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Indian Administrative Service

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Title: Indian Administrative Service  
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Indian Administrative Service

Indian Administrative Service
Service Overview
Abbreviation I.A.S.
Formed 1946
Country  India
Training Ground Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, (Uttarakhand)
Controlling Authority Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, Department of Personnel and Training
Legal personality Governmental: Government service
General nature Policy Formulation
Policy Implementation
Civil administration
Advisors to Ministers
Managing bureaucracy (Center and State)
Preceding service Imperial Civil Service (1893–1946)
Cadre Size 4737 members (direct recruitment – 3398, promotion – 1339) (2013)[1]
Association IAS officers Association
Head of the All India Civil Services
Cabinet Secretary
Current: Ajit Seth, IAS

The Indian Administrative Service (abbreviated as IAS) (Hindi: भारतीय प्रशासनिक सेवा ) is the premier[2] administrative civil service of the Government of India. IAS officers hold key and strategic positions in the Union Government, States[2] and public-sector undertakings.[2] Like in various countries (example UK) following Parliamentary system, IAS as the permanent bureaucracy in India forms an inseparable part of the executive branch of the Government of India thus providing continuity and neutrality to the administration. Unlike Candidates selected to other civil services, a person once appointed to Indian Administrative Service or Indian Foreign Service(IFS) becomes ineligible to reappear in Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission because there are no higher civil services other than aforementioned two services under Government of India.[3]

Along with the Indian Intergovernmental conferences and International summits. IAS officers at various levels of administration plays a vital role in conducting free, fair and smooth elections in India under the direction of Election Commission of India and states.[7]


Recruitment to the Indian Administrative Service is done through an extremely competitive examination called the "Civil Services Examination", organized by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). In 2012, over 500,000 candidates applied for this exam[8] from which 170 were finally recruited into the Indian Administrative Service. The IAS is usually overwhelmingly the top choice of Civil Service Exam aspirants because of the high diversity and prestige of career it offers.Due to very few number of vacancies in IAS and first preference by most of the candidates, entry into the IAS becomes furthermore difficult. Almost all of the applicants rank IAS as their first preference because of the high prestige and diversity of career it offers. For example, in the 2011 batch, of the 425 selected candidates, 370 indicated IAS as their first preference, 25 chose IFS and 15 IRS, and 15 chose IPS. But when it came to second preference, 246 candidates marked IRS as their choice, while only 120 marked IPS as their second choice and 49 as IFS.

The Civil Services Examination is a three-stage process spanning nearly twelve months. Candidates have to first write a preliminary examination consisting of two papers, where they are tested on areas such as economics, politics, history, geography, environment, awareness of current affairs, reading comprehension, logical reasoning and basic numeracy skills. Only those that qualify at the preliminary level are eligible to proceed to the second stage, referred to as the "Mains" exams. Candidates have to write nine papers in the Mains exams, where they are tested on Indian and world history, constitutional law, international relations and multilateral bodies, world geography and administrative ethics. Those who successfully clear the Mains exams are then interviewed by the Union Public Service Commission, and a final list of recommended candidates is forwarded to the Government of India.

Allocation and placement

After being selected, candidates are not allocated to "cadres." There is one cadre in each Indian state, except for three joint cadres: AssamMeghalaya, ManipurTripura, and Arunachal PradeshGoaMizoramUnion Territories (AGMUT).[9]

The "insider-outsider ratio" (ratio of officers who are posted in their home states) is maintained as 1:2. as 'insiders'. The rest are posted outsiders according to the 'roster' in states other than their home states. Till 2008 there was no choice for any state cadre and the candidates, if not placed in the insider vacancy of their home states, were allotted to different states in alphabetic order of the roster, beginning with the letters A,H,M,T for that particular year. For example if in a particular year the roster begins from 'A', which means the first candidate in the roster will go to the Andhra Pradesh state cadre of IAS, the next one to Bihar, and subsequently to Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and so on in alphabetical order. The next year the roster starts from 'H', for either Haryana or Himachal Pradesh.( if it has started from Haryana in the previous occasion when it all started from 'H', then this time it would start from Himachal Pradesh). This highly intricate system has on one hand ensured that officers from different states are placed all over India, it has also resulted in wide disparities in the kind of professional exposure for officers, when we compare officers in small and big and also developed and backward state, since the system ensures that the officers are permanently placed to one state cadre. The only way the allotted state cadre can be changed is by marriage to an officer of another state cadre of IAS/IPS/IFS. One can even go to his home state cadre on deputation for a limited period, after which one has to invariably return to the cadre allotted to him or her.[9]

The centralising effect of these measures was considered extremely important by the system's framers, but has received increasing criticism over the years. In his keynote address at the 50th anniversary of the Service in Mussoorie, former Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukarji argued that separate central, state and local bureaucracies should eventually replace the IAS as an aid to efficiency.[10] There are also concerns that without such reform, the IAS will be unable to "move from a command and control strategy to a more interactive, interdependent system".[11]

Functions of the civil servant/Officer

A civil servant is responsible for the law and order and general administration in the area under his work. Typically the functions of an IAS officer are as follows:[12]

  • To handle the daily affairs of the government, including framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the minister-in-charge of the concerned ministry.[12]
    • Implementation of policy requires supervision.
    • Implementation requires travelling to places where the policies are being implemented.
    • Implementation also includes expenditure of public funds which again requires personal supervision as the officers are answerable to the Parliament and State Legislature for any irregularities that may occur.
  • In the process of policy formulation and decision making, officers at various levels like joint secretary, deputy secretary make their contributions and the final shape to the policy is given or a final decision is taken with the concurrence of the minister concerned or the cabinet depending upon the gravity of the issue.[12]

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is remembered as the "Patron Saint" of India's civil servants for establishing modern all-India services. In an unprecedented and unrepeated gesture, on the day after his death more than 1,500 officers of India's civil and police services congregated to mourn at Patel's residence in Delhi and pledged "complete loyalty and unremitting zeal" in India's service.[13]


Progression of career of IAS officers in State and Centre Government

Most IAS officers start their careers in the state administration at the sub-divisional level as a sub divisional magistrate. They are entrusted with the law and order situation of the city along with general administration and development work of the areas under their charge.[14] Since early 20th-century, Indian civil servants are colloquially called "babus",[15] while Indian bureaucracy is called "babudom", as in the "rule of babus", especially in India media.[16][17][18]

Salary structure

Grade Position in the State Government(s) or Central government Pay Scale
Cabinet Secretary Grade Cabinet Secretary of India INR90,000
Apex Scale Chief Secretary of States, Union Secretaries in charge of various ministries of Government of India INR80,000 (fixed)
Above Super Time Scale Principal Secretaries/Financial Commissioners in states, Additional Secretaries to the Government of India INR67,000-79,000
Super Time Scale Divisional Commissioner in a division or Secretary in state government or position of Joint Secretary to Government of India INR37,400-INR67,000 plus grade pay of INR10000
Selection Grade District collector in a district or Special Secretary in the state government or a Director in the central government INR37,400-INR67,000 plus grade Pay of INR8700
Junior Administrative Grade Joint Secretary in the state government or a Deputy Secretary in the central government INR15,600-INR39,100 plus grade pay of INR7600
Senior Time Scale Chief Development Officer or Municipal Commissioner in a district or Under Secretary in State or O.S.D in Central government INR15,600-INR39,100 plus grade pay of INR6600
Junior Time Scale Sub-Divisional Magistrate in a sub-division of a district (Entry) INR15,600-INR39,100 plus grade pay of INR5400


See also


  1. ^ "2013 Total Cadre strength of IAS as on January 2013".  
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Important Highlights of Civil Service Examination, 2012". Press Information Bureau. 
  9. ^ a b Educational Philosophy of Dr. Zakir Hussain. Dr. Noorejahan H. p. 325. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  10. ^ Mukarji, Nirmal. Speech published "Restructuring the Bureaucracy: Do We Need the All-India Services?"in Arora, Balveer and Radin, Beryl, Eds. The Changing Role of the All-India Services: An assessment and agenda for future research on federalism and the All-India services. New Delhi: Centre for Policy Research, 2000.
  11. ^ Radin, B.A. (2007). "The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in the 21 stCentury: Living in an Intergovernmental Environment". International Journal of Public Administration 30 (13): 1525–1548.  
  12. ^ a b c Exam Result IAS information website
  13. ^ Panjabi, Indomitable Sardar, pp. 157–58
  14. ^ One Stop IAS
  15. ^ "Yet to start work, Natgrid CEO highest paid babu". The Times of India. Aug 23, 2012. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  16. ^ Anand Parthasarathy (Sep 1–14, 2001). "A barbed look at babudom: Will the typically British humour of Yes Minister work if transplanted to an Indian setting? Viewers of a Hindi satellite channel have a chance to find out.".  
  17. ^ "PM Modi tightens screws, gives babudom a new rush hour". The Times of India. Sep 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  18. ^ "Babu". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 

External links

  • [1]
  • UPSC
  • Civil List
  • IAS officers data
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