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Short on IAS officers, UP wants DMs from state

Facing an acute shortage of officers of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) cadre, the Uttar Pradesh government has sought permission from the union government to appoint state cadre civil servants, called PCS officers, as district magistrates. The state chief secretary Jawed Usmani has written a letter to the Department of Personnel and Training of the union government in this regard, describing the problems arising from shortage of officers of the IAS.

The shortage of IAS officers is not a problem that has cropped up overnight. In fact, it has been growing gradually for the last few years and the main reason for this is the delay in promotion of PCS officers to the IAS cadre. By a conservative estimate, Uttar Pradesh should have around 500 IAS officers, but at present it is short by about 125 of them.

'Under these circumstances, the state government is left with no choice but to request the centre to grant it permission to appoint PCS officers as district magistrates,' official sources said.

The PCS officers for long have been demanding postings as district magistrates but this has always been opposed by the powerful IAS lobby. With the creation of several new districts over the years and the shortage of IAS officers, the prospects of PCS officers occupying the post of district magistrate have brightened.

It may be mentioned here that a request of the state government seeking permission to promote PCS officers to the IAS cadre is pending with the union government for the last one year. Because of some technical reasons earlier this permission was denied. But, now the union government has showed willingness to allow the promotion of state cadre officials.

With the possibility of a favourable response from the union government, the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary wrote the letter reiterating its old demand. 'We hope to get a positive response very soon,' official sources said.

This development has also brought smiles on the faces of PCS officials. 'This is a very favourable development. If the union government allows the change in policy, the PCS ofifcials would then be able to hold DM's post,' S P Singh, secretary of the UPPCS Association said.
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