Anusha Durga

Civil Services constitute all non-military departments of the government machinery, which run State Administration. The Central and the State Civil Servants ensure that the constitutional guarantees and entitlements are brought within the reach of every citizen. In the present era of market economy Civil Services has lost some of its sparkle, nonetheless it still ranks high as a career option among young students. The power and social status along with job security that a civil servant enjoys is unimaginable anywhere else. Besides the lure for power and perks the service provides enough scope for a dynamic person with zeal and desire to bring qualitative changes in the functioning of the
government and even opportunities which could ameliorate the lives of millions
of Indians.
The present day civil service is a legacy of the British. ICS officers during the
British Raj were bestowed with immense administrative powers and their main
tasks were preservation of law and order, dispensation of justice and collection
of taxes. However today civil servants operate within the framework of a
democratic welfare state, with focus on development and progress. Therefore,
unlike many other occupations civil service is more of a vocation than a job.

The Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) selects candidates for various central services, including for the most coveted cadres of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). IAS and IPS are All India Services created under article 312 of the constitution. The creation of such services provides safeguards for national unity and ensures uniformity of the administrative system throughout the country to maintain the minimum common administrative standards. Candidates selected for these two services are appointed to different state cadres and as and when required they also move to Central Government jobs on deputation. The remaining services are categorised in two Central Services, Group A, and Group B. The Group ‘A’ services are:

·        Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS)

·        Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS)

·        Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

·        Indian Railway Protection Force (IRPF)

·        Indian Postal Service

·        Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IA &AS)

·        Indian Defense Accounts Service (IDAS)

·        Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

·        Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

·        The Indian Information Service (IIS)

·        Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS),

·        Indian Defense Estate Service (IDES),

·        The Indian P &T Accounts & Finance Service

·        Assistant Commandants in Central Industrial Security Force.


The Group B Services for which recruitment is made through civil services are the following:

·        Central Secretariat Service, (Section Officer Grade)

·        Railway Board Secretariat Service (Section Officer Grade)

·        Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service Group B (Assistant Civilian Staff Officer Grade)

·        Customs Appraisers’ Service Group B.

·        The Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service Group B.

·        The Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service Group B.

·        Pondicherry Civil Service Group B.


Educational Qualification:
A graduate in any discipline from a recognized university or institution, between 21-28 years of age as on 1st August of the examination year, is eligible to sit for the Civil Services Examination.
The UPSC conducts the combined Civil Services Exam in three phases comprising of preliminary exam, mains and interview or the personality test, and the entire cycle well over a year to complete.   The preliminary exam is notified in December and usually held on the second Sunday of the following June. The results are declared by end of July or the first week of August.  The exam consists of two objective types multiple choice question papers. The first paper is on general studies and carries 150 marks. The second paper, called `optional’ is on the subject chosen by the candidate and carries 300 marks. Preliminary examination basically eliminates all those who are not serious or well prepared. The success rate of preliminary exam is less than 10%.

Main exam is held around November/December every year and consists of eight papers of conventional type carrying 300 marks each. Two of these are language papers, one in English and the other in any recognized Indian language chosen by the candidate. Qualifying in both these papers is compulsory, however marks obtained in them is not added in the total score, in other words performance in these papers would not effect the final position in merit.

Third and the fourth papers are on general studies and carry 600 marks. The rest of the four papers are on two optional subjects, carrying total marks of 1200. Results of the Mains are declared by February/March and those who qualify make it to the third stage of the selection process i.e. the Personality Test. The interview or the personality test carries 250 marks and is held around April/May. Final results are declared by June and successful candidates are allotted different services according to their ranks in the final list. Individual preferences of the candidates are also taken into account while allocation of service. Those who are at the top of the merit list get IAS, IPS, IFS and so on and so forth.
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