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Types of Civil Services

The civil services in India are classified into two major categories—All-India services and Central services 

About All India Services:

All-India services are common to both Central and state governments and the members of these services occupy key positions under both the Centre and the states and serve them by turns.


At present, there are three all-India services:

  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

  2. Indian Police Service (IPS)

  3. Indian Forest Service (IFS) 


The all-India services are jointly are controlled by the Central and state governments. However, the ultimate control lies with the Central government and any disciplinary action against these officers can only be taken by the Central government while the immediate control is vested in the state governments. 

About Central Services:

The officers of Central services work under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Central government. They hold specialized positions in various departments of the Central government. The Central services are further classified into groups.



Currently, there are 60 group A Central services. Some of them are:

  1. Indian Foreign Service.

  2. Indian Economic Service.

  3. Central Information Service.

  4. Central Legal Service

  5. Central Secretariat Service.

  6. Indian Audit and Accounts Service.

  7. Indian Defence Accounts Service.

  8. Central Engineering Service.

  9. Central Health Service.

  10. Indian Meteorological Service.

  11. Indian Postal Service.

  12. Indian Revenue Service (Customs, Excise and Income Tax)

  13. Indian Statistical Service.

  14. Overseas Communication Service.

  15. Railway Personnel Service.

Among all, the most prestigious and highest central service in terms of status, pay and emoluments is the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Though it is a central service, it comes next to the IAS in ranking and its pay scale is higher than the IPS. It competes with the All-India services in position, status and pay scales.

Most of the cadres of Central services group A have also corresponding group B services. The Central services group C consists of clerical personnel and group D consists of manual personnel. Therefore, Group A and B comprises of gazetted officers and Group C and D are non-gazetted.



Some of the examples of the Group 'B' Services are

  • the Central Secretariat Service

  • the Railway Board Secretariat Service

  • the Indian Foreign Service

  • the Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service

  • the Customs' Appraisers Service

  • Posts of Assistant Commandant

  • Deputy Superintendents of Police -Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The process of recruitment of the Central Civil Services is made through the Civil & Engineering Services Examination of UPSC and the Combined Graduate Level Examination of Staff Selection Commission (SSC).


About the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

Recruitment : UPSC Civil Services Examination

Responsibilities & Training:

  • The IAS officers handle the government affairs and frame policies in diverse areas of importance such as finance, commerce, administration, etc. They modify the policies if needed and implement them through various means. Upon attaining higher ranks, an IAS officer also may represent the government in another country or in various bilateral and multilateral forums, and at certain ranks (Deputy Secretary) they can even sign agreements on behalf of the government.

  • The officers assumes various responsibilities and work very diverse roles like the collector, chief secretary, commissioner, head of public sector units, cabinet secretary ,etc.

  • The IAS officers are appointed after two years of probationary period carried out in field offices, training schools, in a District Magistrate's office and in a secretariat.

  • Initially, the officer works as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and carries out tasks such as handling the law and order, implementing developmental work in the stipulated area and general administration.

  • After completing two years as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, the officer shifts to a senior scale and starts climbing the ranks. Over the years, with experience the officer keeps on climbing ranks and may also be designated with key positions in Indian administrative systems such as Principal Secretaries and Financial Commissioners.

  • The top rank civil servant in a any State is the Chief Secretary of that state, who is generally assisted by the Additional Chief Secretaries, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate.

  • Some other Prestigious Posts: Home Secretary, Finance Secretary and Development Commissioners.


About the Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Controlling authority: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

Recruitment: UPSC Indian Forest Service Examination

The Indian Forest Service, one of the three All India Services, was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India.


The Major mandate of the IFS officers is the proper implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages sustainable environment, ecological balance and scientific management of forests. The IFS officers are independent of the district administration and exercises administrative, financial and, judicial powers in their domain.

  • The IFS officers also work in several wildlife and forest related organizations such as:

  • Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA)

  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)

  • Forest Survey of India

  • The Wildlife Institute of India

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) etc..


About the Indian Police Service (IPS)

Controlling authority: Ministry of Home Affairs

Recruitment: UPSC Civil Services Examination


Responsibilities & Training:

The IPS officers assumes the responsibility of maintaining law and order, public safety and security by indulging in activities such as prevention of Crimes, traffic management, criminal investigations etc. To achieve greater efficiency, these services are further classified into various functional departments such as Crime Branch, Home Guards, Traffic Bureau, Criminal Investigation department etc

The Process of recruitment and training is the longest among all the services for IPS officers which extends to almost 2 years in total. During the probation period these officers train in the office of a Superintendent of Police of a district where they have been allocated and when they complete their probation period they are given a three star Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) rank.

Higher Ranks: IPS officers attains the following ranks:

  • Commissioner of Police ( looking after a city)

  • Deputy Commissioner (metropolitan cities)

  • Superintendent of Police (Whole district level)

  • Director General of Police (Entire state)

IPS officers also need to clear specially designed physical tests once they have been allotted to a particular IPS as per his rank.

These IPS officers also work and serve various national intelligence and security based organizations such as,

  • Intelligence Bureau

  • Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)

  • Border Security Force

  • Central Bureau of Investigation

  • Central Reserve Police Force

With increasing experience these officers may also get an opportunity to serve in International Organizations related to the security, policing and intelligence, such as Interpol, United Nations, International Cricket Council, in various embassies around the world etc.

About the Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

Controlling authority: Ministry of External Affairs

Recruitment: UPSC

Training and Career:

  • After selection to the Indian Foreign Service through the combined Civil Services examination, the new entrants undergo a training programme intended to give them diplomatic knowledge, qualities and skills at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie.

  • Thereafter the probationers join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and undergo a training programme in various disciplines required for a career diplomat. The objective of this programme is to inculcate a strong knowledge of diplomacy, international relations and a grasp of general political principles in an officer.

  • At the conclusion of the training programme the officer is assigned his/her compulsory foreign language (CFL). After a brief period of desk attachment in the Ministry of External Affairs the officer is posted to an Indian Mission abroad in a country where his CFL is the native language and enrolled in a language course.

  • Ranks: An IFS is give a job as a Third Secretary and then as Second Secretary when he is confirmed in service.

  • Subsequent promotions: First Secretary- Counsellor-Minister and Ambassador orHigh Commissioner or Permanent Representative.

  • Officers are also posted to Indian Consulates abroad where the hierarchy (going upwards) is Vice-Consul, Consul and Consul General.


As a diplomat, IFS Officer is required to promote India’s interests at various platforms and on a variety of issues including bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, pres, etc.

Some other important functions of IFS officers are as follows:

  • Protecting India’s national interests

  • Representing India in its Embassies, Consulates and in India's Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN

  • Promoting friendly relations with nations

  • Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state.

  • Providing consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad.


About Indian Revenue Services (IRS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Finance

Recruitment: UPSC and Central Services (Group B) of Income Tax Service (Group B).


The IRS functions under administrative direction of the Revenue Secretary and ministerial command of the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue). The IRS is primarily responsible for discharging important functions such as collection of revenue for development, security and governance.

The IRS is controlled by two separate statutory bodies i.e the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT )- IRS (Income Taxes) and the Central Board of indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC)- and IRS (Customs and Indirect Taxes)

An IRS officer serve the Government of India by playing an important role indifferent capacities. While administering , Direct Taxes through the ITD, they formulate policies, implement such policies and discharge the functions of an investigator, quasi-judicial authority, prosecutor and negotiator of International Agreements etc.

Training and Career:

An IRS officer begins his service in Group A as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. Recruitment at this level is through the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. Some Income Tax Officers (Group B gazetted) also enter into IRS by way of promotion. The Indian Revenue Service Recruitment Rules regulate the selection and career prospects of an IRS officer.

After the selection, the IRS officers undergo training at National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur. NADT conducts the Induction training for IRS officers and the Foundation Course for other services as well. At first, the officers are given the training in Foundation Course for about 4 months, then they undergo training of 16 months in specialized modules in taxation, accounting, public finance, fiscal policy etc. To give exposure on global best practices in taxation, the training also includes a study tour and international attachment to different countries.

Some Major Posts: Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in the ITD, Member or Chairperson of the CBDT, Deputy Commissioner, Joint Commissioner, Additional Commissioner, Commissioner, Principal Commissioner and Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.

About the Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Railways

Recruitment: UPSC


Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) functions under the administrative control of Member (Staff) at Railway Board's level, it is a unique service as it is the only service amongst the Central Group 'A' Civil Services catering exclusively to the Human Resources & Personnel Management discipline in the Central Government.

They perform a major role in all the activities of Indian Railways- those, which are directly connected with train operations, safety, productivity and earnings, as also the support activities for all departments of IR. IRPS officers are posted to work on divisions, workshops, zonal headquarters, production units and the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board).

There recruitment to IRPS takes place in two ways, they are:

  • through Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC every year; (ii)

  • through promotion of Group 'B' Personnel Officers working on zonal Railways to IRPS.


National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR)/Vadodara, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration (LBSNAA)/ Mussorie, National Academy for Direct Taxes (NADT)/ Nagpur and other specialized training institutes like at reputed management institutes are HR & Personnel Management, as well as field training on zonal railways, divisions, construction organizations and manufacturing units of the Indian Railways.


Other Group A Railway Services:

  • Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS)

  • Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)Engineering Service Examination (ESE)

  • Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE)

  • Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers(IRSME) and Special Class Railway Apprentice (SCRA)

  • Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE)

  • Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineer(IRSSE):

  • Indian Railway Stores Services (IRSS)

  • The Indian Railway Protection Force (IRPF)

  • Indian Railway Medical Services


About the Indian Postal Service:

Controlling Authority: the Ministry of Communications

Recruitment: UPSC


The officers of the Indian Postal Service are responsible for running ‘India Post’, which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Communications India Post provides services which ranges from conventional postal services to banking and e-commerce services. The Indian Postal Service Officers undergo training to perform wide range of functions such as, administration and management of postal operations and services, management of overall the Post Offices, development and expansion of India Post network, Coordination with police and public authorities and Recruitment, Transfer, Promotion and Disciplinary related matters of employees.

The Indian Postal Service, is one of those services which contains high job mobility as well as variety as it is the only service where an officer one can go on a deputation to the army and serve military officials of various ranks from Captain to Major General.


Selected recruits are trained at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad and National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) in Nagpur.

Higher Ranks: Senior Superintendent of Post Office (SSPO), Assistant PMG (Post Master General). They can also be promoted to the senior most level of PMG of a "Circle". Promotions after that are to the posts such as:

  • Additional Secretary in a ministry

  • One of the members of the Postal Services Board

  • Chief PMG or rather HAG i.e. Higher Administrative Grade

  • Secretary, Department of Post who is also ex-officio DG

  • Chairman of the Postal Services Board

About Indian Audit and Accounts Service

The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) officers works in the top and middle-level management of Indian Audit and Accounts Department headed by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).

The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) audits the accounts of various government departments, public sector enterprises (PSE), railways, defence etc. This service is the most sought after services amongst the central civil services as it is believed that it has the highest percentage of job satisfaction amongst its officers and along with opportunities to serve within India and on deputation to foreign countries.

Training and Career:

The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) recruits undergo 18 months training at National Academy of Audit and Accounts located in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

The officers are trained in various stages on different disciplines, initially on principles and concepts of government and commercial accounting and auditing and later then on their implementation part. The officers tend to visit various government institutions like National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Reserve Bank of India, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and visiting premier institutes like Indian Institute of Management and London School of Economics (LSE).

After the training, the officers are posted as Deputy Accountant General (DAG) and subsequently achieve higher ranks like,  

  • Senior DAG

  • Accountant General (AG)

  • Principal Accountant General (PAG)

  • Additional Deputy CAG

  • Deputy CAG


About the Indian Information Service (IIS):

Indian Information Service officers forms part of Media wing of the Government of India. These officers play an important role in creating a vital communication link between the Government and the citizens by way of disseminating information and providing information to citizens on various Government policies and schemes and by collecting valuable information required for the Government in policy formulation.

Most IIS officers work in various media institutions and organizations which works under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting such as All India Radio, DD News and Press Information Bureau

The IIS officers may also get an opportunity to be posted as spokespersons to various constitutional bodies.

Training and Career:

Three months Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration(LBSNAA )Mussoorie and nine months of professional training at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

The period of probation is two years and after successful completion, these officers are posted to a media units, during the various roles in their career, these officers progresses achieve higher ranks, as :

  • Assistant Director

  • Deputy Director

  • Joint Director level of Deputy Secretary to Government of India

  • Director

  • Additional Director General level of Joint secretary to the Government of India

  • Director General

  • Principal Director General


About the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Defence

Recruitment: UPSC and


The major responsibility of is Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) is to audit the accounts of is to provide financial advice and augment internal accounting auditing functions for the Army, Air Force, Navy are of the Indian Defence Ministry and to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Border Road Organisation, Ordnance Factories and other allied organisations. The IDAS officers can also be appointed into governmental organisations, ministries and departments and may also get an opportunity to serve and be a part of Indian Army’s UN peacekeeping missions.


The IDAS officers undergo a total 24 months training initially, four months at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, then at Centre for Training and Development (CENTRAD) located in New Delhi. Final training at National Academy of Defence Financial Management Institute located at Pune.


About the Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Defence

Recruitment: UPSC engineering services exam, Interviews

The Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) offers two types of services, technical and non-technical services. The UPSC conducts recruitment only for the non-technical position through Civil Service Examination and the recruitment to technical services is made through the Engineering Service Examination.


The Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) officers are responsible for the management of the Indian Ordnance Factories which are one of the major defense equipment and arms/ammunition production factories of our country. The officers also work in several managerial positions in various Public Sector Enterprises and also may serve as advisors and secretaries to Union Cabinet ministers, Prime Minister and the President of India.


Foundation Course at at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA ) Mussoorie, Public Administration and management training at the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP), Nagpur. After this, they are sent on a visit to various national defense, nuclear, space, industrial and other technical installations.


About the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Finance

Recruitment: UPSC


The Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) provide auditing and accounting services to the Government of India and its ministries and departments. Some other functions of ICAS include, framing rules and procedures for accounting of receipts and payments of government, monitoring cash balances with the RBI of the Government of India and Coordination of management accounting systems in Civil Ministries, etc.


Six Months training at the National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), then at at the Institute of Government Accounts and Finance (INGAF) and later on the Job Training (OJT).

These officers generally supports and forms part of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA)

Higher Ranks: Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, Controller of Accounts and Chief Controller of Accounts.

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