IAS officers and the notorious transfer culture

A data interactive that shows which states and departments transfer their IAS officers the most and which ones the least

A file photo of Ashok Khemka. Photo: Keshav Singh/HT
A file photo of Ashok Khemka. Photo: Keshav Singh/HT

Imagine changing your job every year. That’s what the average IAS officer in Haryana, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh does. Haryana is the worst. An IAS officer belonging to that cadre and having 10 years of service, on average, spent just 343 days in a posting. Their peers at the Centre are better, but still far short of the average standards of job tenures, especially in the context of good governance and continuity: they spend, on average, 22 months in a posting.

The data interactive below has compiled the transfer records of 39,000-odd postings of about 2,600 serving officers, as posted by the Department of Personnel & Training. You can use it to see where the Centre and individual states, whose IAS officers are organised under 26 cadres, stand when it comes to transfers. Besides cadre, you can also search by departments, gender and individual officers.

The transfer malaise is all-pervasive. For example, it illustrates, how 10% of postings in 20 key departments in the state cadres (excluding Centre), last anywhere between 33 days and 71 days. Or, how 22% of IAS officers average less than a year in a posting. Or, how Ashok Khemka, who has been transferred by governments in Haryana 46 times in his 25-year career, is only one of the 11 officers to record 40-plus postings.

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