The first IAS officer I saw up close was when I looked myself up in the mirror, after selection. West Bengal is certainly not the place to be if one wants to join the IAS, or I would have seen more and have been inspired earlier. Since the IAS contains the I (which stands for Indian), I always presumed I would get to see the world, and be posted in one state in January and be going to another in two years. Alas, they have something called a cadre system. In simple words, a cadre is essentially a state – if you get one cadre, you are confined in your postings within that state. Thus, a Himachal Pradesh cadre officer would spend most of working life in Himachal Pradesh – and within it, mostly in Shimla, the capital. This embargo ensures that officers from other states are always pining to a posting closer home, or at a more convenient location. Deputation is a major mechanism of going out of your cadre, although for a small duration.
I am a Himachal Pradesh cadre officer. After almost ten years, I have recently joined the West Bengal cadre on inter-cadre deputation.
The following is the succinct guide to the inter-cadre deputation:
- Talk to concerned people in your own cadre to know whether they are willing to let you go. This may include the Principal Secretary to CM, Chief Secretary, Personnel Secretary, the CM himself or herself, or any other person who may control postings, etc. Proceed to the next step only after you get a goahead from the concerned people.
- Talk to the concerned people in the cadre in which you want to join. Again, this may include the Principal Secretary to CM, Chief Secretary, Personnel Secretary, the CM himself or herself, or any other person who may control postings, etc. Bother yourself with proceeding further once you get a goahead here.
- Apply to your own cadre in writing that you want to proceed on inter-cadre deputation. You have to state a grave reason for it to make any progress at the level of DoPT later on. I stated that my parents are very ill, which is the case. In case your parents are healthy, you have to give some equally grave reason. I doubt whether the DoPT guys would be charmed to get your application stating that you want to join your kids or wife who are in the other cadre. Some people send an advance copy of the letter to the receiving cadre. I am not sure the receiving cadre would process this advance copy unless they receive it from DoPT – so, sending an advance copy may or may not be useful. There is no harm, though.
- The DoPT would then forward your application to the concerned cadre. I am not sure, but the file may go upto the level of the Secretary. DoPT may take upto a month for this.
- You application sent by DoPT is now processed by the receiving state. This may go upto the level of the CM or the CS. The receiving state will now write to DoPT that they would welcome you should you be sent to them. This process may take upto 2 months.
- Once the acceptance by the receiving state is received by the DoPT, it goes in a small black hole, and then it put up to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) in the PMO. The ACC, I am told, does not sit in a meeting, but processes these files at the respective tables. Cases are not sent to the ACC unless sufficient number of cases gather. The ACC approval is the final stamp of approval. Thereafter things can be delayed, but the process is through. ACC will send the file back to DoPT. This whole process can take upto three months. Some people advise that it is not sensible to push your case in the PMO – the folks there may just do the opposite! So, you are sufficiently warned!
- DoPT will send a letter to your cadre telling that ACC has given approval for the deputation, and that they may leave you. This may take upto two weeks.
- The Personnel Dept. of your state will now release you.
- You join your new cadre, typically in the Personnel Dept. of the receiving state. You get your posting thereafter.
For me, the whole process took about six months, with gentle follow ups. It can be shorter or longer – quoting precedents to DoPT doesn’t help.
Do note that inter-cadre deputation is given for a period of three years only. You may receive two more years of extension, one year at a time.
A deputation is a major operation in your career. It becomes important for your professional and personal life. I am of the opinion that every officer who is not in his home cadre should opt for one.
Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavour!
Update: How to get extension?
So you are about to exhaust your quota of three years? What to do now?
Well, you can get an extension of upto two years, one year at a time. And you would have to apply through the usual process again – the route is just the opposite. Start six months before your deputation is about to expire so there is sufficient time:
- Apply to the receiving state.
- Receiving state recommends the extension to the DoPT.
- DoPT writes to the borrowing state (your parent cadre) for their comments and recommendations.
- Receiving state sends the recommendation to the DoPT.
- DoPT issues NOC to the receiving state for the extension.
- Receiving state issues matching notification for the extension.
Needless to add, you have to manage all the nodes on this journey. Talk to concerned people beforehand.
You can get more extension…however, I am not competent to tell you that 😉 As they say in DoPT – show me the man, and I will show you the Rules!