About Civil Services -IAS

Essentially, a civil servant is a government employee. They are appointed by the government to any civil service or post in connection with the affairs of the Central Government.

Unlike regular undergraduate courses, civil service is a life time career choice. A Civil servant -on different posts- basically implements the laws and policies that are made by elected leaders, thus, playing a major role in the progress and development of state.

Entrance exam and different branches

The entry into the State Civil Services is through a competitive examination conducted by the respective State Public Service Commission. Every year, around 3.5 to 4 lakh students take the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the 400 to 500 vacancies that may arise.
The most popular branches of the Indian Civil Services are:
  • The Indian Administrative Service
  • The Indian Police Service
  • The Indian Foreign Service
  • The Indian Revenue Service
  • The Indian Information Service
The first three in the above list are ‘all India' services whereas those which follow are central services. Apart from these services which are under the control of the central government, the states also have their own administrative, forest and police services. The entrance examinations to the latter are conducted by the individual states in question.
Different Branches Names of posts Responsibilities
Indian Foreign Service
  • Diplomat
  • Foreign Secretary
  • High Commissioner
  • Associated with External and Foreign Affairs Ministry
  • responsible for the framing of foreign policies
  • maintaining and regulating the Indian embassies in various countries of the world
Indian Administrative Service
  • District Magistrate (collector)
  • Principal Secretary
  • Chief Secretary
  • responsible for the smooth functioning of administrative departments
  • framing of policies and acting as advisors to the ministers
  • executing appointed duties as the officers in charge of smaller administrative units
Indian Police Service
  • Border Security Force
  • Department of Home Guards
  • Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Protectors of Law In Case of Emergency
  • maintain law and order in our country
  • work in tandem with IAS to ensure overall development and well-being of the district

Career Prospects

The career prospects in civil services are many. A candidate who clears UPSC or the state level civil services examination and has completed his/her training is commissioned as an office. In Central Services, the first posting is usually as a Diplomatic attaché/ Undersecretary/ Probationary IPS officer, depending on the branch chosen. In state civil services, it is referred to as Deputy Collector/Deputy Superintendent of Police/ Taxes Commissioner etc.

Similar Careers

Jobs & Salary

Depending on whether you choose the Central or the State services and appear for the respective examinations, you’re prospective employer is either the Government of India or the Government of the specific state you write the examinations for. Also once you join the services, depending on which branch you work for, you will eventually become the Managing Director or Chairman of most government owned enterprises. Example: The Chairman of Bharat Petroleum or Indian Oil will always be a senior level IAS officer.

IFS officers apart from serving as diplomats and ambassadors of India in various countries have the chance to work with the elite Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Only the top and most talented officers make it to RAW and work on gathering intelligence and counter-terrorism.

The salaries of civil servants may not be as high as corporate employees but the perks and subsidies compensate for it. An IAS or IPS officer gets free quarters, fuel allowance, cook, and driver apart from study allowances. Interest free loans are offered on the house by banks as the credibility of civil servants by virtue of being employed by Government (State or Center) is very high.

Designation Compensation per annum in Rupees
Assistant Commissioner of Police/Joint Collector/DSP Rs.15,600-Rs.39,100 plus grade pay of  Rs.5400. On an average it is Rs.28,500 in metropolitan cities and a little less if posted in district headquarters.
Deputy Commissioner of Police / Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police/District Collector or Magistrate Rs.15,600-Rs.39,100 plus grade pay of  Rs.6600. On an average it is Rs.34,550 in metropolitan cities and a little less if posted in district headquarters.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Director (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI)/ Deputy Secretary Rs.37,400-Rs.67, 000 plus grade Pay of  Rs.8700. On an average it is Rs.46,750 in metropolitan cities and a little less if posted in district headquarters.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police (City), Director (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI)/ Director/Special Secretary Rs.37,400-Rs.67,000 plus grade pay of  Rs.8900.. On an average it is Rs.54,600 in metropolitan cities and a little less if posted in district headquarters.
Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police (City), Joint Secretary if empanelled as such (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI) Rs.37,400-Rs.67,000 plus grade pay of Rs.10,000. On an average it is Rs.54,600 in metropolitan cities and a little less if posted in district headquarters.
Additional Director General of Police, Commissioner of Police (City), Special or Additional Director (GOI), Special or Additional Secretary (R) Rs.67,000- Rs.79,000 (Range is fixed. Salary Structure changes from this designation)
Director General of Police - Only one cadre post. Director (GOI), Director General (GOI), Secretary (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI) Rs.80,000 (fixed) plus grade pay-Nil

Note: These salaries are according to the 6th Pay Commission. They are meant to give a rough idea and not to be taken as water tight and exact.

Pros & Cons

A career filled with irresistible perks and power only seen in politics is what a career in Civil Services offers. Like the Indian Armed Forces, the pride of working for the progress development of our country is the primary reason most aspirants choose Civil Services as a career option.

  • Job security perks benefits and retirement benefits.
  • Power, Prestige and Authority to frame policies that govern daily life or businesses.
  • Reputation and ability to reach out to the corridors of power to move matters.
  • Chance to develop and usher the country on a path of progress and bring about a systemic change for the betterment of future generations.
  • Unbridled access to knowledge and future education by way of Government's civil servant's policies.
  • The path to becoming a civil services officer is strewn with immense hard work and sheer dedication. One has to forget friends and family sometimes to prepare for the gruelling examinations.
  • Salaries may not be as high as compared to other professions.
  • Inter-job transfers may be difficult and sometimes inevitable, so it is like a double edged sword.
  • Job-hopping is not an option as once you choose a branch of civil services you have to pretty much stick to it.

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