Best cadres for IAS

Home cadre is the best cadre, but if we can’t , what to do¿?

Source: A hard copy of the document made by IAS probationers of 2007 batch after their district training in LBSNAA. All feedback were given by officer trainees.

I’m writing the salient features of all the cadres as mentioned in that document in an alphabetical order. I hope this will help you to choose your (best) cadre according to your personal definition and motivation level.

Note: This is going to be a little long answer but will surely give you an insight into the role of an IAS officer in different parts of India. It has taken me hours (divided in two days) to write this but if it proves to be even slightly helpful to you, my effort is successful. If you don’t have so much time, then just read about your state/cadre of interest and share it :P.

1. AGMUT

First Impressions and Working Environment

  • Arunachal Pradesh

->Rich Tribal diversity in a geographically remote state
->Low population density and low volume of work
->Relaxed and informal work environment
->Less emphasis on rules and procedures, but need to balance between customary law of tribal’s and common law
->Great respect for and expectation from the IAS
->Limited political interference and dignified conduct of political
representatives
->Sufficient autonomy to do meaningful work

  • Andaman & Nicobar

->It could come as a shock to some on account of its location
->Relaxed working environment

  • Chandigarh

->Chandigarh is a very well developed city with all amenities
->Work environment is good and conducive

  • Puducherry

->Nice place to be in

Training Structure and Focus Areas

  • Arunachal Pradesh

->Unstructured training pattern; DC determines the components of training
->Pay attention to the judicial attachment, since you will have JMFC powers

  • Andaman & Nicobar

->Attachments are flexible, so you can focus on areas that you like.
->You can get good exposure on disaster management

  • Chandigarh

->Adviser to the Administrator takes a keen interest in the probationers’ training
->Police attachment and Social Welfare Department attachment are two areas you should focus on

  • Puducherry

->Training is highly structured; an elaborate training schedule is prepared and adhered to
->Interaction to the maximum extent possible with field functionaries of various departments should be your priority

2. ANDHRA PRADESH

First Impressions and Working Environment
->General working environment is good in Andhra and Rayalseema regions. All records are properly maintained in the coastal districts
->It is not so good in Telengana region (Proper land records are not
recorded and jamabandis are not done in the last three years here)
->People are generally aware of their rights and laws

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training is structured and participatory
->The following attachments should not be missed: 1)PD DRDA 2) PD DWMA, 3)DPO 4) CEO 5)ZP 6)Municipal Commissioner 7) VRO, RI and MRO 8) DM&HO 9) Agriculture JD
->Rest of the attachments like DIC, Animal Husbandry, JD, DEO, DCO etc. can be done in one or two days

3. ASSAM-MEGHALAYA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->We went without any prejudices and enjoyed our training
->Working environment is good, though it is quite casual and people are generally friendly
->Bureaucracy is cohesive and socio-economic conditions are quite similar to those in states like UP and Bihar
->The pace of work is slow
->Files are invariably put up by assistants in Assamese

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->There is a well-structured training programme in the cadre, though it is ultimately the DC who decides the specific training inputs. Hence do whatever he/she wants you to do
->The schedule for attachments, though very tight, can prove to be a good guide about what to look out for in each attachment. If time is not a constraint, try and go through relevant files during each attachment.
->Normally, independent SDO(Civil) charge is not given; you can expect charge as Circle Officer
->Do not miss attachments with District Jail, SP and Police
->Since bifurcation of Assam and Meghalaya officers is done only at the end of district training, officers allotted to Meghalaya miss out on detailed exposure to the state, beyond the common one month Meghalaya attachments.

 

4. BIHAR

First Impressions and Working Environment
->First impression is that it’s not a good cadre-there is excessive political interference. People were also apprehensive about our safety. After spending one year in the district, one realises that the cadre is good and people have a lot of faith and respect for an IAS officer
->Working environment is good
->Officers have a substantial degree of autonomy
->Systems are well entrenched
->Unlike other capital cities, Patna qualifies as a good training district (thanks to the efforts of Dr. B. Rajendra, IAS, 1995 batch) as long as you are prepared to be proactive

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Attend all the meetings conducted by the DM atleast once
->Handle some of the files in the sections during attachments. Read the Citizen’s charter of each section
->Do your court work properly. Ensure that you handle atleast one
encroachment and one certificate case
->Independent charge as BDO is the highlight. Make the most of it
->Read the basic State Acts and guidelines
->Go through the Dak in the office religiously
->The treasury training however, is excessively long and the duration can be easily reduced

5. CHATTISGARH

First Impressions and Working Environment
->There were loads of apprehensions to start with- Naxalism,
backwardness, poverty, etc. Most of them proved to be unfounded at the end of the year. Naxalism is an issue, but one gets used to it
->There is immense to scope to do welfare work for the tribals
->The hierarchy is strict and formal.
->Since there is a paucity of officers, be prepared to hold substantial independent charges (including that of SDM) during probation itself
->It is as good or as bad as any mainland north Indian cadre. The legacy of Madhya Pradesh continues
->Getting trained in the capital (Raipur) is problematic as nobody has time

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training is not well structured; the ATI doesn’t have much of a role
->Do not miss out on revenue training, independent charges as prescribed, meetings called by the Collector (especially Time Limit meetings)
->It would be advisable to complete all attachments to get a holistic view of the administrative setup
->Be prepared for independent charges during the second half of your training

6. GUJARAT

First Impressions and Working Environment
->‘Simplicity’ of the people is the first thing that strikes you-the people are welcoming and friendly
->Systematic and well-set administrative structure
->Officer-oriented functioning with a large multi-tasking burden formally placed on all Class-I officers
->The hierarchy is not very strict and rigid. From the seniormost to the junior most levels, there is a lot of interaction and seniors are very accessible and open to problems and concerns of the juniors. It is in essence a very informal cadre
->Corporate style of functioning with parts of the office starting by 9 and going on till night time
->A large number of development theme based functions and festivals are run by government in the form of mahotsavs and yatras.
->Close links exist between administration and corporate world 
->Officers are highly respected by and also in turn give respect to MLAs, MPs and Ministers
->District Administration is an event management set up in nature which also ‘administers’.
->Accommodation at ATI is reasonably good with all creature comforts provided for by Government standards. However, the food is oily and the staff is scarce leading to unreturned calls for tea or other such essentials

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Language grasp and understanding revenue and law and order issues from SDM perspective is a must do.
->Understanding village forms is essential
->All independent charges must be exercised earnestly as they are great learning opportunities
->One should maintain a low profile and good relationships with all officers in district of All India and State Services as far as possible.
->One should never throw weight around unless actually pushed to the brink. In Gujarat, humility is highly respected and the culture is that of getting respect only if one gives it to any other person irrespective of any other criteria.
->All attachments are not useful unless the officer one is attached with is interested in training. So, after a few days, if it is obvious that the attachment is giving no results, one can try to involve oneself in something more productive with the permission of the collector.

7. HARYANA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->First impressions were good and only kept improving during training
->Positive work environment
->Officers from other states are respected and seen as more impartial
->Camp office culture is prevalent
->The cadre is really appreciative of good work.
->Being a small cadre, there is a close-knit relationship between seniors and juniors in the service.
->The working of the bureaucracy has a tendency to revolve around the Chief Minister
->Since routine work is not very pressing, newer initiatives that are off the beaten track can be taken up
->The cadre also encourages officers to go on training programs

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training at HIPA is not very productive.
->Inputs on local laws and the Haryana Darshan are very good; inputs on Haryana are inadequate
->Several independent charges are given. Do ask for a month of SDO (Civil) charge
->Focus on your revenue training
->Get week long attachments with other departments reduced to a day or two
->Try and work on some independent project

8. HIMACHAL PRADESH
(By Shainamol A)
First Impressions and Working Environment
->I was told by seniors that HP is a very peaceful state, an informal cadre with a good working environment and very little political interference. Everything except the last was proved to be correct. There is a lot of political interference, however criminalization of politics has yet not happened.
->There are lots of areas in which you can work without any interference from outside agencies. However, if you disturb anyone’s vested interest, you will start getting calls from above

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->The training program is very well-structured in Kangra, since it is a traditional training district

9. JAMMU & KASHMIR
(By Yasha Mudgal)
First Impressions and Working Environment
->Since J&K is perceived as a negative cadre I was a little apprehensive about it initially but at the same time, I was quite excited to go and see for myself as to what are the conditions prevalent in the cadre. It is a good cadre perceived negatively, and the perceived threat to life and security is exaggerated.
->Conditions are quite normal now in most of the areas. Like every other cadre it has its own positive and negative aspects. Well, does that sound rhetorical…? Ok. Let me put it this way : on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is the worst cadre and 10 being the best I would not rate J&K as 0 or 10 but somewhere close to 6.5 to 7.
->The district was also good but being a new district I got less exposure of certain things.

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Do all attachments. I learnt a lot on almost every attachment.
->The SICOP and SIDCO attachments are very long. Complete them quickly and take a trip home. It will be refreshing.
->While in your district, try to visit the office of the PWD and PHE Ex. En. Learn about their work. This will help when you take up your SDM charge.

10. JHARKHAND
(By Shuchi Tyagi)
First Impressions and Working Environment
->Naxal infested state but with immense potential
->Good working conditions
->Staff are generally obedient and co-operative

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->There is a systematic training structure followed in the state that covers all the important aspects
->The ATI training is divided into two phases; the first phase is for seven weeks and the second phase is for four weeks which is held later on during district training
->The revenue training component is very important; so pay more attention to it
->Jharkand Darshan is an enjoyable experience; make the most of it.

11. KARNATAKA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->It was a mix of eager anticipation and apprehensions. However, the experience was very positive
->The working environment and the cadre management systems are fairly good
->The ‘minutes system’ prevails in the district, which is given by people’s representatives recommending actions to a particular official within their area of jurisdiction. MLAs are very powerful
->There are different types of land records maintenance in Bombay, Karnataka, Hyderabad and Old Mysore areas
->Corruption and nepotism are rampant at the lower rungs

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->ATI training is well structured
->Good exposure to all departments
->Take the Tehsildar charge seriously and learn how Taluk offices function.
->Closely observe the working of the DC office

12. KERALA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Apprehensions about the cadre are misplaced
->Cadre-seniors are helpful and friendly
->IAS officers command a lot of respect
->Kerala Society places a high premium on education and knowledge and working with an educated, aware public is a good experience
->An egalitarian society that is as removed from a feudalistic and ‘mai-baap’ administrative culture as possible; quite similar to a western setting.
-Near informal behaviour of Chief Minister, Ministers and all senior
officers

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training structure is highly flexible, which at times is a dampener
->Training is structured around a series of Government Orders (GOs)
->Be fully involved in the Collectorate attachment
->Attend the meetings of other departments called by the Collector
->The ‘revenue’ part is a must do, the ‘panchayat’ part is a let-go.

13. MADHYA PRADESH

First Impressions and Working Environment
->A Hindi belt state with an eclectic cultural mix
->Neither too formal nor too informal
->Even insiders may have to do some coping up.
->Outsiders and insiders given an equal opportunity to prove their mettle
->Probationer is treated like the “Collector’s child.” Hence behave like one.

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Take your ATI training seriously. It will help you during your stint in the district
->Accept independent charge of SDM etc. only after completing your assignments
->Draw up a schedule for attachments to various departments in the district in consultation with the Collector
->Keep 2-3 days aside for revenue courts every week

14. MAHARASHTRA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->The positive first impressions have only been enhanced during the course of training
->One of the most professional cadres with a development oriented bureaucracy
->Formal working style
->Political interface is positive and cordial
->Good practices like maintaining monthly diaries and structured tour programmes exist
->People are helpful and listen to you patiently
->Knowledge of laws is a pre-requisite in this cadre
->There are regional variations: Marathwada presents certain challenges of an underdeveloped state; in Western Maharashtra work is well structured and there is an emphasis on timeliness; Vidarbha has a system of thorough file notings.

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->The five weeks of ATI training at Yashada are very systematic and
structured
->There is a lot of focus on procedural aspects of legal matters and land records

15. MANIPUR

First Impressions and Working Environment
->We were value neutral towards the cadre before we reached Imphal and then to the district Chandel. The initial three week training in the ATI (Imphal) was frustrating. We started becoming critical especially when, in spite of constant pursuance, we did not get basic facilities like accommodation. Once we reached to the district and met our DC and the SDO we started accepting that things were not in order and survival was the biggest instinct.
->After sometime, the level of expectations went down and we started enjoying small things like bonfire by the river side, fishing and visit to the villages. Actually, things started improving over time.
->By the end of District Training, after we were given independent charge, we started liking the place and the work in spite of knowing that the exposure we were getting was negligible.
->The working in the cadre is based completely on ‘jugad’ technology and there are no set patterns.
->Law and rule books are less useful in comparison to common sense. However, openness, honesty, high moral integrity and the approach of cultural relativism can be valuable assets for the IAS officers

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Chandel, the district where we were undergoing training is very small and infrastructure is very limited. There is no existing structure for probationers and that’s why we faced lots of problems. Situation is different in other districts like Ukhrul and Senapati where probationers go traditionally.
->There is no structured training. You will learn as much as your DC takes interest.
->Attachments with other departments are hardly of any use.
->For outsiders, adapting to the existing local constraints is the biggest thing.

16. NAGALAND

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Initial reservations will be short-lived
->Nagaland has an egalitarian society, hence respect all your subordinates
->The working style in the state is casual.

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->There is no organised training structure in the cadre.
->Ensure that you get a week long Secretariat Attachment (in Kohima)
->Take personal interest in organising a Revenue Training in Dimapur

17. ORISSA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Initial impression was that of a poor tribal state with low infrastructure, but it changed over the training period. Industrialization is taking place at a good pace.
->Great regional variations. A curious mixture of abject poor and super rich.
->People are simple natured and religious.
->At the field level, the Collector has a lot of importance; he looks after development too as the ZP culture is not dominant.
->Work culture wise, subordinates are not very keen on taking initiative. You need to continuously monitor any project/assignment to ensure success. However the people are obedient.
->Least interference from the current political dispensation.
->IAS commands a lot of respect in the State.

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training is very well structured. DG, GAA (Gopabandhu Academy of Administration) has the authority to allot the districts.
->Training at GAA is not very productive. You need to assert your needs at the academy else you won’t be looked after properly.
->Independent BDO charge is a great opportunity.
->Focus on your revenue training.
->Judiciary charge as Spl Judicial Magistrate is a great opportunity to see the judiciary from within. Interact a lot with the local advocates.
->Try and work on some independent project.
->Closely watch and get involved in VIP visits.

18. PUNJAB

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Though first impressions were good, there was a feeling that very little development work at the grass root level can be done in the state. Later, we realised that though the infrastructure is in place, there is a long way to go in the social sector.
->Punjab has plateaued in its course of development; therefore there is a lot of scope for innovative thinking
->General working environment is laid back possibly because the ‘public pressure’ to perform is quite low.
->Since it is a small cadre, almost all officers know each other and this makes it very hospitable. Both officers and people are generally warm and welcoming
->There is a shortage of staff in almost all the districts. In newly created districts, the staff is inexperienced and untrained.
->Lots of conventional practices prevail in the cadre, sometimes overriding rules and regulations

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training is unstructured. The DC decides what the probationer is to do. Probationers of the same batch do different things and have different attachments at a single point in time.
->You can work out a training schedule for yourself in consultation with the DC and the Establishment Branch
->An important attachment that you should not miss is with the DFSC, as the procurement process is very important in Punjab.

19. RAJASTHAN

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Rajasthan is a well-governed state and a good cadre. Systems are in place
->The administration-people interface is cordial and free
->Informal relationship between juniors and seniors
->Political pressures depend on the officer’s response
->Though there is a general perception that Rajasthan is a ‘peaceful’ state, this is true only in comparison to states like UP. It certainly has its own share of law and order problems

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Generally, the training schedule sent by the Academy is followed to a large extent.
->Do not miss out on independent charge as SDO and court work
->Make the most of the State Darshan
->Complete your attachments on time

20. SIKKIM

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Lack of inputs in the Academy on Sikkim specific issues may present problems
->The work culture is non formal
->State Civil Service Officers dominate the administrative setup
->No special privileges accrue because of being in the IAS
->One needs to be people-oriented

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Training is not structured properly because the ATI is non functional
->No orientation is given and hence one learns on the job
->Visit as many villages as you can
->Try and get a grip on how things are done in Sikkim, which is very
different from what one gathers through the inputs given in the Academy
->Independent charge is given to probationers

21. TAMIL NADU

First Impressions and Working Environment
->Tamil Nadu is a good and welcoming cadre
->Working environment is cordial
->Probationers are appointed in conventional training districts
->The administration is rule bound and less flexible

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Well structured; however there is no ATI training
->Do not miss out any component of training. You can adjust timings if need be
->No independent charges given to probationers
->Lots can be learned by involving fully in district administration and moving around with the DC
->The span of the urban sector attachment is only for 2-3 days, which is insufficient

22. TRIPURA

First Impressions and Working Environment
->We were told that Tripura is a ‘well-administered’ state; we realised that it is ‘over-administered’
->Airport is bang on the Bangladesh border-portent of things to come!
->Lack of respect amongst the masses-especially the Bengalis. Tribals still hold an IAS officer in high esteem
->IAS tag doesn’t generally work
->SCS officers are favoured
->Hyper politicized state which makes life tough for an IAS officer

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Structure exists on paper but not in practice
->Almost all attachments lacked content. The only exception was the SDM and BDO attachment
->Independent charge as a BDO is the most important part of the district training. Ensure that you convince your DM to give it to you early and for a substantial period, say 3 months
->Try as many CrPC and other cases as an Executive Magistrate as possible, ask your SDM to transfer cases to you in the very beginning

23. UTTARAKHAND

First Impressions and Working Environment
->The working environment is very similar to what is there in Uttar Pradesh; the legacy continues in many ways.
->Hindi language rules the files
->Procrastination is often a virtue in the circumstances that exist
->The working environment is relaxed
->Support staff are experienced and reliable as they have exposure to the way things worked in the UP setup
->Chidiya culture prevails ie. file pushing

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->The training at the State ATI in Nainital takes up close to three months, and is too long.
->The revenue and treasury training is for 14 days each; this again could be shortened.
->You must try and arrange an attachment with the Forest Department since interface with forest-related issues is very common in the State. You must also gain insights into the forest laws, which is a neglected area.
->Try and get some exposure to tourism (esp. spiritual tourism) and
adventure sports, which are the unique opportunities in the State.
->Another focus area can be disaster management

24. UTTAR PRADESH

First Impressions and Working Environment
->The sheer size and diversity of the state is mind boggling. Especially for an outsider, it seems like “Yeh kahan aa gaye hum!”
->It’s a state with huge challenges and even greater opportunities
->An IAS officer is treated like a ‘king’/’queen’
->The administration is DM centric in what is still a feudal state. DM is the de facto king/queen of the district
->Probationer is considered to be the DM’s prodigy
->There is a sharp contrast in the working environment of Western and Eastern UP. The West fares better because of higher income levels and better social parameters
->A civil services week is held annually which brings together the entire galaxy of IAS officers in the state-from the Chief Secretary to the probationer-for formal and informal interactions
->Seniors are extremely supportive

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->No structured training in the field, depends on the DM
->The highlight of the course remains the UP darshan
->The 3 month training in the Lucknow ATI is grossly underutilized, the duration could be lessened
->One must attend all attachments in the Collectorate and with the line departments religiously and coax the officers into sharing their experiences
->A week long training in the State Police Academy can be incorporated

25. WEST BENGAL

First Impressions and Working Environment
->First impression on being allotted West Bengal is that one is doomed. Take a deep breath, listen to the obituaries recited by your batch mates and get depressed
->Now for the good news. West Bengal is much better than all this. It may not be the best but is certainly a better than average cadre
->An IPS officer is better off than his IAS counterpart
->People work when they have to but generally the work culture is poor
->Offices start at 11:30 am and people start disappearing by 4:30 pm. Only the head of office remains (your personal orderly/peon will be the first to leave)

Training Structure and Focus Areas
->Apart from BDOship, no other independent charge is given
->Industrial and agricultural attachments during ATI training are not of much use
->State darshan should be incorporated in the training. Hopefully you will have this component

All the best! Jai hind .

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