Empanelment rule dropped for central deputation of DIG-level IPS officers

CLOSE ON the heels of the Centre sending a proposal to states to amend All India Service Rules that would allow it to call any IAS, IPS or IFoS officer on central deputation with or without the state’s consent, the government has issued another order on DIG-level IPS officers that may not be palatable to the states.

In an order issued on February 10, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said that those IPS officers coming to the Centre at DIG-level would no longer be required to be empanelled at that level with the Union government. The move is aimed at increasing the pool of DIG-level IPS officers for central deputation in the backdrop of massive vacancies in central police organisations (CPOs) and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of Ministry of Home Affairs for dispensing with the empanelment at the level of DIG with immediate effect and carrying out the corresponding stipulated amendments, in the existing IPS Tenure Policy,” the order said.


High number of vacancies

ALMOST 50% of all posts reserved for IPS officers at DIG-level at the Centre are vacant, according to data sourced from various CPOs and CAPFs. Against 252 sanctioned posts of DIGs for IPS, there are 118 vacancies. IPS officers have a quota of 40% in CPOs and CAPFs while rest of the positions are filled by force cadre officers.

According to previous rules, a DIG-ranked IPS officer with minimum experience of 14 years could be deputed to the Centre only if the Union Home Secretary-led Police Establishment Board empanelled them as DIGs at the Centre. The board chooses the panel on the basis of officers’ career and vigilance records.

Only Superintendent of Police-level officers do not require empanelment at the Centre.

The new order changes that and makes the entire pool of DIG-level officers in a state eligible for central deputation. “Normally, not more than 30-40% officers from a batch get empanelled at the Centre. In case of DIGs, it recently crossed 50%. The new order, however, makes everyone eligible,” a senior government official said.

Sources said the officers would still have to be put on the offer list for central deputation and states would have to relieve them before they could join the Centre. However, if read with the proposal made by the Centre on deputation of IAS, IPS and IFoS officers recently, many states may see it as the Centre’s attempt at pushing the envelope further on increasing its own powers over officers serving in the states.

In December last year and January this year, the Centre sent a proposal to various states to amend All India Service Rules which would grant the Centre powers to demand a certain quota of officers from the state for central deputation within a stipulated time frame. The proposal gave the Centre powers to call any IAS officer on central deputation in “public interest” within a stipulated time frame and in case the state failed to relieve the officer, he/she would be deemed relieved following the date fixed.

Most states have opposed the move. Opposition-ruled states have called it an attack on the federal structure of the Constitution.

“Given that it [new order] comes close on the heels of the earlier proposal, some states may not like it although it is completely the Centre’s call whether to have empanelment requirement,” a senior IPS officer said.

Sources in Ministry of Home Affairs said the new order will not infringe on state rights and has been brought in to ease the selection process and have more DIG-level IPS officers at the Centre. “Because number of DIGs is high, the empanelment process had become cumbersome and it was taking up to one year to just complete the process. At a time when vacancies at DIG-level are high, it was thought necessary to speed up the process,” an official said.

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