Indian Administrative Service
Indian Administrative Service is the elite civil service of the Government of India, formed after Independence of India in 1947, from the Indian Civil Service of the British Raj. In spite of relatively contemporary careers like management and IT holding sway over the country's youth, the Civil Services of India have still not lost the vast popularity enjoyed by the old Indian Civil Service through the years since the time of the British Raj. The Constitution provides for more Civil Services branches to be set up by giving the power to the Rajya Sabha to resolve by a two-thirds majority to establish new all-India services or central services. The Indian Forest Service and the Indian Foreign Service are the two services set up under this constitutional provision.
Running the administration of a vast and diverse country like India requires efficient management of its natural, economic and human resources. That, precisely, is the responsibility of the civil services. The country is managed through a number of Central Government agencies in accordance with the policy directions given by the ministries.
The construction of the Civil Services follows a certain pattern. The All India Services, Central Services and State Services constitute the Civil Services. Examinations for the state services are conducted by the individual states of India. Among the two original all-India services, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), the former is the counterpart of Pakistan’s PAS as the administrative civil service of the Indian government. It plays a major role in managing the bureaucracy of both the Union Government (Central Government) and the state governments, with its officers holding strategic posts across the country.
The career path of IAS officers is well defined. About 60 to 90 officers are inducted every year from about 300,000 applicants based on the results of a competitive civil service examination—an acceptance rate of 0.01 percent, which makes it perhaps the most competitive exam in the world. Training for IAS officers is also noted for its rigor.
The precursor of the IAS was the Indian Civil Service (ICS) during the British Raj era. ICS officers (known as "Collectors")(They are still called "Collectors" to maintain supremacy over other Native Indian Cadres), were generally held in high regard as incorruptible and good administrators. There were critics, however; Jawaharlal Nehru recounted a popular saying that the ICS was "neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service" in his Discovery of India. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George referred to the colonial ICS as the "steel frame" of the British Raj for its role in influencing and implementing government policies and decisions.
Upon independence, the new Republic of India accepted the then serving Indian Civil Service officers who chose to stay on rather than leave for the UK, and renamed the service the Indian Administrative Service.
The officials of the IAS are involved in civil administration and policy-making. Like many other civil services bodies, officers of the IAS are selected by the Civil Services Examination, a three-stage a competitive selection process consisting of a preliminary exam, a main exam, and an interview. This Civil Services Examination is administered by the Union Public Service Commission once a year.
After being selected for the IAS, candidates are allocated to "cadres." There is one cadre in each Indian state; The "insider-outsider ratio" (ratio of officers who are posted in their home states) is maintained as 1:2. as 'insiders'. The rest are posted as 'outsiders' according to the 'roster' in states other than their home states. This highly intricate system has on one hand ensured that officers from different states are placed all over India, it has also resulted in wide disparities in the kind of professional exposure for officers, when we compare officers in small and big & also developed and backward state, since the system ensures that the officers are permanently placed to one state cadre. One can even go to his home state cadre on deputation for a limited period, after which one has to invariably return to the cadre allotted to him or her.