Indian Administrative Service

Indian Administrative Service

The Civil Services are the backbone of the Indian government machinery as it constitutes of all the departments which runs the state administration. The constitutional machinery of India works on the gears of the civil services. It has been an integral part of the Indian Governance system for almost a century now. The British set up this system to aid them in governing this vast country (hence the similarity with the British governance system). Young men (and women though they made their appearance in this area at a much later stage!), vied to be a part of this service. Post-independence too, the Civil Services remained one of the most coveted areas for work.

The Indian Civil Services are organized into two main sections. These are the All India Services and the Central Services.

Officers of the All India Services, on appointment by the Government of India, are placed at the disposal of the different State Governments. These services include:

  • The Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • The Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Officers of the Central Services, on the other hand, wherever they might be posted, serve the Government of India only. Central Services are of two types-Groups A&B.

Group A Central Services comprise various different services/ posts. These include

  • The Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • The Indian Railway Service
  • Indian Postal Service
  •  Accounts and Auditing Services (including The Indian Audit and Accounts Service, The Indian Civil Accounts Service, The Indian Defence Accounts Service, The Indian Revenue Service.)
  • Indian Customs and Central Excise
  • The Indian Ordinance Factories Service
  • The Indian Defence Estates Service
  • The Indian Information Service
  • The Central Trade Services
  • The Central Industrial Security Force


Candidates applying for the Civil Services must be Indian nationals (between 21 and 28 years old)

Candidates applying for the Civil Services must be Indian nationals (between 21 and 28 years old) as on August 1, and for the Forest Service, as on July 1 of the year of the examination.

In order to appear for the combined services examination, the candidate must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognised university. In order to apply for the Forest Service, a candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree in any of the science subjects.

Selection :

Selection for the combined civil services takes place in three stages : A preliminary examination, a main examination, and a personality test.

The preliminary examination is a written test comprising of two papers. It is conducted every year in the month of June. The first paper (general studies) carries a maximum score of 150 points on 150 questions, with a time limit of two hours. It covers six topics – Indian History, Constitution of India , Geography , Economics, Science, and Current Affairs. The second paper is an ‘optional’ that is on a subject of the candidate’s choice. This paper carries 300 points on 120 questions and is two hours long. Both papers are set in the objective type format.

Around 10,000 candidates are selected after the preliminary exams, which are taken by approximately 1,50,000 students every year.

The main examination is also a written test, which is held around November / December every year. It comprises two language papers (one in English and the other in an optional Indian language). Marks gained in these papers are not computed in the total score, but passing in both is compulsory for qualification. There are also two general studies papers (300 marks each), and four papers on two optional subjects (300 marks each).

Approximately 2,000 candidates are selected at the end of this stage, for the final personality test.

The personality test / interview, conducted in April / May every year, forms the final eliminatory stage. Conducted in the form of an oral interview, it enables an expert panel to judge first hand, the candidate’s personality, ability and aptitude for the work. The personality test carries 250 points in a total of 2,050 points.

There is also a medical test, which is conducted before the allotment of services. It is an especially rigid test for those aspiring to join the IPS.

Roughly 800-900 candidates make it through the final selection each year, out of which the top ranking 100 candidates (approximately) are appointed to the IAS.

Selection to the Indian Forest Service , on the other hand, is on the basis of a written test held in the month of August every year. The test comprises: two compulsory papers (General English and General Knowledge) ; and additional papers in any two subjects chosen from the following options: agriculture / botany / chemistry / physics / geology / zoology / mathematics / agricultural engineering / chemical engineering / civil engineering / mechanical engineering , excepting combinations of agriculture and agricultural engineering , chemistry and chemical engineering.

Course Details:

Training begins in the last week of August with a foundation training course of 4 months duration for probationers of all civil services. The foundation course is followed up by specific job-oriented training, conducted separately by each service in different parts of the country. This training is partly institutional and partly hands-on. For most cadres, the training is of 12 months’ duration

Duration :

Training begins in the last week of August with a foundation training course of 4 months duration for probationers of all civil services. The foundation course is followed up by specific job-oriented training, conducted separately by each service in different parts of the country. This training is partly institutional and partly hands-on. For most cadres, the training is of 12 months’ duration


Once appointed, all probationary officers of the All India and Central Services undergo a compulsory foundation training course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.

Job Prospects:

The best part about the government services is that on completion of training, probationers become full-fledged officers of the service to which they are appointed and continue service until retirement.

The best part about the government services is that on completion of training, probationers become full-fledged officers of the service to which they are appointed and continue service until retirement.

Jobs in the Civil Services involve a great deal of power and authority, though there are frequent transfers. Promotions depend upon positions falling vacant on account of promotion, retirement, resignation, death or dismissal of the immediate senior.

However, competent officers always have a chance of being promoted to senior positions over the years. The Junior Officer Scale is generally only a two year probationary period.


The 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 development functions. At the divisional level, the IAS officers look after law and order, general administration and development work.

Kiran Bedi

India's First Women IPS

The 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
– Crime Branch,
– Criminal Investigation Department (CID),
– Home Guards,
– 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).

Indian Forest Service (IFS)

The Indian Forest Service was created in 1966. Its purpose is basically the efficient and integrated administration of the country’s forest reserves. In command of all of India’s wooded areas, its responsibilities cover the protection and conservation of their resources and wildlife, as well as the management and supply of forest produce

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.

Indian Customs and Central Excise Service

The Indian Customs and Central Excise Service (IC&CES) 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.

The 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.



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  1. rizzi1234

    very informative & helpful .. I have been enrolled in IAS General Studies at and need guidance so as what else I should do to prepare my best for the ias prelims.

    • Hi Dear,
      The IAS Exam in 2012 will be special. Not only will it feature the new CSAT syllabus introduced from 2011 onwards but also the pattern will be different from the 2011 IAS exam. This hub explains all the details relating to the 2012 IAS Exam including the procedure, syllabus, possible exam pattern, books to refer, and tips to crack the 2012 IAS exam.
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      IAS Exam 2012: The Basics

      The IAS Exam will consist of three stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interview (Personality Test). While the Preliminary exam will be objective in nature, the mains will be written while the personality test is verbal.

      You have to clear the preceding stage to reach the next stage of IAS 2012 Exam. For instance you will need to first crack the IAS prelims, then appear for the mains, and based on the marks obtained you may be called for the IAS interview, the final frontier.

      You can read about the IAS Exam Eligibility to make sure you can appear for the IAS Exam in 2012.
      Applying for the 2012 IAS Exam

      To appear for the IAS exam you will first need to apply for it. All the three stages of the IAS exam are conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), a Constitutional body answerable to the Union Parliament.

      The notification for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination (or just IAS prelims) will appear in the Employment News and on UPSC’s website on 04-02-2012 and you can apply either online or through application forms available at the Head Post Offices throughout cities in India.

      Remember: You cannot directly appear for the Mains or Interview. Rather you have to first apply for the Preliminary examination conducted by UPSC before proceeding to the next stage.

      The last date of receipt of your application is 05-03-2012. At this stage you don’t have to send any documents about your age or educational qualifications. They will be required at the time of filling the IAS Mains form.

      The Preliminary exam or the first stage of the IAS Exam 2012 will be held on 20-05-2012.
      The 2012 IAS Prelims: What You Need to Know

      Here is some basic and important information about the Prelims if you intend to appear for the ias exam in 2012.

      The IAS Prelims will be objective in nature and consist of two papers compulsory to all
      Most questions carry a negative penalty or negative marking of 0.33 marks for each wrong answer
      Each paper will of 200 marks each and 2 hours in duration. The number of questions in each paper is not fixed and can vary every year
      You have to appear for both papers, held on the same day, for your papers to be checked
      Even if you appear for one paper, your attempt is counted
      If you merely apply for the Prelims but do not appear for the exam then your attempt is not counted

      2012 Prelims Syllabus

      As already mentioned, the Prelims is objective in nature and each question carries four choices out of which the candidate has to select one right option. The new CSAT or Prelims syllabus was introduced from the 2011 exam and is as follows.

      (Paper 1) (200 marks) – Duration : Two hrs

      Current events of national and international importance
      History of India and Indian national movement
      Indian and World Geography- physical, social, economic geography of India and the world
      Indian Polity and governance constitution, political system, panchayati raj, public policy, Rights issues, etc.
      Economic and social development sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.
      General issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity and climate change-that donot require subject specialization
      General science.

      (Paper II) (200 marks) Duration : Two hrs

      Interpersonal skills including communication skills
      Logical reasoning and analytical ability
      Decision making and problem solving
      General mental ability
      Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc. (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. Class X level)
      English language comprehension skills (Class X level)
      Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
      The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

      Learn the Impact of the New Prelims Syllabus and how you should re-orient your preparation for 2012 IAS Exam.
      Are You Plannig to Appear for the 2012 Prelims?

      Not Sure

      See results without voting
      IAS Exam Resources

      IPS Exam Eligibility
      The IPS (Indian Police Service) Exam has special physical and national eligibility criteria that a candidate aspiring for the IPS Exam should fulfill.
      Books for IAS
      Find out about suggested books for IAS exam including recommended books for CSAT prelims.
      Salary of an Indian Administrative Services IAS Offi…
      Find out about Salary of Indian Administrative Services Officers including IAS Salary after 6th Pay Commission.
      Learn How to Prepare for IAS Exam
      Preparing for IAS requires combination of smartness and hard work. One without the other is incomplete and inadequate. If you want to prepare for IAS you need to devote at least one year minimum to studying for the IAS full time. If you are working..

      How I Cracked the Prelims in My First Attempt

      Many IAS exam aspirants want to know whether they can clear the ias exam 2012 prelims in their very first attempt? Yes it’s entirely possible! Let me explain briefly how I cleared the prelims in my first attempt itself without any coaching and very little guidance.

      I started preparing for the Prelims just 10 months before but I divided time between optionals and GS appropriately.

      I devoted about 8 hours to Sociology every day and about 4 hours to GS including reading the newspaper for 1 hour daily. You should divide your preparation time between GS Paper 1 and 2 as optional subjects have been eliminated from the IAS preliminary exam.

      I just referred one good newspaper and two magazines for current affairs apart from Manorama Year Book for GK and Current Events.

      Instead of referring multiple magazines and newspapers, I suggest you just read one good newspaper and one or two magazines for current affairs. The Hindu is a very reputed English daily and if you can get hold of it, go for it otherwise read The Indian Express.

      As far as magazines are concerned, Civil Services Chronicle or Pratiyogita Darpan are both good magazines for current affairs and reading one will be enough. But you should surely read Manorama Year Book for not just current affairs but more importantly to build your General Knowledge.

      I constantly referred the past 5 years solved question papers before and after reading a topic.

      The best way to track your progress is to refer the past five years questions whenever you start a new topic. This way you know what’s important and should be stressed upon. After you finish reading that topic refer the questions from that topic again and check if you can answer all of them or not.

      This way you know if you have left out some important points in the first reading and can attempt course correction immediately instead of waiting till the fag end of your preparation for IAS Exam in 2012.

      I covered the scoring topics early

      You shouldn’t just study the first topic that you come across. Rather, prioritize and plan. Topics like GK, Polity, Maps can be prepared quickly and fetch easy marks. Tackle them early to pocket 30-40 marks even before you step into the exam hall.

      I made micro notes that I could go through quickly before the prelims

      Aspirants planning to prepare for the 2012 IAS Exam should make it a habit of writing important current event and GK snippets in a diary, register or flip cards on a daily basis which you can go through 15 or 20 days before the Prelims.
      IAS 2012 Mains Examination Details

      The Civil Services (Main) Examination 2012 will commence from 5-10-2012 and continue for 21 days. The first paper will be GS or General Studies followed by Essay and English (Compulsory). The third day will be the Indian Language paper and this will be followed by various optional papers on different days.

      In all the 2012 IAS Mains exam will consist of 2000 marks ( GS paper of 600 marks, 2 optional papers of 600 marks each, essay paper of 200 marks) and students securing more than 940 marks (general category) can expect an Interview call from the UPSC.

      Each paper of the 2012 IAS Mains exam will be of 3 hours duration and there will be 3 hours break between two papers held on the same day. For instance, GS paper 1 will be held in the morning and paper 2 in the afternoon.

      Approximately 13 times the total number of seats qualify the prelims and appear for the mains exam. So if the total number of seats announced in the 2012 prelims notification is 900, about 10,700 candidates will clear the prelims and write the mains exam.

      Finally, about 2.5 time the total vacancies are called for the IAS interview. So out of 10,700 candidates writing the 2012 IAS Mains exam, about 2250 candidates will qualify for the IAS Interview.

    • I hope you success in you life and Best of luck

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