THE Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is learnt to be going full steam ahead with its plan to transform the civil services. There was news last month, reportedly leaked to PTI, that a new policy for cadre allocation has been finalised by the Central government for IAS, IPS and other officers, aimed at ensuring “national integration” in the country’s top civil services. The story elaborated that the services are being distributed among five zones. Officers of all-India services—the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS)—will have to choose cadres from a set of five zones instead of 26 states. The officers of the three services are currently allocated a cadre state or a set of states to work in. “This policy will ensure national integration of the bureaucracy as officers will get a chance to work in a state which is not their place of domicile,” the official said. He said the new policy would help in upholding the rationale behind the all-India services. “All-India service officers are supposed to have varied experiences which can be earned when they work in a different state, which is new to them. The officers may not be able to experiment new things if they work in their own domicile state,” the leaked policy stated. Under the new policy, candidates appearing for the civil services examination will have to first give their choices in a descending order of preference from among the various zones. Thereafter the candidates will indicate cadres in order of preference from each zone. “If a candidate does not give any preference for any of the zones/cadres, it will be presumed that he has no specific preference for those zones/cadres,” it said. Candidates will be allotted their home cadre on the basis of merit, preference and vacancy in the category, according to the yet-to-be announced policy. Senior superannuated officials commented that nothing is official and new in the policy: It’s like a slogan in the name of reform.