THE department of personnel and training (DoPT) of the Union government has increased the number of posts of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials for Goa from 10 to 13. The decision to increase the number of promotees to the IAS cadre was taken during a review of the strength of IAS officials in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. The total strength of AGMUT IAS cadre has been increased from 102 to 122. The decision to increase the number of officials promoted to IAS will help more Goan officials to serve in various capacities not only in their state but also in other states. The last promotion of state officials to IAS had taken place in 2015, when three officials of the Goa Civil Service selected by the Goa Public Service Commission were inducted into the AGMUT cadre for the first time. Prior to that the officials selected by the Union Public Service Commission and drafted into the Goa Civil Service were promoted into the IAS. However, since 2015 no official was promoted to IAS, though three vacancies arose in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
With the induction of more officers from the state, Goa would be able to use their services in various capacities after completion of mandatory tenure of service outside the state as part of AIS rules. These officials with deeper knowledge of the state, being its natives, would be expected to make sound and prudent judgements in formulating of government policies and implementation of decisions. IAS officials from outside are not as deeply familiar with the social, cultural and ethical values of Goa and Goans as the local officials are. IAS officers from outside also encountered a language barrier with lack of knowledge of Konkani. There have been cases of IAS officials who would invent or grab opportunities to be in Delhi, combining with weekends or holidays if possible. It would be wrong to paint all IAS officers with the same brush as there have been others who have carried out their administrative responsibilities with skill and integrity. The general expertise of such IAS officers can work for the good of Goa in combination with the general expertise of the Goan officers who would also have familiarity with the local socio-cultural landscape.
The decision to increase the quota of IAS officials is an indication that the long-awaited Goa cadre of All India Service is unlikely to happen any time soon. In 2014, the state government had made a move to form a separate cadre for Goa. The state had put up its case strongly before the Joint Cadre Authority (JCA) in New Delhi. However Goa cadre could not materialise as the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary failed to do all that was needed to convince the JCA. In the subsequent meetings for creation of Goa cadre Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma was replaced by P Krishnamurthy but the state still failed to satisfy the central officials. Not only did Goa fail to get a state cadre but two officials who were to be inducted into IAS following the vacancies that arose due to retirement of officials drafted into IAS from the state had to wait for three years to get into the service. The undue delay led to a seniormost official of GCS to opt out of service. It was only after the official opted out that the files pertaining to induction of state officials into IAS were moved and the officials are waiting clearance from the vigilance department for further action.
Though the state may not have been able to convince the central officials to have a Goa cadre of AIS it should not give up its claim and make renewed efforts. Goa’s right to have its separate cadre is enshrined in the Goa, Daman and Diu Reorganization Act, 1987, an act of Parliament under which Goa got statehood. Section 59 of the Act states that the “strength and composition of the state cadre for Goa shall, on and from the appointed day, be such as is determined by the central government in consultation with the state government.” Having its own cadre with officials under the control of state authority will help the state to act against officials who fail to do justice to their posts, unlike at the present where the cadre controlling authority is ministry of home affairs. Besides, AIS officials under Goa cadre would be posted in the state and would be able to deliver better results as they would be a part of state administration till they retire. The state government should meanwhile ensure that the created vacancies are filled at the earliest and Goa Civil Service officials are drafted into AIS.