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Apprehensions among officers as govt announces to merge J&K and AGMUT cadre

Last Updated on January 29, 2021 at 9:24 am

The Central government circulated an ordinance on 7 January merging the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of the All India Service officers with the AGMUT cadre. AGMUT is an abbreviation for Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories.

The All India Services is formed by the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service. While most of these officers are appointed through examinations held by the Union Public Service Commission, the selected officers can choose the state cadres they belong to if they want.

Like any other state, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had its own cadre. Since the former state used to enjoy special status, only half of its All India Service officers were directly chosen by the UPSC exams. The other half formed of Kashmir Administrative Service officers promoted to the All India Services. In other states, two-third of the total officers are directly recruited while only 33% officers are selected from the state services.

In 2020, when Jammu and Kashmir lost its special status then it became subject to the 67:33 rule. Now, the Jammu and Kashmir cadre is being merged into the AGMUT cadre, which includes officers from three states and eight Union Territories. The officers from the AGMUT cadre can be posted in J&K.

Mohammad Shafi Pandit, who was appointed as the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and later retired in 2009, said that most governments have an understanding that local officers should be appointed at the higher levels of governance. He said that especially when it comes to a sensitive place like Jammu and Kashmir, which has problems from such a long time, it is always wise to have somebody who can understand the problems of local people and can comfort them.

A negative effect of this merger of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre with the AGMUT cadre is that people from J&K who have cleared the All India Services Exams have now fewer chances of getting appointed and serving within their home region. A retired bureaucrat said that even if Kashmir Administrative Service officers get promoted to the IAS, it will imply that their job posting could be into any part of the nation and they will have lesser chances of serving into their home region.