Shortage of IAS, IPS officers hampering governance ahead of 2019 general election

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Shortage is a phenomenon we associate with a lot of things in India. But now Government is feeling the pinch of shortage of IAS and IPS officers.The matter was brought up earlier also by Union Minister of state Jitendra Singh in Lok Sabha in 2017. This dearth of officers is affecting the government more so due to upcoming elections in 2019. Timely Completion of Development projects ahead of elections seems difficult in absence of ample civil servants.

According to the data provided by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), posts of 1,449 IAS officers and 970 IPS officers are lying vacant. Not just that, there are other vacancies in Central government ministries and departments which are lacking in strength.

The total posts vacant in Central government are 15,284 in Grade A and 26,310 in Grade B (Gazetted).The sanctioned posts at Group A level in Central government departments are 117,285, while the number of employees is 101,901. Similarly, in Group B (Gazetted), the sanctioned posts are 136,079, while posts occupied are 109,769.

While all State cadres are facing a shortage of IAS and IPS officers but Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Karnataka are the worst hit. The authorized strength of IAS officers in UP is 621 out of which only 511 are occupied. similarly Bihar and Jharkhand faces a shortage of 107 and 75 IAS officers respectively.

The situation down South is no different, the authorized strength of IAS officers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is 376 and 314 respectively, but the number of positions occupied is 313 and 220.

Looking at the recruitment pattern of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the gap does not seem to be filing any time soon.

Last year, the UPSC had announced recruitment of 980 officers. This was considered the lowest in the last five years. However,

this year it went down even further. In its February 2018 notification agency had announced hiring of 782 IAS, IFS and IPS officers in all. This continuous decline in recruitment is only adding up to more and more vacant positions.

Taking note of the shortage, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, and Law and Justice in last year’s report noted that almost all key positions under the Union government as well as states are being manned by the IAS. Persistent shortage of IAS officers ultimately affects governance due to lack of decision makers.

“The committee expresses serious concern over the persistent shortage of IAS officers and strongly recommends that all efforts be made to fill these vacancies,” it said.

Taking in account, the massive staff crunch, a DoPT official said sanctioned posts must be filled as per the Recruitment Rules as and when vacancies arise. “The filling up of posts is a continuous process depending on vacancies arising across Ministries/Departments during the years and action calendars of the recruiting agencies. In this regard all Ministries have been requested to take advance action for reporting a vacancy with respect to Direct Recruitment Posts recruiting agencies such as UPSC and Staff Selection Commission,” said the official.