Since the Narendra Modi-led BJP government took office in May 2014, at least 56 IAS officers have let go of their central postings to join their respective state cadres.
Interestingly, most of these officers are senior, in the rank of joint secretary or even above. This movement back to the state in such numbers is usually rare.
According to the department of personnel and training (DoPT) website, only 3 officers left central postings prematurely in 2013 and just one between August and December 2012. This figure rose to 13 between January and May 2014, in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha polls, which brought in the BJP government to power.
“It may have been to take up assignments at senior levels, including as chief secretary, in the state,” a top DoPT official argued.
An examination, however, showed that only seven of these 56 officers went back to take the post of chief secretary in their respective states.
Interestingly, a source in the defence ministry said four of the joint-secretary level officers had left because it had become difficult for them to put in the ‘hard work’ required under the present regime.
After reaching a certain level of seniority, IAS officers usually choose to stay in the capital.