Indian Telecommunication Service

The Indian Telecommunications Service, widely known as ITS, and earlier known as 'Telegraph Engineering Service Class I' (TES Class I) is one of the central engineering services (gazetted) under Group 'A' of the executive branch of the Government of India.[1] The appointment to this service is done through Combined Engineering Services Exam held every year by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) of India. The service was created to meet the technical functions of the government in areas related to telecommunications.The Department of Telecommunications (DOT) had been managed technically for years by this permanent cadre of central government recruit-engineers called the Indian Telecommunications Service (ITS).

Indian Telecommunication Service
Emblem of India.svg
Service Overview
Formerly known asTelegraph Engineering Service Class-I (TES Class-I)
Country India
HeadquartersSanchar Bhawan
New Delhi
Training AcademyNational Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training, Ghaziabad
Cadre Controlling AuthorityDepartment of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications (India)
Minister responsibleSanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Minister of Communications
Legal PersonalityGovernmental; Engineering
DutiesPolicy formulation
Policy implementation
Information and Communication Technology Administration
Cadre Size1690
SelectionEngineering Services Examination
AssociationIndian Telecom Service Association
Service Chief
Member (Services), Digital Communications CommissionShri Deepak Chaturvedi,ITS
Head of the Civil Services
Cabinet SecretaryShri Rajiv Gauba, IAS

The officers of ITS are working in senior technical positions in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM Cells) now known as DoT Licensed Service Area(LSA), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL), Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Unique Identification Authority of India (UID), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Metro Rail Corporations etc. At present, ITS officers are also working in many Departments of central government and state government on deputation.

Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications (India), under the Government of India, is the Cadre Controlling Authority of the Indian Telecommunication Service.


William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, who is widely considered as the father of Indian Telegraph.

Telecommunications in India began with the introduction of the telegraph. The Indian postal and telecom sectors are one of the world's oldest. In 1850, the first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour. In 1851, it was opened for the use of the British East India Company. The Posts and Telegraphs department occupied a small corner of the Public Works Department,[2] at that time.

The construction of 4,000 miles (6,400 km) of telegraph lines was started in November 1853. These connected Kolkata (then Calcutta) and Peshawar in the north; Agra, Mumbai (then Bombay) through Sindwa Ghats, and Chennai (then Madras) in the south; Ootacamund and Bangalore. William O'Shaughnessy, who pioneered the telegraph and telephone in India, belonged to the Public Works Department, and worked towards the development of telecom throughout this period. A separate department was opened in 1854 when telegraph facilities were opened to the public.

In the beginning the Indian Telegraph Department (ITD) comprised operating and maintenance staff, headed by one Superintendent of Telegraphs and with three Deputy Superintendents in Bombay, Madras and Pegu in Burma and Inspectors at Indore, Agra, Kanpur and Banares. The first Superintendent was William O'Shaughnessy, who later became the first Director-General of ITD. The first India-Ceylon cable was laid in 1858. In 1865, the first Indo-European telegraph communication was effected and two years later a new cable was laid between India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1873, Duplex telegraphy was introduced between Bombay and Calcutta.[3]

In 1880, two telephone companies namely The Oriental Telephone Company Ltd. and The Anglo-Indian Telephone Company Ltd. approached the Government of India to establish telephone exchange in India. The permission was refused on the grounds that the establishment of telephones was a Government monopoly and that the Government itself would undertake the work. In 1881, the Government later reversed its earlier decision and a licence was granted to the Oriental Telephone Company Limited of England for opening telephone exchanges at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Ahmedabad and the first formal telephone service was established in the country.[4] On 28 January 1882, Major E. Baring, Member of the Governor General of India's Council declared open the Telephone Exchanges in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The exchange in Calcutta named the "Central Exchange" had a total of 93 subscribers in its early stage. Later that year, Bombay also witnessed the opening of a telephone exchange.[5]

The important year was 1905 when the control of the Telegraph Department was transferred from the PWD to the Commerce & Industry Department except for matters connected with buildings and electricity. A year later, the baudot system was introduced between Calcutta and Bombay and between Calcutta and Rangoon. In 1907, women signallers were employed for the first time. In 1910 the technical branch came into being as a separate organisation under the Electrical Engineer in Chief. The next two years saw the introduction of Circle Scheme and decentralisation and two years later, that is, in 1914, the Postal and Telegraph Departments were amalgamated under a single Director-General. The year also witnessed the opening of the first automatic exchange at Simla (Shimla) with a capacity of 700 lines and 400 actual connections.

Radio telephone communications between England and India were opened in 1933; the Indo-Burma Radio Telephone service started functioning between Madras and Rangoon in 1936; the Burma and Aden telegraph systems, which were a part of the Indian telegraph system, got separated in 1937; deluxe telegrams with foreign countries were introduced in 1937; the Bombay-Australian wireless telegraph service and Bombay-China wireless service were inaugurated in 1942; the Bombay, Calcutta and Madras Telephone Systems were taken over by the ITD in 1943; a Telecommunications Development Board was set up; the Bombay-New York Wireless Telegraph Service was commissioned in 1944.

In the 1980s, the first satellite earth station for domestic communications was set up at Secundrabad, the Troposcatter system link with the Soviet Union was inaugurated, the first SPC electronic digital telex exchange and the first SPC analogue electronic trunk automatic exchange were commissioned in Bombay, the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) was established, the first mobile telephone service and the first radio paging service were introduced in Delhi, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) were set up, and the international gateway packet switch system was commissioned in Bombay. The 1980s also saw the restructuring of the P&T Department into the Department of Posts and the Department of Telecommunications, the constitution of Telecom Commission, and the reorganisation of telecommunication circles with the Secondary Switching Areas as the basic units.

Indian Telecommunication Service (ITS) was constituted in 1965 as Telegraph Engineering Service Group ‘A’ which was renamed as ITS in 1978. Prior to this, this service was known as “Superior Telegraph Engineering and Wireless Branches of the Posts and Telegraphs Department” dating to pre-independence times. This service is primarily responsible for policy, technical, administrative and managerial functions of the government in the areas related to telecommunications.[6]


ITS (Indian Telecommunication Service) is an organized Group-A service for which recruitment is conducted through competitive examination called Engineering Service Examination (ESE) which is a three-stage competitive examination (preliminary, main and personality tests) and is conducted by the UPSC every year. Officers recruited through ESE manage diverse fields. Recruitment by UPSC to Group A Services/Posts are made under the following categories of Engineering:

I. Civil Engineering
II. Mechanical Engineering
III. Electrical Engineering
IV. Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering

Appointments to ITS are made in category IV, i.e., Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering.


After recruitment through Engineering Services Examination conducted by UPSC, the officers undergo a rigorous two-year probation course at National Telecommunication Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training( at Ghaziabad where ITS probationers are groomed as Future leaders to handle various techno-managerial matters in Government of India. During probation, ITS Officers undergo various study visits across India to study various ICT best practices and practical exposure of various technological developments. To foster innovation and to create holistic development of probationers, ITS probationers also undergo various attachments to TRAI, NoCC, Smart City Mission, Election Commission of India, NDMA etc. Officers also undergo a 15-week Foundation course where they are provided with Rural and Urban site visit exposure along with various management and administration functions like Law, Polity, Disaster Management, Management etc.

National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training in ALTTC, Ghaziabad


As ITS Officers are backbone enablers of various digital technological developments in India, they are imparted latest training pertaining to various administrative and technical aspects. The officers are also deputed for on job field training in various areas like Disaster Management, Coordination with states, telecom operations etc. During probation, Officers also get the opportunity to meet various Government dignitaries like Hon'ble President of India, Hon'ble Vice President of India and Hon'ble Minister of Communications etc.

Appointments and responsibilitiesEdit

After Selection through UPSC Engineering Services Exam, ITS Officers attend 2 years Probationary training. After probation, ITS Officers are posted in DoT HQs, Telecom Engineering Centre, DoT LSA Units (Field Enforcement Units of DoT) at all India locations. ITS officers are working at various positions across India and are liable to be transferred across India. The officers of ITS work in DoT, TRAI, TDSAT, Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, UIDAI, Ministry of Power, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Department of Defence, National Highway Authority of India, RITES, IRCON, TCIL, UPSC, SSC, Patents and Copyrights Office, Election Commission of India, IBBI, SFIO and various other Ministries and Statutory bodies of India along with various state governments. ITS officers are not only playing a key role in various ICT initiatives of Government of India but a key contributors in assisting states in formation of their ICT policies of states like IoT policies, Electronics Manufacturing etc.

Brief Duties and Responsibilities of Officers of ITS GR.'A'Edit

I. Issuing various types of Licenses/Registrations to Telecom Service Providers, Internet Service Providers etc and other service providers etc.
II. Handling Matters related to National Security and Lawful Interception
III. Handling of Policy, Licensing and Coordination matters relating to telegraphs,Satellite, telephones, wireless, data, facsimile and telematic services and other like forms of communications in Department of Telecommunications
IV. International cooperation in matters connected with telecommunications including matters relating to all international bodies dealing with telecommunications such as International Telecommunication Union (ITU), its Radio Regulation Board (RRB), Radio Communication Sector (ITU-R), Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), Development Sector (ITU-D), International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), International Mobile Satellite Organization (INMARSAT), Asia Pacific Telecommunication (APT).
V. Handling various National Importance projects like Bharat Net Project (backbone of Flagship Mission-Digital India Campaign), LWE Project, NE Telecom Connectivity plan etc.
VI. Coordination with various state Authorities for CCTNS Project,anchoring of CERTs,Smart City Project, Disaster Management, RoW issues, EMF Monitoring.
VII. Ensuring Network coverage/connectivity of villages for Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) mission and of Banks in rural areas under Financial Inclusion Planning (FIP)
VIII. Design, Planning, Implementation of projects funded by DoT & USOF
IX. Making various ICT related standards pertaining to various ICT products along with preparation of various GRs, IRs, White papers etc and Improving the ICT Development Index of India.
X. Human Resource Development and Capacity Building of ITS, Gr.'A'
XI. Investigation and curbing of Illegal activities in Telecom Networks, Analysis of Telecom Traffic, Call drop issues etc..
XII. Works related to inspection of sites related to EMR Measurement and monitoring etc..
XIII. Various Audits related to CAF, Security Audit of Networks of all Telecom and Internet Service Providers of India.
XIV. Act as a technical interface between Law Enforcement Agencies(LEAs) and Telecom Service Providers.


The designations and time-scales within the Indian Telecom Service are as follows after cadre restructure

Position / Pay Grade in the Government of India Level and Rank Equivalent Position or Designation in the Administrative Service/ Police Service
1 Junior Time Scale Assistant Divisional Engineer Telecom / Entry-level (Equivalent to Under Secretary Trainee) Additional District Magistrate/Assistant Superintendent of Police
2 Senior Time Scale Assistant Director General (Equivalent to) Under Secretary to Government of India District Magistrate/ Superintendent of Police
3 Junior Administrative Grade Director (Equivalent to) Deputy Secretary to Government of India District Magistrate/Special Secretary/Senior Superintendent of Police
4 Selection Grade Director (Equivalent to) Director to Government of India Divisional Commissioner/Additional Secretary/Deputy Inspector General of Police
5 Senior Administrative Grade Deputy Director General (Equivalent to) Joint Secretary to Government of India Divisional Commissioner/ Secretary/Inspector General of Police
6 Higher Administrative Grade Senior Deputy Director General (Equivalent to) Additional Secretary to Government of India Principal Secretary/Additional Director General of Police
7 Higher Administrative Grade + Advisor (Equivalent to) Special Secretary to Government of India Chief Secretary/ Director General of Police
8 Apex Scale Director General of Telecom / Member (Equivalent to) Secretary to Government of India Secretary to the Government of India

Cadre controlling authorityEdit

Member (Services), Telecom Commission of India is cadre controlling authority of ITS, Group A. Member(Services)is ex officio Secretary to Government of India. ' Currently, Shri Bharat Kumar Jog, ITS is Member(Services), Department of Telecom, Government of India and cadre controlling authority of Indian Telecommunication Service.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Notification dated 29 May 1992 published in part II, section 3, sub-section (1) of the gazette of India, Government of India
  2. ^ "Public Works Department". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Vatsal Goyal, Premraj Suman. "The Indian Telecom Industry" (PDF). IIM Calcutta. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  5. ^ "History of Calcutta telephones". Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^,_Ghaziabad.jpg
  8. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Connecting India: Indian Telecom Story, by S.D. Saxena. Published by Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, New Delhi,2009 ISBN 978-81-220-0768-8.
  • Indian bureaucracy at the crossroads, by Syamal Kumar Ray. Published by Sterling, 1979.
  • Daily Indian Telecom Digest :
  • MB Athreya,January–February 1996,Chairman of the Telecom Restructuring Committee, Government of India (1990–91).'India's telecommunications policy:A paradigm shift' Telecommunications Policy Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 11–22

External linksEdit