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Indian Administrative Service

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Hindi: भारतीय प्रशासनिक सेवा) is an All-India service[2] for administration.

Indian Administrative Service
Service Overview
Formerly known as ICS
Founded 1858
(As Imperial Civil 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 Pension
Minister Responsible Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and Minister responsible for Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension
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 (1858–1946)
Cadre Strength 4926 members (3511 officers directly recruited by UPSC and 1415 officers promoted from state civil services) [1]
Head of the Civil Services
Current Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS

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[3] in India forms an inseparable part of the executive branch of the Government of India[4], thus providing continuity to the administration.[5]

Along with the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), 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 in the district as District Magistrate and Collector after four years of service, after sixteen years of service in some states, an IAS officer heads a whole division in state, as its Commissioner. On attaining the Apex Scale, they go on to head whole departments and subsequently entire Ministries of Governments of India and its states. IAS officers represent the Government of India at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. On deputations[6] they work at Intergovernmental organisations like World Bank[7][8] and United Nations or its Agencies.[6] 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.[9]



The former 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.[13][14]

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.[15]

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 Central Superior Services of Pakistan.


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,[16] 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.[17][18] After getting selected, candidates undergo training at LBSNAA, Mussoorie for IAS.

State CadresEdit

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 two joint cadres: AssamMeghalaya and Arunachal PradeshGoaMizoramUnion Territories (AGMUT).[19] 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.[20] The rest are posted as outsiders according to the 'roster' in states other than their home states,[20] 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.[21] 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.[21] 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.[19]

Functions of an IAS officerEdit

Typically the functions of an IAS officer are as follows:

  • 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.[22]
  • 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.[2]
  • 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).[2]

Career ProgressionEdit

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.[23] They proceed to various posts in the State and Central Governments, and also local-self Governments (Municipal Corporations / Zilla Parishads), and Public Sector Undertakings.[24] They also occupy posts in regulatory organizations such as SEBI,[25] RBI.[26] 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.[27] Some IAS officers are also deputed to private sector organizations under Rule 6(2)(ii) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954.[28]

Grade/Level on Pay Matrix[29] Field Posting(s) Position in the State Government(s) Position in the Central Government Position in Indian Order of Precedence Base Salary (per month)[29]
Cabinet Secretary Grade (Pay level 18)



Cabinet Secretary of India



Apex Scale (Pay level 17)


Chief Secretary




Higher Administrative Grade (Above Super Time Scale) (Pay level 15)

Divisional Commissioner

Principal Secretary

Additional Secretary



Senior Administrative Grade (Above Super Time Scale) (Pay level 14)

Divisional Commissioner


Joint Secretary



Selection Grade (Pay level 13)

District Magistrate

Special Secretary



Junior Administrative Grade (Pay level 12)

District Magistrate

Joint Secretary

Deputy Secretary


Senior Time Scale (Pay level 11)

Additional District Magistrate

Deputy Secretary

Under Secretary


Junior Time Scale (Pay level 10)

Sub-Divisional Magistrate

Under Secretary

Assistant Secretary


Major concerns and reformsEdit

Lateral EntryEdit

Media personnel, some retired IAS officers and a few academicians have argued in favour of lateral entry into IAS, so to inject fresh blood into the service. They argue that it would help freshening up the bureaucracy, and would offer competitiveness and an alternate point of view.[31][32][33]

However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there is fear that once such a bureaucratic process is set in motion, it will become a precedent for all time and could be cited and manipulated by future governments at the centre and the states to plant people regardless of their worth.[34] They argue that lateral entry would open the floodgates for a spoils system. It will not by itself lead to enhanced managerial performance or accountability.[35] They argue, while lateral entry may create synergy between the government and big businesses, but it will also compromise the integrity of the government.[36]

Some also argue that far from infusing energy, it could further enfeeble the bureaucracy.[37]

The Union government, on many occasions, has ruled out lateral entry into IAS.[38][39][40]

Political InfluenceEdit

Many think tanks and media personnel have argued that the IAS is hamstrung by the political influence in the service.[30][41] Many local political leaders have been seen to have force IAS officers’ hand. Politicians threaten IAS officers by frequently transferring them,[42][43][44] suspending them,[45][46][47] and in some extreme cases, threatening to kill them.[48][49]


In 2015, it was reported by Government of India 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.[50][51][52][53] Further, as per Government of India records, over 1,800 IAS officers deliberately failed to submit details of their immovable assets to federal government for year 2016.[54]

Recently, several Chief Secretaries[55][56][57] and Principal Secretaries[58][59][60] were arrested in graft cases[61][62] and laundering.[63] IAS officers have been found amassing disproportionate assets and wealth varying 2,000,000,000 (US$31 million),[64] 3,000,000,000 (US$47 million)[64] and 3,500,000,000 (US$55 million).[64]

In 2017, a former Secretary to Government of India and few other IAS officers were sentenced to jail for the coal allocation scam by a CBI special court in Delhi.[65][66]

In 2017, it was reported by Department of Personnel and Training of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions that 24 officers from IAS along with 381 Group A Service officers had been premature retired and granted cut in remuneration.[67] In recent years, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has dismissed few IAS officers for non performance.[68][69][70] In 2016, it was reported that Government of India has decided to empower common man to seek prosecution of corrupt IAS officers.[71] 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.[71]

Notable IAS OfficersEdit

See alsoEdit


  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 h i "Service Profile for the Indian Administrative Service" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Indian bureaucracy". Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Article 312(2) of Constitution of India" (PDF). Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ Bhattacharjee, Subhomoy (June 22, 2017). "In defence of administrative continuity". Business Standard. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Consolidated Deputation Guidelines for All India Services" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. November 28, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ Langa, Mahesh (August 6, 2017). "S. Aparna appointed Executive Director, World Bank". The Hindu. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Election Commission of India" (PDF). Election Commission of India. December 29, 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Discussion in Constituent Assembly on role of Indian Administrative Service". Government of India. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Save the integrity of the civil service". Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "One Who Forged India’s Steel Frame". H.N. Bali. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  13. ^ Meghna Sabharwal, Evan M. Berman "Public Administration in South Asia: India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (Public Administration and Public Policy," (2013)
  14. ^ "Civil Service". The British Library. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Goel, S.L. Public Personnel Administration : Theory and Practice. Deep and Deep Publications, 2008. ISBN 9788176293952. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Tikku, Aloke (July 4, 2016). "Civil services aspirants to be spared two additional papers". Hindustan Times. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Union Public Service Commission : Civil Services Examination, 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  19. ^ a b Educational Philosophy of Dr. Zakir Hussain. Dr. Noorejahan H. 2008. p. 325. ISBN 9788182202412. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  20. ^ a b "Cadre allocation policy for the All India Services - IAS/IPS/IFS" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "Old Cadre allocation policy for All India Services - IAS/IPS/IFS" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. May 30, 1985. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Responsibilities of an IAS officer". Jagran Josh. Dainik Jagran. November 5, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Terms and Conditions-All India Service Officer". Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. August 21, 2002. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  25. ^ PTI (March 1, 2017). "Ajay Tyagi assumes office as Sebi chairman". Live Mint. HT Media. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Subbarao appointed RBI Governor". The Hindu. September 2, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Alka Sirohi appointed UPSC chairman". Times of India. September 18, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  28. ^ "The Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) rules, 1954" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 1954. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  29. ^ a b "Report of the 7th Central Pay Commission of India" (PDF). Seventh Central Pay Commission, Government of India. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  30. ^ a b Khosla, Saksham; Vaishnav, Milan (September 12, 2016). "IAS Reforms: Cleaning Rust From the Frame". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  31. ^ "The need for lateral entry in civil services". Live Mint. HT Media. July 19, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  32. ^ Natarajan, Gulzar; Subbarao, Duvvuri (August 9, 2017). "The case for lateral entry". The Indian Express. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  33. ^ Kumar, Gudipati Rajendra (July 26, 2017). "Need for lateral entry into Civil Services". The Hans India. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  34. ^ Chandra, Shailaja (July 15, 2017). "Should the government allow lateral entry into the civil services?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  35. ^ Rae, Vivek (February 21, 2015). "Vivek Rae: Lateral entry into the civil service is not a good idea". Business Standard. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  36. ^ Patnaik, Sampad (August 19, 2016). "Caution, Proceed Slowly: An Argument Against Allowing Lateral Entry into the IAS". The Wire. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  37. ^ Natarajan, Gulzar (April 13, 2015). "Lateral entry, blind alley". The Indian Express. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Government rules out lateral entry into IAS". Times of India. December 11, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Government rules out lateral entry into civil services". Business Standard. August 10, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Government rules out lateral entry into civil services". The Indian Express. August 10, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  41. ^ "With political influence controlling IAS, Indian civil services need urgent reform: US think-tank". NewsX. September 3, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  42. ^ Patel, Ananad Kumar (April 2, 2015). "45th Transfer for IAS Officer Ashok Khemka, BJP Downplays it". NDTV. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  43. ^ "Haryana moves IAS officer Khemka again: 47th transfer in 25 years". Hindustan Times. April 8, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  44. ^ Sehgal, Manjeet (April 12, 2017). "Chandigarh: Haryana IAS officer Pradeep Kasni transferred for 68th time in 33 years". India Times. The Times Group. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  45. ^ Zanane, Anant (August 4, 2013). "Durga Shakti Nagpal, suspended IAS officer, served chargesheet by UP government". NDTV. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  46. ^ Mishra, Ishita (October 12, 2014). "Akhilesh suspends Durga Shakti Nagpal’s IAS husband". Times of India. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  47. ^ Sriram, Jayant (August 9, 2013). "The Officer Who Dared". India Times. The Times Group. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  48. ^ Singh, Sanjay (October 2, 2007). "6 Bihar politicos convicted for killing IAS officer". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  49. ^ "Caught on tape: Abusive Rajasthan BJP MLA threatens to kill CMO, suspended". Firstpost. December 19, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  50. ^ "100 IAS officers came under CBI scanner in last 5 years: Government". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  51. ^ "Narendra Modi cautions IAS officers against corruption, laziness, despondency". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  52. ^ "1991 Batch IAS Officer Gets 4 Years In Jail In Corruption Case". NDTV. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  53. ^ "Cover Story: The buck stops here, in officers’ pockets". Tehelka. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  54. ^ "Over 1,800 IAS officers fail to disclose asset details". The Economic Times. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  55. ^ "24-Hour Raids At Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao's Home, Office". NDTV. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  56. ^ "Tamil Nadu chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, son raided, Rs 30 lakh in new notes". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  57. ^ "Former UP Chief Secretary arrested". Outlook (magazine). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  58. ^ "CBI books senior Chhattisgarh IAS officer for corruption". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  59. ^ "Delhi government suspends Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  60. ^ "Delhi Principal Secretary, four others arrested in graft case". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  61. ^ "Bihar suspends arrested IAS probationer on bribe charge". Business Standard. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  62. ^ "Bihar Bureaucrat In His First Posting Is Jailed For Rs. 80,000 Bribe". NDTV. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  63. ^ "Top IAS named in grants swindle". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  64. ^ a b c "IAS officer with Rs 80,000 salary has Rs 200 cr wealth". India Today. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  65. ^ "Coal scam: Former coal secretary H C Gupta, two other IAS officers get two years in jail". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  66. ^ "IAS trio convicted in coal scam". The Telegraph (Calcutta) . Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  67. ^ "381 babus, including 24 IAS, punished: Personnel ministry to PM Modi". The Economic Times. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  68. ^ "Senior IAS officer sacked for non-performance". Press Trust of India. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  69. ^ "MP: Corruption charges framed against Arvind, Tinoo Joshi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  70. ^ "Dismissed IAS officer Arvind Joshi, who was on the run, surrenders". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  71. ^ a b "Centre to empower common man to punish corrupt babus". The Economic Times. July 21, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 


External linksEdit