#Reforms: AIS Officers to Get 2 Years Fixed Tenure

Good news for IAS, IPS and IFS (Indian Forest Service) Aspirants. These three All India Services (AIS) officers will get fixed tenure of minimum 2 years. No, the Civil Services Bill is yet to be passed by the Parliament, but this step is in compliance to Supreme Court verdict of October 2013 where it directed the centre to insulate civil servants from political pressure by giving them a fixed tenure.

Accordingly, every state will now need to set up a Civil Services Board headed by the state Chief Secretary (the senior-most IAS officer in every state) and other senior officers as members who will make recommendations of appointments for these three services in the state to the competent authority.

Is the Recommendation of the Board Binding?

No it is not. But in every case where the recommendation for appointment of the Board is not accepted by the competent authority, the reason for not accepting the recommendation will have to be given and recorded. Also, in cases where transfers are to be made before the minimum tenure of 2 years, the reasons for such recommendation will have to be recorded.

However, once a precedent is set, the recommendations of the Board should more often than not be accepted by the competent authority and only in rare cases should we see transfers in less than 2 years.

Good News for Upright Officers and Aspirants

This is a welcome instance of judicial activism or intervention when the executive and legislature failed to protect honest and upright civil servants, the Supreme Court has stepped in to insulate them from witch hunting and political nepotism so rampant in the Indian administrative set up.

Officers like Ashok Khemka and Durga Shakti Nagpal can draw some hope from this development and should not be shunted from one department to next in 2-3 months time because of their refusal to submit to the whims and fancies of their political masters.

IAS, IPS and IFS aspirants will also welcome this development since security of tenure was a big concern amongst them about joining these esteemed services.

What About Other Civil Services?

Officers belonging to the Central Civil Services like IFS (Indian Foreign Service), IRS (Indian revenue Service) etc. already have minimum fixed tenure of 2 years since they come directly under the central government and their posting and transfer is regulated by the centre even when posted in a state. However, posting and transfers of AIS officers are decided by the state governments since these officers work under the state which is their primary cadre.

The Civil Services Board should bring a degree of transparency, stability and fairplay in appointments and transfers of AIS officers who were till now subject to the mercy of their political masters. However, this is a small step towards comprehensive reforms required in Indian Administrative machinery as outlined in the Civil Services Bill.

This should definitely increase the value of civil services to aspirants planning to take it up as a career.

What are your thoughts on this development as a budding civil servant?

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