is divided into different zones each zone encompassing different cadres. There are five zones namely, Zone I (AGMUT, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan); Zone II (UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha); Zone III (Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP and Chhattisgarh); Zone IV (Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland); and Zone V (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana). In all, there are 26 cadres in the country.
Officers will have to give their first preference as one cadre from one zone. Their second preference should be one cadre from another zone. Their third preference would be a cadre from yet another zone and so on. After one preference has been given from each zone, in the second round, the officer can give his second preference from the first preferred zone and continue in this manner. This way they would give zone preference over cadre preference. This move is intended to increase officers going out of their home turfs or close regions and promote more integration. In the previous system, for instance, an officer from the southern part of the country would give his preferences in such a manner that he would get either his home state or neighbouring states, ensuring that he would stay in the south itself, apart from during his central deputation. But in the new policy, an officer from say, Kerala, would most probably give Kerala as his first preference. But his second preference would have to be from a different zone and not Zone V, keeping out the southern states. Similarly, an officer from Bihar will get the chance to work in southern or north-eastern states.
The new policy is in line with the rationale behind the all-India services which is to give maximum exposure to the officers to varied experiences.