J&K, Ladakh UTs categorized as ‘Hard Areas’ within AGMUT

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 19: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has categorized the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as “Hard Areas” in the Joint cadre of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa- Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT).
An order to this effect was issued today.
Subsequent to abrogation of Article 370, the Central Government had merged Jammu and Kashmir cadre of IAS, IPS and IFoS officers with that of AGMUT.
The MHA order bifurcated AGMUT cadre Union Territories into two categories—Regular Areas and Hard Areas.
The Regular Areas falling in Category A include Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, Puducherry, Dadar Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu while the Hard Areas have been listed in the Category B and include Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Consequent upon the merger of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre into AGMUT cadre, the matter has been examined and with the approval of Competent Authority, it has been decided that the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh may be categorized as Category B (Hard Areas) in the Joint AGMUT Cadre,” read a communication sent among others to Chief Secretary J&K Dr Arun Kumar Mehta by Rakesh Kumar Singh, Under Secretary to Government of India, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Accordingly, in partial modification in para 3 of the said guidelines, the segments of the AGMUT Cadre are hereby Classified into two categories, namely regular and hard areas,” the communication said.
Sources said the officers of IAS, IPS, IFoS and others belonging to the All India Services are entitled to various benefits including allowances, accommodation etc during their posting in the Union Territories designated as `Hard Areas’ within the AGMUT cadre.
Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been running extreme shortage of IAS and IPS officers and a number of All India Services officers have been deputed on deputation to the two Union Territories by the Ministry of Home Affairs from the Centre as well as various other States.
“Even after deputations, the shortage of officers persisted,” the sources said and expressed confidence that the Government decision to categorize Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh UTs as “Hard Areas” might help and officers would opt for the two Union Territories.
The shortage, as per the sources, is more in the Union Territory of Ladakh than Jammu and Kashmir. Presently, a number of Jammu and Kashmir’s IAS as well as Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Services (JKAS) and JKPS officers are on deputation to Ladakh.
In addition, a number of non-Gazetted officials from Jammu and Kashmir have also been deployed in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Recently, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had conducted Cadre Review after several years which, according to sources, will also help the Union Territory in getting more officers.