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Read between lines: Facts, facets and empanelment list of 1993 batch of IAS

By Rakesh Ranjan- 21 Feb 2024


NEW DELHI (21.02.2024): Immediately after the empanelment of 20 IAS officers of 1993 batch for holding Secretary or Secretary equivalent post in Government of India was notified, besides one stand-alone case of 1992 batch, who’s who in service across batches and cadres have different takes. Yet it remains to be explored what pattern emerges out of the long list of union secretaries in making. 
The list comprises of 21 names including Sanjay Seth, the only one from 1992 batch. Out of 21 officers, 17 were empanelled for holding Secretary/Secretary-equivalent posts while four made it to Secretary-equivalent level. Having empanelled for Additional Secretary, altogether 34 IAS officers (1993) had joined the league with Veena Kumari Meena (IAS: 1993: UP) hitting the list in the sixth round of notification dated 16.06.2023 and out of 34 only 20 made it to the list. 
A section of senior bureaucrats believes that the final cut off (17 + 4) is fair enough even from previous benchmarks especially when few left outs stand fair chance in the review ahead.
It may be underlined that of 20 officers 15 are currently serving in Govt of India. Interestingly, all three officers empanelled for Secretary equivalent post are serving at the Centre whereas all five officers serving in home Cadre are empanelled as Secretary-level post.

The empanelment list invited volumes of views from batches close to 1993, on the names missing in the list. The names missing from the list surprised most include Prashant Kumar Singh (IAS: 1993: MT), Vivek Kumar Dewangen (IAS: 1993: MT), Anil Kumar Singhal (IAS: 1993: AP), Ravi Kota (IAS: 1993: AM) and Alok Kumar Ii (IAS: 1993: UP) of which first two are posted at Centre. Remarkably, Rakesh Kumar Verma (IAS: 1993: PB) having the longest residual service missed the bus. He has his term till April 3031; the youngest and the last one to retire in the batch.

There is nothing that makes it mandatory for the establishment to ensure state-wise representation in empanelment but none in the list from the biggest cadre i.e. Uttar Pradesh astonishes one and all. It may be underlined that Gujarat cadre did not receive allocation of IAS officers in 1993 thus none from Gujarat was expected as well but U. P. drew immediate attention. 

Sanjay Seth (MH) being the only one from 1992 batch triggers a buzz whether the review of 1992 batch still stands a chance or a closed chapter now. Indianmandarins has reliably learnt that there are at least five to six names from the batch who may expect empanelment or upgradation in the next review.

There was a time when three years tenure as Union Secretary was considered fair enough for consistency in the administration and governance. But the NaMo administration was said to have been giving weightage to longer service term for empanelment. The analysis of the data apparently endorses this belief. 
Interesting to note that out of 20 officers in the list seven have service terms service till 2030. Himachal Cadre officer K. K. Pant (HP), currently Chairperson of NPPA, has the longest term in service i.e. till December 2030. AAI Chairman Sanjeev Kumar (MH) has terms in service till October 2030 followed by Neerja Shekhar (I&B Ministry) and Punya Salila Srivastava (PMO) till September 2030. Deepti Umashankar (EO in DOPT) has terms in service till July 2030. Of a total 20 officers at least two would hang their boots in 2026. The data analysis suggests that the average service terms of all officers put is approximately five years and three months while excluding three early retirements the average residual service comes to over six years thus endorsing the prevalent theory that under NaMo administration longer terms in service is one of the key considerations for empanelment, at least at the level of Secretary.

There has never been a rule or a convention but for all practical reasons officers at Centre at Additional Secretary level post has an edge especially when it comes to Secretary-level empanelment. Of the total of 20 officers in the list fifteen are currently serving at Centre thus increasing the chance of posting a little earlier as compared to their five of the peers serving in respective cadre states.
(By Rakesh Ranjan)


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