UPSC Cadre Allocation Process 2023: How are Cadres allotted to IAS/IPS/IFS Officers after Selection?

After qualifying all the stages of the UPSC Civil Services Exam, selected candidates are allotted cadres based on their preferences and vacancy available. In this article, we have provided all the details about the process of cadre allocation to IAS/IPS/IFoS officers, details of five zones and how to choose cadre preference.
UPSC: How are Cadres allotted to IAS/IPS/IFS Officers after Selection?

UPSC Cadre Allocation Policy for the All India Services governs the process of cadre allotment to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS). Candidates enrolled as IAS officers in the Foundation Course at LBSNAA get their cadre allocation before the start of the training whereas the candidates in the IPS and IFS posts get their cadre allocation after their appointment.

UPSC Cadre Allocation

As per the UPSC Cadre Allocation Policy, the Cadre Controlling Authorities namely the Dept. of Personnel and Training (DoPT)/ Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)/ Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) determine the vacancies including the break-up into general (UR)/ scheduled caste (SC)/ scheduled tribe (ST)/ other backward classes (OBC)/ insider/ outsider vacancies for each of the cadres as per the established process.

All authorities must indicate the number of vacancies (inclusive of reserved and unreserved categories) in each zone and cadre. The UPSC cadre list has been divided into 5 zones. Each candidate must choose their preferences, zones, and UPSC cadres in the application form. Candidates must choose their cadre from each zone in descending order. For example, choose one cadre from zone-I, then chose one cadre from zone-2, and so on. We have explained the process of cadre selection as per the preference of candidate in detail further in the article.

The Commission allocates the cadre based on the preference of the candidate. However, in certain cases, the Commission follows a set procedure which we shall discuss below:

  1. In case, a candidate has not chosen any cadre then it is assumed that he/she does not have any specific preference.
  2. In case, a candidate is not allotted as per their preference then they are allotted a cadre on the basis of availability of vacancies.
  3. The home cadres are allotted as per the merit and availability of vacancies. In case, a candidate has not mentioned the home cadre then they shall be allotted as per their preference.
  4. In cases of same-rank candidates, the cadre is allocated in alphabetical order of names.
  5. If a candidate in the reserved category is shortlisted in the unreserved category then they shall be allotted cadre in the unreserved category based on preference. The reserved vacancy shall be allocated only if the unreserved category vacancy is unavailable.
  6. Physically challenged candidates may also choose their UPSC cadre preference from any state or cadre (other than their home cadre) within their first choice of the zone.

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UPSC Cadre Allocation: Five Zones

There are currently five zones as per the UPSC Cadre Allocation Policy.

State Cadres/ Joint Cadres for UPSC – All India Services


State Cadres


AGMUT, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana


Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha


Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh


West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura


Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala

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UPSC Cadre Allocation: How to Choose Cadre Preference

While filling up the Detailed Application Form (DAF) aspirants are asked for the zone and cadre preferences in case they get selected. The candidates give their choice in descending order of preference from among the various Zones. Upon classifying the zonal preference, the candidates need to indicate the preference of cadres from each preferred zone. The candidates will indicate their second cadre preference for every preferred zone thereafter. A similar process will continue till a preference for all the cadres is indicated by the candidate.

For example: If an aspirant chooses zone 2 as their first preference, he has to choose among the state cadres mentioned under that zone. If the candidate is a native of Gujarat, he may choose Gujarat as 1st preference, MP as the second preference, Maharashtra as the third, and so on. 

If a candidate does not give any preference for any of the zones or cadres, it will be presumed that the candidate has no specific preference for those Zones or cadres. Nevertheless, a candidate seeking reservation benefits under the Physically Disabled quota would have an additional option to indicate his / her preference (at the time of indicating preferences for specific zones and frameworks below) for anyone of his / her first choice zone states or frameworks (other than Home cadre).

Allocation of Cadres to Recommended Candidates

  1. A recommended candidate is allocated a cadre on the basis of the following categories:
  2. The rank of the candidate in the Civil Service Exam.
  3. Candidate’s order of preference for service.
  4. Candidate’s category.
  5. Availability of vacancy in the candidate’s category.
  6. Medical Board/Appellate Board’s reports with respect to the candidate.

During cadre allocation for IAS and IPS by DOPT the ratio of the outsider: insider which is 2:1 is to be maintained. And candidates' status of outsider and insider are decided on the basis of their Bonafide certificate or their parent’s resident status. And this ratio changes every year on the basis of retiring civil servants. 

Every year state governments send vacancies to the central government. The vacancies are categorized as insider and outsider. Insiders are those who have domicile of that state and outsiders are those who come from other states.

For instance, if you belong to UP and you fill UP as your first choice and the state government has only 3 vacancies 1 insider and 2 outsiders in that particular year then your rank plays a crucial role in the cadre allotment. If you are a top ranker in your state then you will get the MP Cadre otherwise not.

Hence Cadre allotment depends largely on the vacancies of that state (insider and outsider) and the candidate’s rank as well.

The Cadre allocation exercise for the lAS is done before the commencement of the Foundation Course in the LBSNAA. The Cadre allocation exercise for the IPS or IFoS is done immediately after the appointments have been made.

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