The Current System

7.1 Promotions

7.1.1 The formal channel of promotions for all the All India Services and other Group ‘A’ Services is their respective state/departmental cadre. In respect of the All India Services, guidelines for such promotions are issued by the respective administrative ministries of the Government of India, namely the DoPT for the IAS, the Home Ministry for the IPS and the Ministry of Environment & Forests for the IFoS. Though the guidelines are distinct , they are broadly similar in content. They cover issues such as minimum requirements for promotion, as well as the composition of the Screening Committee. The guidelines for promotion to the super-time and higher levels are as follows:

  1. For promotion to Super Time Scale, a member of the service should be working in the selection grade and should have completed 16 years of service. The Screening Committee should consist of the Chief Secretary as Chairman and two other officers working in the grade of Principal Secretary in the State Government concerned as Members.
  2. For promotion to the post of Principal Secretary to the State Government, the zone of consideration consists of officers in the super time scale who have completed 25 years of service. The Screening Committee will be chaired by the Chief Secretary and will have two other members, the senior most officer working in the grade of Chief Secretary, and the senior most officer working in the grade of Principal Secretary.
  3. For promotion to the grade of Chief Secretary, the Screening Committee shall consist of Chief Secretary, one officer working in this grade in the cadre, and another officer of the cadre serving in the Government of India in the same grade.

7.1.2 In respect of the All India Services, the requirement of consultation with the UPSC has been dispensed with, under the provisions of Union Public Service Commission (Consultation) Regulation, 1958. However, in case of other Group A Services (except for the Indian Foreign Service), the Departmental Promotion Committees are chaired by the UPSC.

7.2 Placements in the Central Government under the Central Staffing Scheme

7.2.1 Placements of officers of the All-India Services as well as other Group A services under the Central Staffing Scheme may be considered to involve two stages, i.e. Empanelment, and Selections for Particular Positions.


7.2.2 Empanelment is the process of drawing up a list of officers from the All-India Services and other Group 'A' Services, for possible selection to positions under the Central Staffing Scheme. This exercise is normally conducted annually, considering officers with the same year of allotment together. Empanelment relates strictly to suitability for holding posts under the Central Government. It is not (although sometimes misunderstood as such), a substantive promotion to a higher grade.

7.2.3 For posts of Joint Secretary and equivalent, an independent evaluation of the annual confidential reports is initially made by four Secretaries to the Government of India. The evaluation is then considered by a “Civil Services Board” (CSB), headed by the Cabinet Secretary, which makes recommendations to the ACC for the empanelment of suitable officers.

7.2.4 The cases of such officers who are not included in the panel in a particular year are reviewed after a period of two years, i.e. after two more ACRs on their performance have been added to their dossiers. Another such review may be conducted after a further period of two years. A special review may be made in the case of any officer whose ACR undergoes a material change as a result of his representation against adverse comments in his ACR being accepted by the cadre-controlling authority.

7.2.5 Inclusion in the panel at the level of Joint Secretary is through selection based on the criteria of merit and competence. For the posts of Additional Secretary/Secretary to GoI, empanelment is based on the recommendations of a four Member Committee consisting of Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Home Secretary, and Secretary, Department of Personnel. Inclusion in the panel is also through strict selection and evaluation of such qualities as merit, competence, leadership and a flair for participating in the policy-making process. However,, empanelment at any level does not confer a right to appointment under the Central Government.

Selection for Particular Positions under the Central Staffing Scheme:

7.2.6 The current system of placement in the Central Government at the level of Joint Secretary, involves several stages. In the first stage, each year the Establishment Officer invites nominations of officers from State Governments and other cadre controlling authorities. Once the nominations are received and scrutinized for eligibility to be considered for a placement under the Central Staffing Scheme (i.e. cooling off completed, officer empanelled, not otherwise debarred, etc.), an “offer list” for the year is prepared. Thereafter, the Establishment Officer prepares a short list in respect of each vacancy that arises during the year. Such short lists are usually prepared about 2/3 months in advance of the relevant vacancy arising. The short lists are prepared taking into account the grading in the ACRs, the past experience of the officer in the relevant area and his overall suitability for the post. Based on this, a short list of three officers is placed before the CSB. The CSB, in turn, recommends one or two officers, from out of the short list, in order of preference. Approval of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) is then sought to the recommendations of the CSB.

7.2.7 For Joint Secretary level positions the CSB comprises of the following:-

Cabinet Secretary Chairman
Secretary, Department of Personnel Member
One other Secretary to Govt of India Member
Establishment Officer Member - Secretary
Secretary of the Administrative Department Co-opted member

7.2.8 The practice in respect of Additional Secretary and Secretary level positions is similar, except that recommendations for appointment are made to the ACC by the Cabinet Secretary, rather than by a Committee.

7.2.9 Placements in the State Governments, at the levels equivalent to Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, and Secretary to the Government of India, are generally decided by the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister after consultation with the respective head of the relevant service (DGP for IPS/ Principal CCF for IFoS) and the concerned departmental Minister. There is no civil service board or other similar committee. In general the capabilities of officers are well known to the State authorities, and officers are placed on the basis of their known competencies.