Civil Services of India - Civil Services of India -

Civil Services of India

Civil Services of India

The Civil Services of India runs the entire administration of the country. The elected ministers of India lay down the policies required to properly run the administrative machinery, which is then carried out by the civil servants in various central government agencies.

These civil servants are selected through the Civil Services Examination (CSE), the toughest nationwide competitive examination in India with a success rate of 0.1-0.3 percent– the least in the entire world.

The CSE is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to the various civil services in the Government of India. The most prominent of these civil services include the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others.


All India Civil Services
The All India Civil Services comprises the following services:

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
Indian Forest Service (IFS)
Indian Police Service (IPS)
The officers in these offices are recruited by the Centre, but placed under various State cadres after being trained by the Centre. They have a liability to serve both the Centre and the State.

Since 2012, the first tier of both the Civil Services Examination and the Indian Forest Service Examination are combined.

Central Civil Services (CCS)
The Central Civil Services (CCS) is directly concerned with the administration and permanent bureaucracy of the Government of India. The specialised civil services fields in India mostly belong to the central services.

The CCS are classified into Group A gazette officers, who are appointed by the President of India himself, and Group B gazette officers, who are appointed by President-ordered authorities (except for officers for the Central Secretariat Service, who are selected by the President).

Recruitment process:

The recruitment of the CCS is made through the Civil Services Examination, the Engineering Services Examination of UPSC and the Combined Graduate Level Examination of Staff Selection Commission (SSC).

State Civil Services
The State Civil Services also called the Provincial Civil Services deal with state related issues, including education, land revenue, forests, agriculture etc.

Recruitment process:

The State Public Service Commission’s conduct the recruitments for these offices.

What are IAS, IPS and IFS?


Cadre controlling authority: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

Recruitment through: UPSC Civil Services Examination


IAS officers handle government affairs. They frame policies pertaining to a certain area like finance or commerce, modify the policies if needed and implement them through touring and thorough supervision of fund allocation etc. An IAS officer may have to represent the government in another country or in international forums, and if he/she is a Deputy Secretary, even sign agreements on behalf of the government.


Two years of probationary period follows the appointment of an IAS officer, which is carried out in training schools, the Secretariat, offices on the field and in a District Magistrate’s office.

He or she works as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and proves his/her mettle by looking after the law and order, general administration and developmental work in the stipulated area.

After two years in a junior scale, the officer shifts to a senior scale and starts climbing the ranks. It is only after 24 years of service as an IAS officer, that a personal is prmoted above super time scale and may be designated with positions such as Principal Secretaries and Financial Commissioners.


An officer selected into the Indian Administrative Service gets exposure in very diverse roles like the collector, commissioner, head of public sector units, chief secretary, cabinet secretary etc.

The Cabinet Secretary is the top official who is involved in policy making, followed by Secretary/Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, Director, Under Secretary and Junior Scale Officers in that order.

The top ranking civil servant in the State is the Chief Secretary, who may be assisted by Additional Chief Secretaries; at the district level, it is the Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate, while the Divisional Commissioner is the top official in charge of his division at the divisional level.

IAS officers may get prestigious posts such as Finance Secretary, Development Commissioners and Home Secretary.


Cadre controlling authority: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

Recruitment through: UPSC Indian Forest Service Examination


The IFS officers sustain the environment and the ecological balance through strict implementation of the National Forest Policy. They work to conserve, protect and develop forests and wildlife.

Moreover, they also look towards developing the livelihood of forest-dependent communities in rural and tribal areas.

Where do they work?

IFS officers work in various forest and wildlife related national organisations such as the Wildlife Institute of India, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Forest Survey of India, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) etc.


IFS officers have the following ranks– Assistant Conservator of Forests – Probationary Officer, Divisional Forest Officer (DFOs), Deputy Conservator of Forests, Conservator of Forests (CFs), Chief Conservator of Forests (CCFs), Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Addl. PCCFs), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) (highest post in a State), Director General of Forests (India) (highest post at Centre).


Cadre controlling authority: Ministry of Home Affairs

Recruitment through: UPSC Civil Services Examination


IPS officers look after public safety and security, which includes prevention of crime and its detection, accident prevention, traffic control and management etc. The IPS is not a law enforcement agency, but all senior level police officers belong to IPS, irrespective of their agency of work. To promote greater efficacy in work, the police service has certain subdivisions– Crime Branch, Traffic Bureau, Home Guards and Criminal Investigation Department (CID).


The recruitment and training period for IPS extends to almost 2 years in total and is the the longest in all the services. The training period includes learning the language of the allotted state cadre.

Apart from the usual eligibility criteria, which are the same for other services, IPS officers need to clear special physical tests as well after they are allotted to a particular IPS as per his rank.

Where do they work?

An IPS officer can serve in security and intelligence based national organisations such as the Central Reserve Police Force, Central Bureau of Investigation, Border Security Force, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau etc. They can also get placed in several PSUs and CAPFs. They also get opportunities to work with international organisations such as the United Nations, International Cricket Council, Interpol, various embassies around the world etc.


IPS officers can be a Director General of Police, thus looking after the law in the entire state, a Superintendent of Police looking after law on a district level, a Deputy Commissioner taking care of metropolitan cities, or a Commissioner of Police looking after a city. A Commissioner of Police possesses magisterial powers.

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