The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the most prestigious and sought-after among the Civil Services of the country.
The post of an IAS Officer is highly-coveted, and candidates are recruited for the IAS through the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Also, IAS officers are assigned to different cadres at the beginning of their service.
Here's everything to know about the IAS cadre allocation system.
What exactly is the cadre allocation system?
A cadre is nothing but a state or group of states/Union Territories to which officers of the All-India Services, like the IAS and IPS, are allocated.
After being assigned to a certain cadre, IAS officers usually work in the same cadre throughout their service, unless they go for central government deputation. In some rare cases, they may also be allowed to change their cadre.
DoPT allocates cadres to candidates selected for All-India Services
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Government of India allocates cadres to candidates. Notably, the assignment of cadre depends on the candidate's rank, preference, and vacancies.
The All-India Services' cadre allocation policy was revised in 2017. At the time, the existing 26 cadres were divided into five zones. Under the new policy, candidates are required to choose cadres from these zones.
Different zones under the current cadre allocation policy
As mentioned before, there are five zones under the current cadre allocation policy for the All-India Services, namely Zone-I, Zone-II, Zone-III, Zone-IV, and Zone-V.
Zone-I comprises seven cadres: AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana.
Zone-II comprises four cadres -Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha- and Zone-III includes Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Zones #2: About Zone-IV and Zone-V under the new policy
Coming to Zone-IV of the new cadre allocation policy, this zone consists of six cadres, including West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, and Nagaland. On the other hand, five cadres constitute Zone-V, which includes Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.
Candidates can select one state/cadre from a zone as first-choice
Under the new policy, candidates have to indicate their first-choice by selecting a cadre/state from one zone.
Their second cadre/state choice should be from a different zone, third from another zone, and so on. After one preference from each zone is indicated, they should give their second cadre choice from each zone and continue in the same manner for indicating preferences in descending order.