Which states and departments transfer their IAS officers the most and which ones the least?

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


Imagine changing your job every year. That’s what the average IAS officer in Haryana, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh does. Haryana is the worst. An IAS officer belonging to that cadre and having 10 years of service, on average, spent just 343 days in a posting. Their peers at the Centre are better, but still far short of the average standards of job tenures, especially in the context of good governance and continuity: they spend, on average, 22 months in a posting.

The data interactive below has compiled the transfer records of 39,000-odd postings of about 2,600 serving officers, as posted by the Department of Personnel & Training. You can use it to see where the Centre and individual states, whose IAS officers are organised under 26 cadres, stand when it comes to transfers. Besides cadre, you can also search by departments, gender and individual officers.

The transfer malaise is all-pervasive. For example, it illustrates, how 10% of postings in 20 key departments in the state cadres (excluding Centre), last anywhere between 33 days and 71 days. Or, how 22% of IAS officers average less than a year in a posting. Or, how Ashok Khemka, who has been transferred by governments in Haryana 46 times in his 25-year career, is only one of the 11 officers to record 40-plus postings.


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IAS officers: Why Ashok Khemka isn’t the exception

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


Outrage over the 34th transfer of Haryana Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Ashok Khemka in the man’s 22 years of service is playing itself out across TV channels, websites, and newspapers, but the fact is that his average tenure, at around 234 days, is not very different from that of his peers—unless things have changed in the past decade.

According to data from the 10th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission titled Refurbishing of Personnel Administration—Scaling New Heights, in 2006, 55% of IAS officers had average tenures of less than a year, with only 8% having tenures above three years. That proportion was actually an improvement over 1991 and 1978, when 58% of IAS officers had average tenures of less than a year.




Sure, the averages may be skewed a bit by junior officers being transferred as they move through the ranks —much like a management trainee at a consumer products company becomes a sales manager at the end of a certain period—but the statistic is still a telling comment on the vulnerability of India’s bureaucracy to the whims of politicians.

This week, Khemka, a 1991 batch IAS officer, was transferred to his 47th post—this time in the Haryana archaeology and museum department. He has held more than one position simultaneously 10 times, which explains why he has held 46 positions despite being transferred only 34 times. Khemka’s moves are consistent across six governments and four parties in Haryana.





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