Indian Administrative Service

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Indian Administrative Service
Service Overview
Formerly known as ICS
Formed 1893
(As Imperial Civil Service)
Country India
Staff College Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, (Uttarakhand)
Cadre Controlling Authority Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, Department of Personnel and Training
Legal personality Governmental: Government service
Duties Law & Order Management
Policy Formulation
Policy Implementation
Civil Administration
Advisors to Ministers
Managing bureaucracy (Center and State)
Preceding service Imperial Civil Service (1893–1946)
Cadre Strength 4926 members (3511 officers directly recruited by UPSC and 1415 officers promoted from state civil services) [1]
Selection Civil Services Examination
Association IAS Officers (Central) Association
Head of the Civil Services
Current Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Hindi: भारतीय प्रशासनिक सेवा) is the All India[2] administrative civil service. IAS officers hold key and strategic positions in the Union Government, States governments[2] and public-sector undertakings.[2] Like in various countries (for example UK) following a 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.

Along with the Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service, the IAS is one of the three All India Services — its cadre can be employed by both the Union Government and the individual States.[2]

Upon confirming to service after probation as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, an IAS officer is given administrative command of entire district administration in the district as District collector after four years of service. On attaining the upper levels of Super Time Scale to Apex Scale, they can go on to head whole departments and subsequently entire Ministries of Governments of India and its states. IAS officers represent Government of India at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. On deputations[3] they work at Intergovernmental organisations like World Bank[4] and United Nations or its Agencies.[3] IAS officers at various levels of administration play vital roles in conducting free, fair and smooth elections in India under the direction of Election Commission of India and states.[5]


The erstwhile Imperial Civil Service was the highest civil service of the British Empire in British India during British rule in the period between 1858 and 1947. Civil servants were divided into two categories - covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil service consisted of only white British civil servants occupying the higher posts in the government. The uncovenanted civil service was solely introduced to facilitate the entry of Indians at the lower rung of the administration.[6][7]

With the passing of the Government of India Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two – All India Services and Central Services.[8]

At the time of the partition of India and the departure of the British in 1947, the Imperial Civil Service was divided between the new Dominions of India and Pakistan. The part which went to India was named the Indian Administrative Service, while the part that went to Pakistan was named the "Civil Service of Pakistan".

Prime Minister Modi addressing IAS probationers (trainee officers), 2015


IAS officers are recruited from Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.[2] They are also promoted from State Civil Services[2] and selected from non-state civil service.[2] Unlike candidates selected for other civil services, a person once appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or Indian Foreign Service (IFS) becomes ineligible to reappear in Civil Services Examination[need quotation to verify], because, prior to 1979 a person to be eligible for IAS/IFS had to appear for additional papers but even after the UPSC civil services exam was made common, the status quo was maintained.[need quotation to verify][9]

After getting selected, candidates undergo training at LBSNAA, Mussoorie for IAS.

State Cadres[edit]

Being an All India Service, officers of the IAS are allotted to State cadres at the beginning of their service. They continue to work in that cadre or are deputed to Government of India. There is one cadre for each Indian state, except for three joint cadres: AssamMeghalaya, ManipurTripura, and Arunachal PradeshGoaMizoramUnion Territories (AGMUT).[10] The "insider-outsider ratio" (ratio of officers who are posted in their home states) is maintained as 1:2, with one-third of the direct recruits as 'insiders' from the same state.[11] The rest are posted as outsiders according to the 'roster' in states other than their home states,[11] as per their preference.

Till 2008 there was no system of preference of state cadre by the candidates; 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.[12] 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, in vogue since the mid-1980's, had ensured that officers from different states are placed all over India.

The system of permanent State cadres 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 states.[12] Changes of state cadre is permitted on grounds of marriage to an All India Service officer of another state cadre or under other exceptional circumstances. The officer may go to their home state cadre on deputation for a limited period, after which one has to invariably return to the cadre allotted to him or her.[10]

The centralising effect of cadre system 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.[13] 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."[14]

Functions of the civil servant/officer[edit]

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

  • 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 which requires supervision and proper enforcement at ground realities.[need quotation to verify]
  • In the process of policy formulation and decision making, when posted at central or state secretariat as Joint Secretary,Principal Secretary,Additional Secretary,Chief Secretary,Secretary and Cabinet Secretary at higher level contribute to the final shape of the policy and/or take a final decision with the concurrence of the minister concerned or the cabinet (depending on the gravity of the issue).[need quotation to verify]
  • To implement government policies at grass-root level when posted at field work i.e. as SDM, ADM, DM and Divisional Commissioner and act as intermediate between public and government by good execution and deliverance skills.[need quotation to verify]

Career Progression[edit]

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.[need quotation to verify] They proceed to various posts in the State and Central Governments, and also local-self Governments (Municpal Corporations / Zilla Parishads), and Public Sector Undertakings.[15] They also occupy posts in regulatory organizations such as SEBI (on deputation),[16] RBI (deemed to be resigned from IAS).[17] If appointed to Constitutional positions such as Election Commission of India or UPSC or statutory authorities such as Central or State Information Commissions, they are deemed to be retired from service. Some IAS officers are also deputed to private sector organizations under Rule 6(2)(ii) of the All India Service (Cadre) Rules.

Grade Field Posting(s) Position in the State Government(s) Position in the Central Government Pay Scale (per month)
Cabinet Secretary Grade



Cabinet Secretary of India


Apex Scale


Chief Secretary[a]



Above Super Time Scale

Divisional Commissioner

Principal Secretary[b]

Additional Secretary


Super Time Scale

Divisional Commissioner


Joint Secretary


Selection Grade

District Magistrate

Special Secretary



Junior Administrative Grade

District Magistrate

Joint Secretary

Deputy Secretary


Senior Time Scale

Additional District Magistrate

Deputy Secretary

Under Secretary


Junior Time Scale

Sub-Divisional Magistrate

Section Officer

Assistant Secretary


Major concerns and reforms[edit]

In 2015, it was reported that as many as 100 IAS officers have been in the list of corrupt bureaucrats and have come under the CBI scanner for alleged involvement in corruption cases.[23][24][25][26] Recently, several Chief Secretaries[27][28][29] and Principal Secretaries[30][31][32] were arrested in graft cases[33][34] and laundering.[35]

IAS officers have been found amassing disproportionate assets and wealth varying 2,000,000,000 (US$31 million),[36] 3,000,000,000 (US$46 million)[36] and 3,500,000,000 (US$54 million).[36]

In recent years, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has dismissed few IAS officers for non performance.[37][38][39] In 2016, it was reported that Government of India has decided to empower common man to seek prosecution of corrupt IAS officers.[40] Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (DOPT) has accepted to receive requests from private persons seeking sanction for prosecution in respect of IAS officers without any proper proposal and supporting documents.[40]

In popular culture[edit]

English, August, a novel by Upamanyu Chatterjee later made into a film of the same name, portrays the life of an IAS Probationer in his District training.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 Total Cadre strength of IAS as in January 2016" (PDF). Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Service Profile for Indian Administrative Service" (PDF). Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Consolidated Deputation Guidelines for All India Services" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Election Commission of India" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  6. ^ Meghna Sabharwal, Evan M. Berman "Public Administration in South Asia: India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (Public Administration and Public Policy," (2013)
  7. ^ "Civil Service". The British Library. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Goel, S.L. Public Personnel Administration : Theory and Practice. Deep and Deep Publications, 2008. ISBN 9788176293952. 
  9. ^ "Union Public Service Commission : Civil Services Examination, 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  10. ^ a b Educational Philosophy of Dr. Zakir Hussain. Dr. Noorejahan H. p. 325. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Radin, B.A. (2007). "The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in the 21st Century: Living in an Intergovernmental Environment" (PDF). International Journal of Public Administration. 30 (13): 1525–1548. doi:10.1080/01900690701229848. Retrieved 11 June 2008. 
  15. ^ "Terms and Conditions-All India Service Officer". 
  16. ^ PTI (1 March 2017). "Ajay Tyagi assumes office as Sebi chairman". 
  17. ^ "Subbarao appointed RBI Governor". 
  18. ^ "Awanish Kumar Awasthi appointed Principal Secretary to UP Chief Minister". Business Standard. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "Yogi Adiyanath seeks former Gorakhpur District Magistrate as Principal Secretary". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "Three more IAS officers from state posted as Joint Secretaries in Modi govt". The Indian Express. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "IAS Reforms: Cleaning Rust From the Frame". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "100 IAS officers came under CBI scanner in last 5 years: Government". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "Narendra Modi cautions IAS officers against corruption, laziness, despondency". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  25. ^ "1991 Batch IAS Officer Gets 4 Years In Jail In Corruption Case". NDTV. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "Cover Story: The buck stops here, in officers' pockets". Tehelka. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  27. ^ "24-Hour Raids At Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao's Home, Office". NDTV. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  28. ^ "Tamil Nadu chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, son raided, Rs 30 lakh in new notes". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  29. ^ "Former UP Chief Secretary arrested". Outlook (magazine). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  30. ^ "CBI books senior Chhattisgarh IAS officer for corruption". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "Delhi government suspends Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  32. ^ "Delhi Principal Secretary, four others arrested in graft case". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  33. ^ "Bihar suspends arrested IAS probationer on bribe charge". Business Standard. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  34. ^ "Bihar Bureaucrat In His First Posting Is Jailed For Rs. 80,000 Bribe". NDTV. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  35. ^ "Top IAS named in grants swindle". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  36. ^ a b c "IAS officer with Rs 80,000 salary has Rs 200 cr wealth". India Today. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  37. ^ "Senior IAS officer sacked for non-performance". Press Trust of India. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  38. ^ "MP: Corruption charges framed against Arvind, Tinoo Joshi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  39. ^ "Dismissed IAS officer Arvind Joshi, who was on the run, surrenders". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  40. ^ a b "Centre to empower common man to punish corrupt babus". The Economic Times. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 


  1. ^ Position such as Chief Secretary of Pondicherry is equivalent to Joint Secretary to Government of India.
  2. ^ In all north eastern states and also few other states like Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh[18][19] an officer in the post and rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India holds the post of Principal Secretary.[20].

External links[edit]