In January 2019, the Government of India declared the erasure of the state cadre of ‘Jammu and Kashmir,’ acquiring a change in the Cadre Allocation Policy (CAP) 2017. It was revised in 2017 for All India Services – IAS, IPS and IFoS and was brought into action for the 2017 UPSC attempt.

The new UPSC Cadre Allocation Policy is significantly different from the previous cadre allocation strategy in the classification of UPSC cadres, how IAS applicants chose their favoured category for the IAS test and how insider and outsider openings are filled. A similar allocation policy will be applied for UPSC 2021. This article gives a concise outline of the New UPSC Cadre Allocation Policy.

What are the Current Cadres in India?

There are five zones in which state cadres are divided, and each zone has 4 – 5 cadres. The zone-wise breakup of the state categories are mentioned below:

Zones State Cadres
Zone – I Uttarakhand, AGMUT, Himachal Pradesh,  Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana
Zone – II Jharkhand, Odisha,  Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
Zone – III Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Zone – IV Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam
Zone – V Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh

What is the Cadre Allocation System and Who Allocates These?

A category is only a state or a collection of states/ Union Territories to which officials of the All-India Services, similar to the IAS and IPS, are distributed. In the wake of being relegated to a specific category, IAS officials for the most part work in the same cadre all through their administration, except if they go for a position in central government. In some uncommon cases, they may likewise be permitted to change their category.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Government of India apportions categories to applicants. The task of category relies upon the aspirants rank, vacancies, and preferences.

What is the Aim of the New UPSC Cadre Policy?

The New Cadre Allocation Policy aims to fulfil the below-mentioned goals of the Central and State Governments:

  • Rationalise vacancies according to IAS category strength
  • Increase national integration
  • Increase efficiency of administration by redistributing officers from surplus states to deficit states.

Also Read: What are the Physical Requirements for being in IPS? Check-out the Physical Requirements & Eligibility

How is Cadre Allocated in IAS?

The UPSC allocates IAS cadres based on the procedures given below:

  • The cadre controlling experts for IAS (Department of Personnel and Training, IPS(Ministry of Home Affairs) and IFoS(Ministry of Environment, Forests Climate Change) ought to decide their respective vacancies, including open and closed categories dependent on systems established up by them.
  • The IAS cadres are grouped into 5 zones as mentioned above.

What Order should be Followed While Filling Out the Cadre Preference?

  1. Zonal Preference
  2. category Preference
  3. You should repeat the process for each category and zone in the order of your preference.
  4. If the aspirant fails to indicate their preference for a single or more than one cadre of UPSC it is assumed that they have no particular preference for that UPSC Cadre or Zone, and the following things might happen:
  • The aspirant might be allotted a cadre or zone which they might get according to their merit or rank if vacancies are available.
  • If the UPSC aspirants have not been allotted any category which they had chosen as their preference, they will be allotted cadres based on the marks and ranking of the remaining candidates on vacancies remaining after cadres have been allocated to other aspirants who had mentioned their preference or the cadres will be allocated in alphabetical order for the purpose of allotment.

Order that should be Followed

  1. Candidates who are physically disabled have an option of indicating their UPSC cadre preference from any one state from his preferred zone.
  2. Home Cadre in UPSC will be allotted based on merit, availability of vacancies and preference. The candidates must mention their home zone and home cadre for allocation or they won’t be considered for home care at all.
  3. While allocating cadre vacancies are filled first based on the category of the aspirants, candidates eligible for home cadre are allotted after all insider vacancies are filled, and the outsider vacancies will be filled next.
  4. A candidate belonging to reserved candidates who get selected on merit are eligible to be allocated an unreserved vacancy based on their performance and merit. If a vacancy is available as their first preference, they will be allotted a UPSC cadre from reserved vacancies based on merit, availability and preference.
  5. The cadre for UPSC is allocated before the commencement of training for IAS officers at LBSNAA and for IPS and IFoS as soon as they have been appointed.

How to Prepare for UPSC Exams?

Students must try to follow the following points while preparing for the IAS mains exam:

  • Make a timetable: Make a well organised – daily routines and try to stick to it. Do not make a timetable that is impossible to follow, instead is streamlined. Making deadlines would help you complete your syllabus faster.
  • Prepare yourself: While preparing for the IAS mains exam make yourself familiar with the pattern and syllabus of the examination. Also, solve some sample papers and question papers of previous years.
  • Current Affairs: Read the newspaper on a daily basis and familiarise yourself with current affairs in India and throughout the world. The questions asked in the IAS mains exam are related to current affairs.
  • Optional subject: Choosing an optional subject is an important aspect while preparing for the UPSC Mains exam. The optional subject counts for 500 marks in the result, so always weigh the Pros and cons of the optional subject you decide to choose.

Also Read: How to Become a RAW Officer after Clearing the UPSC Exam? How to Join RAW in India?


Do aspirants often wonder how to get the home state as cadre allocation in UPSC? Or How is domicile decided in UPSC for cadre allocation? But this is not the case at all. UPSC cadre Allocation policy might seem extremely complicated but the only stage when aspirants get involved is while choosing their preference.

The candidates should be careful while listing their preference as UPSC controlling authorities do not entertain change in the application once it is submitted. If a candidate forgets to indicate even a single preference, their cadre allocation is done as the last priority, which means that the candidate may not even get their preferred cadre after securing a high rank. To get a cadre of your choice you need to prepare well and be attentive during the UPSC application process.

You can also visit the UPSC Pathshala website to read more about UPSC preparation and career in the services.

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How is Cadre Allocated In UPSC? Get to Know All about Cadre Allocation in the UPSC
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How is Cadre Allocated In UPSC? Get to Know All about Cadre Allocation in the UPSC
Candidates who have cleared all the three stages of the UPSC Civil Service Exam are allotted services and cadres based on their preference and vacancy available. In this blog, we provide all details about the mechanism of Cadre allocation to various UPSC officials.
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UPSC Pathshala
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