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Officer shortage in J&K compels Centre’s hand


New Delhi: The Centre is working on various inter-ministerial proposals to resolve civilian manpower shortage in Jammu and Kashmir, including getting back officers deputed to the Centre and implementing the 67:33 formula to bring in more all-India service officials to the UT. “Shortage of officers apart, it is strongly felt that we need more experienced hands and senior officials at the helm to lead key governmental initiatives. Many on deputation come with better skill sets and also larger all-India vision which will be useful in the new UT.

Hence, the UT administration has made the request and the Centre is considering it positively,” an official from the J&K administration said on condition of anonymity. A key formula under consideration is one proposed by the J&K administration: Ask officers on deputation to the Centre to return to the home cadre to pitch in and lead important positions now vacant.

Officers on deputation at the Centre who have completed a tenure are encouraged to return to cadre instead of seeking an extension which requires the state’s no objection certificate. The other formula will be to implement the 67:33 system which is in place in most other states: Have 67% of IAS and IPS officers and fill up 33% with state service officers promoted as IAS/IPS officers. J&K had a 50:50 local service quota with all-India service officers till now. The home ministry and the department of personnel and training are learnt to be discussing these and several other options. A move was also made with an MHA office memorandum of October 26 that asked all cadre controlling authorities to allow all willing central civil services officers to serve in J&K and Ladakh.

The shortage of senior officials in J&K is twofold: Since 2006, no local IPS officer has been inducted while many direct recruits in IAS, IPS and IFS left the job after they were assigned the J&K cadre, leading to a severe manpower crisis. The other is of high central deputation. J&K has stipulated cadre strength of 137 IAS officers but only 58 are serving as on date, sources said.

Further, nine of these 58 IAS officers from J&K cadre are currently on central deputation. Similarly, while the cadre strength for IPS officers is 147, only 66 are currently serving. 16 IPS officers from J&K cadre are said to be on central deputation. The Indian Forest Service and other central services also have a similar story. Hence, the actual strength of serving officers is far less. Further, according to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, while the existing IAS, IPS and IFS officers of the J&K cadre would continue in the same cadre, fresh UPSC recruits would be assigned the Assam-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territory cadre. This, officials said, may lead to further decrease in the number of candidates opting for the hill state.

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