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A Separate Goa Cadre For Better Governance

Goa is likely to have a separate cadre of All India Services soon. The state government is going to press for a separate cadre at the meeting of the Joint Cadre Authority (JCA) in New Delhi on November 6. The JCA is expected to discuss creation of separate cadres for Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The Goa government had sent a proposal to the Centre for creation of a separate cadre in 2014. Goa is among three full-fledged states that do not have their own separate cadres. It has been served by Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre since 1987. Formation of a Goa cadre would motivate senior officials who were reluctant to serve in AGMUT cadre as they would have to go out of the state on transfer. Two proposals for a separate cadre sent by the Goa government earlier did not find favour with the Centre. The state government hopes this time around it may succeed in getting a separate cadre.

One of the pleas behind the demand for a separate state cadre is that the AIS (all-India services) officers posted by the Centre to Goa under the AGMUT cadre lack ‘institutional memory’ to be able to concentrate on the proper development and administrative needs of the state. There have been cases in which AIS officers posted in Goa have used every possible loophole in the service code and rules to spend a good deal of their time with their families in Delhi on one pretext or another. There have been cases of AIS officials combining weekends and holidays with their ‘official work’ and even managing to get invitations for attending meetings in the national capital. The state government could not act against AIS officials as disciplinary powers were vested in the JCA. In bigger states, there is a state cadre of officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). The IAS and IPS officers remain in the state and know the affairs of administration and policing even when they get transferred every three years from one post to another or one district to another. In case of the administrative or police officer posted under the AGMUT cadre, he or she leaves for another state after three years. Their understanding of issues and matters can therefore only be incomplete and superficial.

The formation of a Goa cadre will mean that the officers have to serve in Goa from the beginning to the end of their career. Of course, the officers might have to go on central deputation. Even with a separate Goa cadre, the central government will continue to be the cadre controlling authority for the appointment and promotion of the three all-India services – the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service. Direct recruitment and deployment of AIS officials to the state cadre would be done by the cadre controlling authority. And, as is the practice, a third of the vacancies would be filled by promotion by the officials from the Goa Civil Service. With the nitty-gritty of the formation of a state cadre expected to be worked in the months ahead, the number of posts designated for AIS officials is going to rise. This could provide opportunities for senior Goa Civil Service officers in appointment in posts meant for AIS officials. These senior GCS officers, with their better familiarity with the affairs of the state, could provide stability to administration in a situation when totally new officers are recruited under a state cadre. As of now, the state has around 40 AIS officials serving in various posts.

As the officers of a Goa cadre would be permanently stationed in the state they would have enough time to learn local languages and adjust to local administrative practices and be directly responsible to the government of the day. The state government would have stricter control over their actions. Long tenure would provide them the experience and knowledge of local practices. They could bring their own knowledge and dynamism to their jobs to give Goa a better administration. A separate cadre would provide motivation to younger generations of Goans to compete for AIS examinations. No one from Goa has made it to the direct recruitment of AIS since 2002. The one who directly qualified in 2002 was Asutosh Apa Teli Pednekar for IAS. A separate state cadre, a larger number of young officers, a new spirit – all this is expected to transform the functioning of the state administration and police. We can hope to see a kind of governance that is not characterized by a laid-back attitude, sloth and indifference.

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