Who is an IAS officer and how can one become a member of this prestigious group?

Indian Administrative Services is the highest service among the All India Services and is the most reputed one. The IAS officers heads all the major departments, autonomous bodies, statutory bodies like and Ministries in India. The terms and conditions, pays and perks of this bracket is most favourable amongst the public and private jobs.


Indian Administrative Service, the premier service of Government of India, was constituted in 1946. Before this the Indian Imperial Services from 1893 to 1946 was in force. As on 1st January 2013, sanctioned strength of IAS was 6217 comprising of 4313 posts to the filled by direct recruits and 1904 posts to be filled by promotion /appointment of State Civil Services officers/ Non-State Civil Service officers. The civil services have been a hallmark of governance in India.


The Constitution of India provides that without depriving states government of their right to form their own Civil Services there shall be an All India Service recruited on an All-India basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay and the members of which alone could be appointed to the strategic posts throughout the Union. Sardar Vallabhai Patel, eminent leader of the Indian freedom struggle referred these services as the steel frame of India.


Indian Civil Services, therefore, represents the essential spirit of our nation - unity in diversity.


Today there are three modes to become a member of the highly prestigious Indian Administrative Service:

  1. Through Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC every year;
  2. Through promotion of State Civil Service officers to IAS; and
  3. Through Lateral Entry Scheme of the Union Government.

On an average two-third posts are meant for Direct Recruitment and one-third posts are meant for promotion quota.


Both the directly recruited from the UPSC Examination and promotee officers from the state Civil Services get a call for the foundation course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). After completion of successful training and probation period OTs are confirmed. There are also provisions for compulsory trainings as and when necessary for the officers spread across the entire service span.


Directly recruited administrative officers are allocated to the State cadres or Joint State Cadres on the basis of their rank in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, their category-at their turn—in terms of provisions of Cadre Allocation Policy as and when amended from time to time. One can go through the government’s cadre allocation policy on the website of Department of Personnel and Training.


Jai Hind!


Gaurav Chaturvedi


Supreme Court of India

New Delhi