Vacancies in central agencies, excluding the armed forces, touched 10 lakh in 2019 and 2020, the most recent years for which data is available — more than double the figure of the previous four years. Data from the department of expenditure’s annual reports on pay and allowances show that in 2020 there were nearly 8.9 lakh civilian vacancies in the union government and another 1.1 lakh in central police forces that come under the home ministry. In 2019, there were over 10 lakh unfilled positions.
Information on vacancies for both union government civilian posts and central police forces is available since 2006. The data show that from 4.7 lakh in 2006, the unfilled positions saw a major jump in 2010, two years after the sixth pay commission award was approved and remained at more or less the same level till 2013. The number then declined in 2014 and stayed at the reduced level over the next two years. Since then, they have increased phenomenally though data was not available for 2017.
In between, the seventh pay commission was approved in 2016. From 4.7 lakh in 2016, vacancies crossed 7 lakh in 2018 and 10 lakh in 2019.
Data on civilian vacancies in the union government are available since 2001 and the numbers show that from 5.0% of sanctioned posts in 2001, the vacancies increased to a staggering 21.7% in 2020. In terms of the number of jobs, against the sanctioned strength of just under 36.1 lakh positions in the union government, 1.8 lakh were vacant in 2001, which increased to nearly 8.9 lakh against the sanctioned strength of 40.8 lakh in 2020.
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The data show that the vacancies saw a steady increase from 5.0% in 2001 to 16.2% in 2013 but dipped below 12% in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They then rose rapidly to cross 20% in 2019 and 2020.
The data on vacancies in the central police forces is available since 2006 and the numbers show that in 2006, there were 56,000 vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 7.2 lakh, a little less than 8% of the available positions. By 2010, the vacancies crossed the 10% mark but then went down to touch 4.5% in 2015, from where it is steadily increasing and has again crossed the 10% figure in 2020.