Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer couples wanting inter-cadre transfer to the same state or closer on grounds of marriage will have to wait.
Facing a huge crunch of IAS officers, the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions has put all requests of inter-cadre transfers, including those by married couples, on hold till further orders.
The ministry usually processes dozens of cases every year of inter-cadre transfer for officers who get married to their colleagues. Besides health grounds and danger to life, marriage is one of the few concessions allowed to an IAS officer to change his or her cadre.
“Cadre changes and transfers will now be allowed only once the Appoints Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) puts in fresh policy measures to overcome the shortage and fills in the huge gaps in certain areas,” sources said.
According to IAS fact sheet, the country is facing a shortfall of 1,777 IAS officers against the sanctioned need for 6,154 officers. While no state boasts of full strength, the shortage is as abysmal as 50 % in Jharkhand and more than 25 % in northeast states.
The decision, decried by many officers as harsh, was taken by the ministry which is headed by the prime minister as it wants to do justice to certain states where administrative set is collapsing because of huge shortage of IAS officers and where the problem has become even more acute as IAS couples have sought transfers to more developed states, sources said.
To help fill vacancies in states facing a huge shortage, the ministry had issued an order in August that said that couples seeking transfer will be allocated to a cadre having a ‘deficit’ and would have to choose from three deficit cadres.
The ‘deficit cadre’ clause would become applicable when the request from the couple seeking inter-cadre transfer is not accepted by either of the two cadres allocated to them.
Sources said all inter-cadre changes will remain on hold till the PM-headed ACC decides what will define the ‘maximum deficit’ in a cadre.
“The choice of transfer and posting limited to deficit cadre may go on till next 10 years or so until the shortfall of IAS officers gets bridged for which the direct recruitment is being brought to 180 officers per year, the maximum figure arrived by the BS Baswan committee,” sources said.