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Introduction to IAS Examination

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Civil Services Examination

The Civil Services Examination is one among the top most prestigious competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to various Civil Services for the government of India. There are around 24 group A and group B services which come under the civil service categories, such as IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS etc.

 

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

was formerly known as Imperial Civil Service (ICS), was founded in 1858 under British rule with assistance of Federal Public Service Commission. The Federal Public Service Commission became the Union Public Service Commission after independence. It was given a constitutional status with under of Constitution of India on 26 January 1950.

UPSC examination is considered as the most difficult competitive examination in India. Civil Services Examination's single attempt takes completely two years of preparation - one year before the prelims and one year from prelims to interview. In total, one sits in actual exam for 32 hours from prelims till interview. Normally 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply each year and approximately 550,000 candidates sits for prelims, first stage of examination. Number of candidates decrease substantially with stages of civil services examination, and finally gives jewels which serves their motherland. Results for the Prelims are published in mid-August, while the final result is published in May of the next year.

IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc. Popularly known as the IAS exam, officially it is called as Civil Services Examination (CSE), which is conducted every year by the central recruiting agency, UPSC. IAS is the permanent bureaucracy in India and forms a part of the executive branch. IAS is one of the three All India Services, its cadre can be employed by both the Union Government, the State Governments and public-sector undertakings. Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has been termed as one of the prestigious services among the 24 government services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IFS (Forest), IP & TAFS, IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CMSE, IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, ITS, CAPF-AF to name a few. All these examinations are conducted by UPSC in the form of Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the appropriate candidates for the jobs. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for this examination, testing their lucks and hard work to get through one of these prestigious posts. It is important to mention that any officer selected into the IAS can be employed by Union government, State governments and/or public-sector undertakings and gets exposure in numerous job roles like the collector, head of public sector units, commissioner, chief secretary, cabinet secretary to name a few. When on deputation outside India, the IAS officer can be engaged in inter-governmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the United Nations (UN), or its agencies and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to name a few. It is very important for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the examination such as the UPSC IAS syllabus, pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the registrations. IAS Exam Highlights Annually, the UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to shortlist the candidates for more than 20 services, such as IAS, IPS and IFS. On an average, more than eight lakh candidates register for the IAS exam and around five lakh candidates appear for the examination. The selection of the candidates will be made through the preliminary exam, main examination and an interview/personality test. This year-long selection process will begin in the month of June and conclude in April. The final merit list for the CSE will be released in May.

In India's parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the people's elected representatives—cabinet ministers. But a handful of ministers cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. Thus the ministers lay down the policy and it is for the civil servants, who serve at the pleasure of the President of India, to carry it out. However, Article 311 of the constitution protects them from politically motivated or vindictive action. Civil servants are employees of the Government of India or of the states, but not all employees of the Government are civil servants. As of 2010, there were 6.4 million government employees in India but fewer than 50,000 civil servants to administer them. Civil servants in a personal capacity are paid from the Civil List. Senior civil servants may be called to account by Parliament. The civil service system in India is rank-based and does not follow the tenets of the position-based civil services.

Today's civil services carries historical legacy of former Indian Civil Service of British India. Warren Hastings laid the foundation of civil service and Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised, and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as 'the father of civil service in India'.

Cornwallis introduced two divisions of the Indian Civil service—covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil service consisted of only Europeans 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.

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—the All India Services and the Central Services.

The foundation of modern civil service was laid after the partition of India in 1947, to fulfill Sardar Patel's vision that the civil service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. The values of integrity, impartiality, and merit remain the guiding principles of the Indian civil services.

Article 312  of the Indian Constitution gives authority to the Rajya Sabha to set up new branches of the All India Services with a two-thirds majority vote. The Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and Indian Forest Service have been established under this constitutional provision.

 

 

Civil Services in India gains importance becuase of:

  • Service presence throughout the country and its strong binding character.
  • Non-partisan advice to political leadership in the midst of political instability and uncertainties.
  • Effective policy-making and regulation.
  • Effective coordination between institutions of governance.
  • Leadership at different levels of administration.
  • Service delivery at the cutting edge level.
  • Provide "continuity and change" to the administration.

 

Responsibilities of Civil Servants to Government and Society:

  • The prime responsibility of civil services executives to society is to serve the government it has elected. It denotes that civil services must offer same standard of free, frank, impartial and responsive advice, and the same level of professionalism in administration and delivery of services, policies, programs irrespective of political party in power.
  • Another accountability of civil services executive is to openly involve in all actions within the framework of ministerial actions to government and legislature.
  • Specifically, civil servants are responsible for public interest in maintaining the law and ensuring that proper procedures are followed.
  • Civil servants has close relations with society as they serve array of services. It entails that they must adopt ethical practices to deal with public.
  • Civil servants need to serve the society by ensuring that entitlement and services provided to it under law and government policies are delivered effectively, impartially, courteously and professionally.
  • Civil services officers also responsive to the need of people, treating its member with courtesy and with sensitivity to their rights and aspirations.
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