Cadre Service

Cadre Service basically refers to the organisation of civil servants into well-defined groups, services or cadres. Such distinctive divisions within the civil service seems to have characteristic of countries with a British colonial heritage. Historical antecedents of the system in the Indian subcontinent can be traced back to the early years of the East India Company's rule. These continued through the Pakistan era with minor modifications, and are seemingly still prevalent in administrative system of Bangladesh.

There were two exclusive groups of civil servants during the formative stage of British rule in India. The higher employees who entered into 'covenants' with the East India Company came to be known as 'covenanted' servants, whereas those not signing such agreements came to be known as 'uncovenanted'. The latter group generally filled the lower positions. This distinction between the covenanted and the uncovenanted virtually came to an end with the constitution of the Imperial Civil Service of India based on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission, 1886-87 (Chairman: Charles U. Aitchison). The name Imperial Civil Service was however modified to Civil Service of India. However, the term Indian Civil Service (ICS) persisted. The acronym ICS continued to be used to denote the covenanted civil servants. The Provincial Civil Service was also constituted on the basis of the recommendations of the Aitchison Commission, and this Provincial Service consisted of two cadres, Provincial Civil Service and Subordinate Civil Service. Further developments took place as a result of the application of the scheme of cadre organisation to the administrative departments. Thus, for example, the departments of Forest and Public Works had both the imperial, and provincial branches. The basic pattern of the cadre system in the civil service was thus established following the recommendations of the Aitchison Commission.

The composition of cadres and the structure of service from the late nineteenth century onward exhibited shifting patterns having been influenced by a variety of factors. By far the most important factor was the increasing demand for Indianization of the services, including the pragmatic need for 'stop gap' measures designed to preserve the British imperial interests.

By 1934, the system of administration in India came gradually to consist of seven All India Services and five Central Departments, all under the control of the secretary of state, and three Central Departments under joint Provincial and Imperial control. The ICS and the Indian Police (Service) were in the transferred field, ie the authority for the control of these services and for making appointments were transferred from the Secretary of State to the provincial governments. It seems relevant to mention that the All India and class I central services were designated as Central Superior Services as early as 1924 in the Lee Commission's report.

With the partition of India in 1947, the term Central Superior Services was used in Pakistan and the concept of All-Pakistan Services continued. The latter consisted of the Civil Service of Pakistan and the Police Service of Pakistan, whereas the Central Services included the Pakistan Foreign Service and a broad category of Finance and other services. The Finance category included the Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service, Pakistan Military Accounts Service, Pakistan Taxation Service, and the Pakistan Customs and Excise Service. The Central Services other than these included the Pakistan Postal Service, Central Secretariat Service, Central Information Service, Central Engineering Service, Trade Service of Pakistan, and the Telegraph Engineering Service. Each of these services had its own cadre and composition rules, specifying the total cadre strength in terms of its number of positions.

Immediately after the emergence of Bangladesh a committee known as the administrative and services reorganisation committee (ASRC) was formed to recommend an appropriate structure of the country's civil service. Unfortunately, however, the ASRC's recommendations could not be implemented because of a change of government in August 1975. A year later, a newly constituted commission called the Pay and Services Commission recommended a four-tier structure of services, including twenty-eight cadres horizontally arranged at the top. It also recommended the formation of an elite cadre, namely the Senior Services Pool (SSP), consisting of posts requiring all-round experience, administrative leadership, and a high level of coordination. The system of reservation of posts was maintained to some extent both in and outside the secretariat.

Between the years 1980 and 1987, the cadre system was reviewed by two high level committees, resulting in a decision to abolish the SSP, effective from 12 July 1989. However, the reservation of posts for twenty eight cadres in case of deputy secretary and joint secretary only was maintained. Since then through a process of amalgamation and reorganisation, the total number of cadres in the civil service stood at twenty-nine as of January 2000. [AMM Shawkat Ali]

Bibliography Bangladesh Gazette (Extraordinary), January 27, 1996; AMM Shawkat Ali, Aspects of Public Administration in Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1993.