New Delhi (19.10.2021): Analysis of the data shows that the service span for the empanelment of IAS officers' for holding secretary/secretary-equivalent posts has steadily declined since 2014 to 32 years from the average of 33-34 years earlier.
The significance of this analysis lies in the fact that the service span of IAS officers' empanelment for various posts acts as a benchmark for empanelment of other All India Service (AIS) and Central Services officers. This means that other AIS services have also benefited from the fast-tracked empanelment.
When the NDA administration began its second inning in 2014, it promised to rationalize the empanelment process in such a way that the empanelment time span gap among different AIS services would be significantly reduced.
Available data suggest that this has indeed taken place at the senior ranks of all AIS officers. The empanelment time span for holding Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, and Secretary has declined between 2014-2021.
Since the IAS empanelment is the benchmark, it is worthwhile to look at the time span of secretary empanelment.
In September 2021, a number of officers from the 1989-batch IAS were elevated as secretaries. Their empanelment had taken place in February 2019 - which works out to 32 years of service.
It needs to be pointed out here that the 1984-batch and senior batches were considered for empanelment as secretaries in 2016 - after 33 years of service.
The notification years for empanelment in the last few years show that 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989 batches got empanelled as secretaries within 32 years of service.
Similarly, the notifications for empanelment as Joint Secretary or JS equivalent posts for the 2005 batch of IAS has a clear edge over previous batches. For instance, a 1996-batch IAS officer had to have 18 years of service to qualify as Joint Secretary at Centre that when the empanelment for the same was done in August 2014. Each successive batch (2000 to 2004) got its due after 17 years whereas 2005 got its due after 16 years of service which is considered a reasonable tenure for JS empanelment.
Similarly, the empanelment process for additional secretary too is fast-tracked. The latest batches of IAS officers are getting empanelled as additional secretaries after 26 years of service whereas it used to take 30 or 31 years of service tenure earlier.
For the batches senior/prior to 1994, it took 27, 28, 29 years of service for empanelment for holding additional secretary-level posts whereas 1986 and 1987 batches got empanelled after 30 years of service.
The reduction in the tenure of service for empanelment at each level beginning JS level means that the government would have not only a larger pool of officers available to choose from but will also have the benefit of ensuring longer service tenure of officers to serve as union secretaries.
Fortunately for all AIS officers, the fast process of empanelment of IAS officers has accelerated the same procedure for other services which is reflected in the increased number of empanelment of other All India and Central Service Group A services.