Indian Administrative Service

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Indian Administrative Service
Bhāratīya Praśāsanika Sevā
Service overview
IAS (Central Association) logo.jpeg
Formerly known as Imperial Civil Service (ICS)
Founded 1858; 160 years ago (1858)
(as Imperial Civil Service)
26 January 1950; 68 years ago (1950-01-26)
(as Indian Administrative Service)
Country India
Staff college Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
Cadre controlling authority Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Minister responsible Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Legal personality Governmental; civil service
Duties Policy formulation
Policy implementation
Public administration
Bureaucratic governance
Secretarial assistance (Centre and State)
Preceding service Imperial Civil Service (1858–1946)
Cadre strength 4,926 members (3,511 officers directly recruited by UPSC and 1,415 officers promoted from state civil services)[1][2]
Selection Civil Services Examination
Association IAS (Central) Association
Head of the civil services
Cabinet Secretary of India Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS
Emblem of India.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
India

The Indian Administrative Service (IAST: Bhāratīya Praśāsanika Sevā), often abbreviated to I.A.S., or simply IAS, is the administrative arm of the All India Services.[3] Considered the premier civil service of India,[3][4] the IAS is one of the three arms of the All India Services along with the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS). Members of these three services serve the Government of India as well as the individual states. IAS officers may also be deployed to various public sector undertakings.

As with other countries following the Westminster system of government, the IAS is a part of the permanent bureaucracy of the nation,[5] and is an inseparable part of the executive of the Government of India. As such, the bureaucracy remains politically neutral and guarantees administrative continuity to the ruling party.[5]

Upon confirmation of service, an IAS officer serves a probationary period as a sub-divisional magistrate. Completion of this probation is followed by an executive administrative role in a district as a district magistrate and collector which lasts several years, as long as sixteen years in some states. After this tenure, an officer may be promoted to head a whole state division, as a divisional commissioner.

On attaining the apex scale, IAS officers may lead government departments or ministries. In these roles, IAS officers represent the country at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. If serving on a deputation, they may be employed in intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or the United Nations, or its agencies. IAS officers are also involved in the conduct of elections in India as mandated by the Election Commission of India.

History[edit]

During the occupation of India by the East India Company, the civil service was divided into three – covenanted, uncovenanted and special civil services. The covenanted civil service, or the Honourable East India Company's Civil Service (HEICCS), as it was called, largely comprised British civil servants occupying the senior posts in the government.[4][6][7] The uncovenanted civil service was introduced solely to facilitate the entry of Indians onto the lower rung of the administration.[6][7][8] The special service comprised specialised departments, such as the Indian Forest Service, the Indian Police and the Indian Political Service, whose ranks were drawn from either the covenanted civil services or the British Indian Army. The Indian Police included many British Indian Army officers among its members, although after 1893 an annual exam was used to select its officers.[8][7] In 1858 the HEICCS was replaced by the Indian Civil Service (ICS),[6][7] which became the highest civil service in British-ruled India between 1858 and 1947. The last British appointments to the ICS were made in 1942.[7][8]

With the passing of the Government of India Act, 1919 the Imperial Services—under the oversight of the Secretary of State for India—were split into two arms, the All India Services and the Central Services.[9] The Imperial Civil Service was one of the ten All India Services.

In 1946 at the Premier's Conference, the then-Central Cabinet decided to form the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), based on the Imperial Civil Service (ICS);[10][11] and the Indian Police Service (IPS), based on the Imperial Police (IP).[10]

There is no alternative to this administrative system... The Union will go, you will not have a united India if you do not have good All-India Service which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has sense of security that you will standby your work... If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution. Substitute something else... these people are the instrument. Remove them and I see nothing but a picture of chaos all over the country.

When India was partitioned following the departure of the British in 1947, the Imperial Civil Service was divided between the new dominions of India and Pakistan. The Indian remnant of the ICS was named the Indian Administrative Service,[17] while the Pakistan remnant was named the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS). The modern Indian Administrative Service was created under Article 312(2) in part XIV of the Constitution of India,[18][19] and the All India Services Act, 1951.[20]

Recruitment[edit]

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi interacting with IAS officers of 2015 batch (on probation)

There are three modes of recruitment into the Indian Administrative Service. IAS officers may enter the IAS by passing the Civil Services Examination, which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).[3] Officers recruited this way are called direct recruits. Some IAS officers are also recruited from the state civil services,[3] and, in rare cases, selected from non-state civil service.[3] The ratio between direct recruits and promotees is fixed at 2:1. All IAS officers, regardless of the mode of entry, are appointed by the President of India.[18]

Only about 180 candidates out of over 1 million applicants, who apply through the Civil Services Examination (CSE), are successful, a success rate of less than 0.01 per cent.[10][21] As a result, the members of the service are often referred to as "heaven-born".[22][23]

Unlike candidates appointed to other civil services, a successful IAS candidate is rendered ineligible to re-enter the Civil Services Examination.[24] From 1951 to 1979, an IAS candidate was required to submit two additional papers, as well as three optional papers (instead of two as with other civil services) to be eligible for the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service. The two additional papers were postgraduate level submissions, compared to the graduate level of the optional papers, and it was this distinction that resulted in a higher status for the IAS and IFS. The two postgraduate level submissions were later removed, but this has not changed the perceived higher status of the IAS and IFS.[25][26] After the selection process, the successful candidates undergo training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.[11]

State cadres[edit]

Cadre allocation policy[edit]

The central government announced a new cadre allocation policy for the All India Services in August 2017, touting it as a policy to ensure national integration of the bureaucracy and to ensure an All India character of the services.[27][28][29] The existing 26 cadres were to be divided into five zones by the Department of Personnel and Training.[30][31][32][33] Under the new policy, a candidate first selects their zones of preference, in descending order, then indicates a cadre preference from each preferred zone. The candidate indicates his second cadre preference for every preferred zone subsequently. The process continues until a preference for all the cadres is indicated by the candidate. The preference for the zones and cadres remains in the same order and no change is permitted.[27][28][29]

Officers remain in their allocated cadre or are deputed to the Government of India.[3][34]

Zones under the current cadre allocation policy
Zone States
Zone-I AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana
Zone-II Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha
Zone-III Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
Zone-IV West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland
Zone-V Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala

Previous cadre allocation policies[edit]

Until 2008, there was no formal system that permitted the selection of a state cadre preferred by the candidate. If the candidate was not placed in a vacancy in their home state, they would be allocated to other states, which were selected from a roster in alphabetic order, starting from a, h, m or t, depending on the year. For example, if in a particular year the roster begins from 'a', then the first candidate on the roster will go to the Andhra Pradesh state cadre, the next one to Bihar, and then to Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and so on in alphabetical order.[35] The next year the roster starts from 'h', for either Haryana or Himachal Pradesh (the two states alternate roster years). This system, practised since the mid-1980s, ensured that officers from different states were placed all over India.

The system of permanent state cadres resulted in wide disparities of professional exposure for officers when comparing those from developed versus less developed states.[35][36] Changes in state cadres were only permitted on grounds of marriage to an All India Services officer of another state cadre or under other exceptional circumstances. The officers were allowed to go to their home state cadre on deputation for a limited period after which they would be required to return to their allocated cadre.[35][36]

Since 2008, IAS officers were assigned to state cadres at the beginning of their service. There was one cadre for each Indian state, except for two joint cadres: AssamMeghalaya and Arunachal PradeshGoaMizoramUnion Territories (AGMUT).[36] The "insider-outsider ratio" (ratio of officers who were posted to their home states to those from other states) was maintained at 1:2, with one-third of the direct recruits being 'insiders' from the same state.[37] The rest were posted as outsiders according to the state allocation roster in states other than their home states,[37] as indicated by their preference.

Responsibilities of an IAS officer[edit]

The typical functions performed by an IAS officer are:

  • To collect revenue and function as court officials in matters of revenue and crime (for the revenue courts and criminal courts of executive magistrates), to maintain law and order, to implement union and state government policies at the grass-roots level when posted to field positions i.e. as sub-divisional magistrates, additional district magistrates, district magistrates and divisional commissioners, and to act as an agent of the government in the field, i.e. to act as an intermediary between the public and the government.[4][38][39][40]
  • To handle the administration and daily proceedings of the government, including the formulation and implementation of policy in consultation with the minister-in-charge of a specific ministry or department.[4][38][39][40]
  • To contribute to policy formulation, and to make a final decision in certain matters, with the agreement of the minister concerned or the council of ministers (depending upon the weight of the matter), when posted at the higher level in the Government of India as a joint secretary, additional secretary, special secretary or secretary equivalent, secretary and Cabinet Secretary, and in state governments as principal secretary, additional chief secretary or special chief secretary and chief secretary.[4][38][39][40]

Career progression[edit]

At the beginning of their career, IAS officers receive district training with their home cadres followed by their first posting. Their initial role is as a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and they are placed in charge of a district sub-division. As SDMs, they are entrusted with maintaining law and order, as well as general administration and development work, of the sub-division.[40] With the completion of their training, IAS officers are assigned to various posts in the state and union governments, and in local-self governments, (municipal corporations, zilla parishads), and public sector undertakings.[41]

In 2015 it was announced that a new designation of assistant secretary at the Central Secretariat had been created to enable new IAS officers to be posted to Delhi for a three-month assignment as part of their training regime. IAS officers were previously only permitted to go on a deputation once assigned to the Central Secretariat after nine years of service in their home cadre. It was observed that the experience of central functions was severely lacking among these deputations, resulting in this change in their training.[42][43][44]

Completion of this probation is followed by an executive role in a district as a district magistrate and collector, which lasts several years, as long as sixteen years in some states. After this tenure as a district magistrate, the officer may be promoted to head a whole state division, as a divisional commissioner.

On attaining the apex scale, IAS officers may lead government departments or ministries. In these roles, IAS officers represent the country at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. If serving on a deputation,[34] they may be employed in intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank (WB),[34][45][46] the International Monetary Fund (IMF),[34][47][48] the Asian Development Bank (ADB),[34][49][50] the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB),[51][52][53] and the United Nations (UN) or its agencies.[34][54][55] IAS officers are also involved in the conduct of elections in India as mandated by the Election Commission of India.[56]

Positions and designations held by IAS officer in their career.[3][57][58]
Grade/Level on Pay Matrix[57][58] Field posting(s)[3] Position in state governments[3] Position in the Government of India[3] Position in Indian order of precedence Basic monthly salary[57][58]
Cabinet Secretary grade (Pay level 18)

Cabinet Secretary of India

11

250,000 (US$3,500)

Apex scale (Pay level 17)

Chief secretary[a]

Secretary[b]

23

225,000 (US$3,100)

Higher administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 15)

Divisional commissioner[c]

Principal secretary

Additional secretary

25

182,200 (US$2,500)—224,100 (US$3,100)

Senior administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 14)

Secretary

Joint secretary

26

144,200 (US$2,000)—218,200 (US$3,000)

Selection grade (Pay level 13)

District magistrate[d]

Special secretary

Director

118,500 (US$1,700)—214,100 (US$3,000)

Junior administrative grade (Pay level 12)

Joint secretary

Deputy secretary

78,800 (US$1,100)—191,500 (US$2,700)

Senior time scale (Pay level 11)

Additional district magistrate[e]

Deputy secretary

Under secretary

67,700 (US$940)—160,000 (US$2,200)

Junior time scale (Pay level 10)

Sub-divisional magistratel[f]

Under secretary

Assistant secretary

56,100 (US$780)—132,000 (US$1,800)

Notes
  1. ^ IAS officers of the designations additional chief secretary and special chief secretary draw same pay as the chief secretary of the state.[59][60][61]
  2. ^ IAS officers of the designation special secretary to the Government of India draw the same pay as a secretary to the Government of India.[62][63][64]
  3. ^ Alternate designations – Regional commissioner, revenue divisional commissioner.
  4. ^ Alternate designations – District collector, deputy commissioner.[65]
  5. ^ Alternate designations – Chief development officer, additional district collector, joint collector, additional deputy commissioner, CEO of zila parishad.
  6. ^ Alternate designations – Deputy collector, sub-divisional officer, sub-collector, joint magistrate.[65]

Upon retirement, high ranking IAS officers have occupied constitutional posts such as the Chief Election Commissioner of India,[66] the Comptroller and Auditor General of India,[67] and the Chairman of Union Public Service Commission.[68] They have also become members of administrative tribunals, such as the National Green Tribunal and the Central Administrative Tribunal, as well as chiefs of regulators including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,[69] the Securities and Exchange Board of India,[70][71] and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).[72] If a serving IAS officer is appointed to a constitutional post such as Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Chief Election Commissioner of India or chairman of UPSC or as head of a statutory authority, such as the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women or Central Information Commission, he or she is deemed to have retired from service.[73][74][75]

IAS officers can also be deputed to private organizations for a fixed tenure under Rule 6(2)(ii) of The Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954.[76][77]

Assessment of suitability for promotion and posting[edit]

The performance of IAS officers is assessed through a performance appraisal report. The reports are reviewed to judge the suitability of an officer before a promotion or a posting in the union or state governments. The report is compiled annually and is initiated by the officers themselves, designated as the reporting officer, who list their achievements, completion of assigned activities and targets for the year. The report is then modified and commented on by the reviewing officer, usually the superior of the reporting officer. Reports are forwarded by the reviewing officer to the accepting authority, who conducts a final review of the report.[3]

Major concerns and reforms[edit]

Shortage of officers[edit]

It was reported in 2017 that there is a shortage of about 1,500 IAS officers in the country.[78][79][80] Despite this, the government has stated that annual recruitment of IAS officers will not increase, to avoid impacting the career progression of existing officers and the overall structure of the service.[10][81]

Lateral entry[edit]

Media personalities, some retired IAS officers and a few academics have argued in favour of lateral entry into the IAS to inject fresh blood into the service. They argue that it would help refresh the bureaucracy, offer competitiveness and bring in alternate perspectives.[82][83][84][85][86][87] A counter-argument has been put forward that a lateral entry process could be manipulated due to corruption and cronyism.[88] It is further argued that lateral entry would not lead to improvements in managerial performance or accountability,[89] and while it may create synergy between the government and big businesses, it could also compromise the integrity of government.[90] It has also been argued that it could weaken the bureaucracy instead.[91] The union government has frequently ruled out lateral entry into the IAS.[92][93][94]

Political influence[edit]

The IAS is hamstrung by political interference, outdated personnel procedures, and a mixed record on policy implementation, and it is in need of urgent reform. The Indian government should reshape recruitment and promotion processes, improve performance-based assessment of individual officers, and adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling.

— Vaishnav Milan and Saksham Khosla, The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, [95][96][97]

Several think tanks and media outlets have argued that the IAS is hamstrung by political influence within the service.[17][96][97][98] It has been reported that many local political leaders have been seen to have interfered with IAS officers. Politicians have also exerted pressure on IAS officers by repeatedly transferring them,[99][100][101][102] suspending them,[103][104][105] beating them,[106][107][108] and, in some extreme cases, killing them.[109][110]

While hearing T. S. R. Subramanian v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India ruled that IAS officers – and other civil servants – were not required to act on oral instructions given by politicians as they 'undermined credibility'.[111][112][113][114]

Corruption[edit]

In 2015 it was reported by the Government of India that 100 IAS officers had come under scrutiny by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged corruption.[115][116][117][118] In 2017 Government records showed that 379 IAS officers had deliberately failed to submit details of their immovable assets (IPR).[119] Since 2007, a number of chief secretaries[120][121][122] and a principal secretary[123][124][125] have been arrested in cases of graft or money laundering.[126][127][128] IAS officers have been found amassing disproportionate assets and wealth varying from 200 crore (equivalent to 242 crore or US$34 million in 2017),[129] to 350 crore (equivalent to 559 crore or US$78 million in 2017).[129][130] In 2016 it was reported that the Government would provide the means to prosecute corrupt IAS officers,[131] with the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions agreeing to receive requests from private citizens seeking punitive measures against IAS officers even without supporting documentation.[131]

In 2017, a Central Bureau of Investigation special court in Delhi sentenced a former Union Coal Secretary and two other IAS officers to two years in prison for their involvement in the coal allocation scam.[132][133]

In 2017 it was reported by the Department of Personnel and Training, part of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, that, since 2014, one IAS officer was prematurely retired from service, ten IAS officers had been deemed to have resigned, five had their pensions cut, and a further eight IAS officers suffered a cut in remuneration.[134][135][136][137]

In 2018 the Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr. Jitendra Singh, informed the Lok Sabha that disciplinary proceedings were underway against 36 IAS officers.[138]

Fake cases[edit]

A number of false cases have been registered against IAS officers as a tactic to prevent them from taking action against the reporting individuals.[139][140][141]

Missing IAS officers[edit]

In June 2015, The Telegraph reported that twelve IAS officers had gone missing, and had not reported to either the union or the state government for their allocated cadre.[2] It was believed that they were working in foreign countries for companies such as Microsoft for more lucrative pay.[2] The Asian Age later reported that the services of three of the twelve officers were likely to be terminated due to "prolonged absence from service".[142]

Notable IAS officers[edit]

Naresh Chandra, former IAS officer, former Cabinet Secretary of India. recipient of India's second highest civilian honour

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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