UPSC Services

The Indian Civil Services consists of two major sections namely, The All India Services and the Central Services. Officers of the All India Services, on appointment by the Government of India are placed under different state administrations. These services include:

  1. Indian Administrative service (IAS)
  2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
  3. Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Officers of the Central Services on the contrary serve Government of India only irrespective of the postings all over India.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

The IAS (Indian Administrative Service) was formally constituted in 1947. The IAS handles affairs of the government. At the central level, this involves the framing and implementation of policy. At the district level, it is concerned with district affairs, including developmental functions. At the divisional level, the IAS officers look after law and order, general administration and development work. In the Government of India (i.e. in the ministries), IAS officers deal with the formulation of policies and supervise their implementation. In each Ministry they supervise the allotment and utilization of funds by the field officers in the Ministry. They may also be asked to furnish information to the Parliament in response to queries relating to the Ministry. Sometimes, their works entail visits to the States. Depending on the rank, an IAS officer might even be the government nominee on the Board of Directors of some Public Sector Corporation. They may also at times be nominated to independently represent India at International forums or accompany the Minister for such meetings. From the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India, they can sign international agreements on behalf of the Government of India. However, more than half their career life will be spent in the State they are allocated, where they will look after law and order, general administration, revenue work and developmental functions. During the course of their two-year probation they will be attached to various training schools, to the Secretariat and field offices and to a district collector’s office. Here they will do the work of a sub magistrate. On completion of their two-year’s probation they will be appointed as a Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM). As SDM they will look after law and order, general administration, revenue work and such developmental work as may be assigned to them. In the next three scales i.e. Senior Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Selection Grade they will serve as District Magistrate, Chief Development Officer, Director of a department, Managing Director of a Public Sector Unit or a Senior officer in the State Secretariat. In other words, they could be a District Magistrate in their fifth year of service and remain a DM till they are promoted to the Super Time Scale in the 17th year of their service. Following this there are promotions in scale to the ranks of Principal Secretary and additional Chief Secretary. The highest post in the State is that of the Chief Secretary.

Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

The Indian Foreign Service deals with the country’s external affairs, including diplomacy, trade and cultural relations. It is responsible for the administration and activities of Indian missions abroad, and for the framing and implementation of the Government’s foreign policy. After the training at Mussoorie, the IFS probationers are attached to the Ministry of External Affairs and have to become conversant in a major foreign language. During the second year they are appointed as Third Secretaries in Indian Embassy/High Commission where that language is spoken. They spend another two years in the same Embassy as Second Secretaries. After two postings abroad, the IFS Officers are posted in India in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). In the MEA, they will look after India’s political, economic and commercial work. In the Senior Scale and the Junior Administrative Grade the IFS Officers are appointed as First Secretaries. In the Selection Grade, IFS Officers serve as Counsellors. In very small countries the Indian Ambassador would be in that grade. In the supertime scale, many IFS Officers become Ambassadors of medium sized countries while others are appointed as Ministers in the large embassies like Washington and Moscow. In the Additional Secretaries Grade, IFS Officers are made ambassadors in relatively big embassies or as Deputy High Commissioner in London. The Indian Embassies/High Commissions like Moscow, Washington and London are headed by Ambassadors of the rank of Secretary. At this level, some Ambassadors are non-IFS Officers like politicians, retired or serving IAS Officers or retired Defence Chief. There are four to five Secretary level officers in the MEA- the senior most being the Foreign Secretary.

Indian Police Service (IPS)

The IPS (Indian Police Service) is responsible for public safety and security. The IPS mainly takes care of law and order, which, at the district level, is a responsibility shared with the IAS; crime prevention and detection; and traffic control and accident prevention and management. In order to fulfil these functions with greater efficiency, this service is divided into various functional departments, including: a) Crime Branch b) Criminal Investigation Department (CID) c) Home Guards d) Traffic Bureau. A number of Central Policing Agencies are also headed by the IPS. These include: the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Cabinet Secretariat Security, the Border Security Force (BSF), and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). During the probation period they will undergo a year training in the office of a Superintendent of Police of a district in the State they have been allocated. On completing their two-year probation, they will be confirmed as a three star Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). They will then in all probability be posted as the Police Officer of a sub-division (SDPO) for two years till they are promoted to the Senior Scale. As the SDPO, Superintendent of Police, Senior Superintendent of Police of a District and as Deputy Inspector General of a Range (group of districts), they will be exclusively responsible for the prevention and detection of crime. However, the law and order duties will be shared with their IAS counterpart. In cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, the law and order duties are the exclusive responsibility of the police force. In these cities the ASP, SP, and the DIG are called Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACPO), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and Commissioner of Police (CP). On being promoted to the Senior Scale they could serve as ASP of a larger district for the first two years or SP of a small district. They are likely to spend about thirteen years covering the Senior Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Selection Grade as SP/SSP of a district, SP (Crime), SP (CID), SP (Home Guards), the head of some police battalion, SP (Traffic) and so on. Outside the districts, the most satisfying jobs are in the intelligence agencies of the Government of India especially in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). There are many other Central agencies to which the IPS Officers may be sent on deputation at every stage of their career, except in the Junior Scale. Some of these are the Cabinet Secretariat, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force. Unlike IAS Officers who cannot permanently serve the Central government, some IPS dominated central agencies absorb the IPS Officers till they retire. The senior posts in the IPS are those of the Deputy Inspector General, Inspector General, Additional DG and Director General.

Indian Customs and Central Excise Service

It is basically concerned with two main aspects, mainly Customs and Excise. While Customs is concerned with the checking and levy of duty on taxable goods brought into the country, the Excise department is involved with the taxation of goods manufactured within the country.


Customs officers could be dealing with customs, excise or narcotics related matters. They are not only posted in important coastal and border towns or in towns with international airports, they can be posted anywhere. Their probation will be either in Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata or Delhi and in the Junior and Senior scales they will be designated as Assistant Commissioner of Customs. As Deputy Commissioner in the JAG they will move to much bigger towns. In this grade of Junior Administration Grade (JAG) they could later become Additional Commissioner of Customs.

Central Excise

Probation will be in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai or Chennai and will be posted in industrial townships to begin with and then in big cities. In the Junior Scale, the Central excise officer could serve as Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise. They can hold the latter rank in the senior scale also. In the JAG they could be a Deputy or Additional Commissioner of Central Excise. Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise are officers in the Senior Administrative Grade. They wield enormous power and the jurisdiction which normally extends over several states. Chief Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise are placed in the next higher grade which is similar to that of Additional Secretaries. After that they can aspire to become a member of the Central Board of Excise and Customs and later even its Chairman.

Indian Revenue Service

The job involves all the processes from investigation to decisions and policy planning. As the job deals with the fiscal policy and budget, aptitude for accounts as well as a legal aptitude is useful. The professional training is conducted in the National Academy of Direct Taxes, Nagpur and the probationer will also receive on-thE-job training at an Assistant Commissioner’s office for sometime. Following this they will serve as an Assistant Commissioner for about eight years. They will examine cases in which the tax assessed is more than the prescribed figure. Assistant Commissioners deal with income and losses between Rs 2-5 lakhs. In the Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) and Selection Grade they would be a Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax or Deputy Director (Investigation). Deputy Commissioners (Assessment) handle cases above Rs 5 lakhs. In the Senior Administrative Grade they could be a Commissioner of Income Tax in a metropolitan town or one of the state capitals or a Director of Income Tax. Some of these Commissioners are designated Chief-Commissioners of Income Tax and are in a scale similar to that of Additional Secretaries. The Director General of Income Tax is also in this scale. The head of the Income Tax hierarchy is the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and is assisted by six members.

Indian Railway Service

It is essentially responsible for the running of India’s vast railway network. There are four non-technical and technical or engineering cadres in the railways. Entry for non-technical services- the Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS), the Indian Railway Personnel Services (IRPS), the Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS), and the Railway Police Service is through the Civil Services examination. However, the engineering services have a different recruitment procedure.

Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS)

This service looks after commercial (goods and passengers) and operational (movement of trains) functions with an emphasis on safety. In the Junior Scale, they will serve as either Assistant Commercial Manager or Assistant Operating Manager and posted at the Divisional Headquarters. If posted at a very big railway station they may be designated as Assistant Transport Manager. Within four years of service they are likely to get the senior scale and posted at divisional headquarters as Divisional Commercial Manager or Divisional Operating Manager or Divisional Safety Officer. Most of the branch officers like the Senior Divisional Commercial Manager or Senior Divisional Operating Manager are in the JAG. At the zonal level the hierarchy is as follows: On the Commercial side, the structure is headed by the Chief Commercial Manager followed by the Additional Chief Commercial Manager and the Deputy Chief Commercial Manager. On the operations side, the Chief Operations Manager is at the head, followed by the Additional Chief Operations Manager, Chief Freight Traffic Manager, Chief Passenger Traffic Manager and the Deputy Chief Operations Manager.

Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS)

This service monitors all the income and expenditure of the vast railway network. In the Junior Scale, as an IRAS officer they will be posted to divisional headquarters as Assistant Accounts Officers. On being promoted to the senior scale they will become a Divisional Accounts Officer and in the JAG they will be designated as Senior Divisional Accounts Officer. In the Senior Administrative Grade they are promoted to the coveted position of Financial Advisor-cum-Chief Accounts Officer of a zone.

Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

As an officer in this service the IRPS officers will deal with recruitment, promotions, in service training and welfare of the employees. They will be interested to know that IRPS officers get the equivalent of the Supertime Scale before any other service of the Government of India. The postings are as follows:

In the junior scale, they will be designated Assistant Personnel Officer and posted at Divisional Headquarters. Following this they will become a Divisional Personnel Officer in the Senior Scale and Senior Divisional Personnel Officer of Deputy Chief Planning Officer in the JAG.

They will be made Additional Chief Planning Officer once they get the selection grade. In the Senior Administrative Grade they will be designated Chief Personnel Officer and serve at Zonal Headquarters. At a non-divisional set-up there are commensurate posts for officers belonging to all the railway services.

Railway Protection Force This force protects one of the biggest railway networks in the world. RPF officer’s training will be at Vadodra and Lucknow. The Junior and Senior scales are similar to the other railway services. There is no equivalent of JAG or SG. Instead, they have the grades of Senior Commandant, Head Quarters and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) respectively. The Inspector General’s grade is the same as the IAS supertime scale or the IPS IGP’s scale. The final promotion is as the Director General of the Force.

Indian Audit and Accounts Services

This service audits the accounts of all Central and State government departments, P&T departments, defence, public sector organizations, railways, etc. It functions within the federal structure and coordinates effectively between the Centre and the states. As the head of the organization, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is a constitutional authority with a fixed tenure. During the career, the officer can go on deputation to various ministries, state governments, autonomous bodies, public sector organizations etc. They can also be posted at one of the two audit offices abroad- Washington or London. Presently India is one of the three countries auditing the accounts of the United Nations and a Director General of the service is based at New York for this purpose. Officers selected to this service undergo training in Shimla. They serve either in account offices in Central or State Governments or in Statutory Audit Offices under the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). In the Junior Scale, they will be posted as an Assistant AG in the office of an Accountant General (AG). They will be posted in similar offices throughout the career; only their designation and responsibilities will keep changing. In the senior scale, they will be a Deputy AG, in the JAG and Selection Grade a Senior DAG and in the Senior Administrative Grade a full fledged AG. At the next rung is the Additional Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General. Above this is the Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who gets a Secretary’s salary. At the very top of the accounts/audit hierarchy is a constitutional authority, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Indian Postal Service

It is the only service from which one can go on a deputation to the army and serve from Captain to Major General. An attractive aspect of a career in the Indian Postal Service is that there is job mobility as well as variety.

An Indian Postal Service officer can serve in any ministry at any level depending on the seniority and aptitude. Officers are also sent on deputation to the Universal Postal Union at Berne, Switzerland or on assignments to other countries.

Professional course is at the Postal Staff College, Ghaziabad. During probation the officer will be “attached” to “field” offices of the department, where they will work in various capacities. They will serve in divisional headquarters as Senior Superintendent of Post Office (SSPO) or Senior Superintendent Railway Mail (SSRM) in the junior scale as well as in the first 2-3 years of the senior scale. Only personnel from the Indian Postal Service go on deputation to the Army Postal Service. Later in the Senior Scale they will be promoted to the rank of Assistant PMG (Post Master General) or Assistant Director General at the Directorate. In the JAG they will be made a Director. In the selection grade they will remain as a Director. They can be promoted to the senior most level of PMG of a “Circle”. Promotions after that are to the posts of (a) Additional Secretary in a ministry (b) One of the members of the Postal Services Board (c) Chief PMG or rather HAG i.e. Higher Administrative Grade d) Secretary, Department of Post who is also ex-officio DG and Chairman of the Postal Services Board.

P&T Finance and Accounts Services

As in the case of the Indian Railways there is a separate P&T Finance and Accounts Service. Here an officer works for the Postal & Telecom departments. They are posted in major cities and as this is a comparatively new service, (established in 1974) the promotions are fast. Within 17 years one can be Joint Secretary (SAG) which corresponds with the Super Time Scale of the IAS. Officers start their career as the Assistant Chief Accounts Officer. Within two years, they are the Chief Accounts Officers. After six years they become the Director Finance and Accounts in the Junior Administrative Grade. In another eleven years they enter the SAG as GM Finance which is a field posting or as Deputy Director General at the Directorate. Following this promotions to the higher posts are limited as there is just one member Finance and one Senior DDG, Finance. However, they can go on deputation to other ministries or to the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) or Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) as Director Finance.

Indian Information Services and Indian Defence Accounts Services

The Indian Information Services (IIS) This was initially called the Central Information Service (CIS) which was constituted as late as 1960. As it is a comparatively new and expanding service there is scope for quicker promotions. The scales in this service are exactly the same as in the other services, till the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG). At the top is a grade which is called Selection Grade and has a fixed salary, equal to what the senior most Additional Secretary would get. Training during probation is at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. An IIS Officer can be posted in organizations dealing with print media, in the electronic media or in an advertising agency. In short, IIS Officers can be posted to any of the several organizations that are controlled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or the Ministry of Defence (Directorate of Public Relations).

The Indian Defence Accounts Services (IDAS)

An IDAS officer start off, after probation, as an Assistant CDA (Controller of Defence Accounts) in the Junior Scale, and will work in cantonment towns. In the next three scales, they will be Deputy CDAs, posted at State capitals (or bigger towns). In the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) they will become a full-fledged CDA and will be posted at places where headquarters of defence ‘commands’ are located. In the Additional Secretaries’ Scale IDAS Officer’s are made Additional CGDAs (Controller General of Defence Accounts) incharge of Audit or Inspection. They could also be posted as Controller of Accounts (Factories), Calcutta.

Indian Ordnance & Factories Services and Indian Civil Accounts Services

The Indian Ordnance And Factories Services (IOFS) IOFS officers will be required to serve mostly where ordnance factories (i.e. factories that make equipment including sleeping bags and tents, for the defence services) are located e.g. Jabalpur. During the first 10 years in the Service, they could even be asked to serve for up to 4 years, as a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces. The promotions up to the Senior Administrative Grade are standard Central Service Promotions. In the Additional Secretaries’ Grade they would most probably be made a General Manager. After that, there is a scale which begins at the AS level. In this scale are the Members of the OFS (ordinance Factories Board)/the Additional DGOF (Director General Ordnance Factories). The head of the service is the chairman of the OFB/DGOF, who has the same fixed salary as the Secretaries.

The Indian Civil Accounts Services (ICAS) Training will be in the office of the CGA (Controller General of Accounts), Department of Expenditure (Ministry of Finance) Delhi and in the offices of the Chief Controller of Accounts in the various ministries of Government of India. The first posting will be as Assistant Controller of Accounts in some ministry of the Government of India. In the Senior Scale, they will become the Deputy Controller of Accounts. In the Senior Administrative Grade they will be made Chief Controller of Accounts. The highest career post for an ICAS officer is Controller General of Accounts and has a salary fixed higher than that of the Additional Secretaries’ Scale.

The Indian Defence Estates Services (IDES)

This service deals entirely with spacious, well-planned, green, landscaped cantonments. In this service an IDES officer will begin his career in the junior scale, as an Executive Officer in a Class I or a Class II Cantonment. In the Senior Scale he would normally be sent to a Class I Cantonment as an Executive Officer of Assistant Director or Deputy Assistant Director General or Defence Estate Officer. Next promotion in the “Ordinary Grade” (similar to the JAG) will be as Joint Director the designation which he will retain in the Selection Grade as well. After the Selection Grade the IDES Officers are first promoted as Directors (Level I) before they are made Directors (Level III). The latter post is in the Senior Administrative Grade. The top officer is the Director General Defence Estates.


The Group ‘B’ Services include the Central Secretariat Service (Section Officers GradE-CSS), the Railway Board Secretariat Service (Section Officers’ GradE- RBSS), the Indian Foreign Service (Section Officers’ GradE- IFS ‘B’), the Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Assistant Civilian Staff Officers Grade), the Customs’ Appraisers Service, the Delhi and Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS), the Goa, Daman and Diu Police Service, Posts of Assistant Commandant, Post of Deputy Superintendents of Police in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Though officers of the Group ‘B’ Services start off almost at par with their Group ‘A’ counterparts, yet after the fourth year they lag behind by five to seven years. This gap widens further by the 18th year when Group’A’ Officers enter the Super Time Scale. The most coveted service among the “Group B” services is the Central Secretariat Service (CSS).

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