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Civil Service
Eligibility and Course Duration Industry Size Industry Growth Individual Growth Best Colleges
Graduate(Indians only) , Competative exam. N.A. N.A. Differs according to branches. UPSC

Civil service, the backbone of the Indian government machinery constitutes all the departments which runs the State administration. A highly competitive and challenging area, it involves a variety of jobs in different departments. Compared to private sector jobs this profession has job security. The prestige and power that comes along with these top-notch jobs is a definite reason for anybody to join this profession. The salary, allowances and facilities like healthcare, housing, conveyance etc. also make it a lucrative profession.

Entry into the IAS, IPS and the Central Services, Group A and Group B is through the All India Combined Competitive Examination for the Civil Services conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in different centers spread all over the country. However, recruitment to the Indian Forest Service is through a different procedure. Entry into the State Civil Services is through a competitive examination conducted by every state public service commission. Anyone thinking of taking up civil service, should have an idea how difficult it is to get in as lakhs of candidates apply for the 400 to 500 vacancies that may arise. So once you decide to appear in civil service exam, one should be prepared to slog endlessly.


The Candidates applying for the examination should ensure that they fulfill all eligibility condition for admission to examination. Commission take up verification of eligibility conditions with reference to original documents only after the candidate has qualified for interview/Personality Test.

Educational Qualifications

Graduates in any discipline from a recognised university. Candidates having professional and technical qualifications recognised by the government are also eligible. Those who have appeared in the final year but do not have the result can also apply but they would have to produce proof of passing the exam with their application for the Main Exam


i. For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India

ii. For other services, a candidate must be either

  • a citizen of India
  • a subject of Nepal,
  • a subject of Bhutan,
  • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  • a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India. These candidates will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Age Limits

Candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on the 1st August of the year in which examination is being held. The upper age limit may be relaxed in respect of the SC/ST and other backward classes.

Personal Attributes

The aspiring candidates are expected to have keen interest in the General Studies and are supposed to have a good amount of interest in current affairs. Regular and detailed reading of a good national newspaper, a standard competition magazine and a basic book on general knowledge is the essential pre-requisite. Another important point is efficient time planning.

Physical Standards

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Civil Services Examination.

Reservation will be made for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Physically disabled categories in respect of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government.

Application Procedure

UPSC have developed an application form common for all their examinations which will be processed on computerised machines. The application form along with an Information Brochure containing general instructions for filling up the form, an acknowledgement card and an envelope for sending the application is obtainable from the designated Head Post Offices/ Post Offices throughout the country against a specified cash payment. Form should be purchased from the designated Post Offices only and not from any other agency. This form can be used only once and for only one examination.

Notification along with application forms for the civil service exam will appear in all the daily newspapers and the Rozgar Samachar/ Employment News by the end of December each year. Candidates must use only the supplied form and they should in no case use photocopy/ reproduction/ unauthorisedly printed copy of the Form. Since this form is electronically scannable, due care should be taken to fill up the application form, correctly.

The duly filled in application form and the acknowledgement card should then be mailed in the special envelope supplied with the Information Brochure to :

Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House
Shahjahan Road
New Delhi-110 011

A registration number is given as a token of receipt of the application. If a candidate does not receive an acknowledgement within 30 days, he is advised to contact the UPSC. Further communications to the UPSC should contain name of examination, registration no., name and postal address as given in the application.

Examination & Selection

Exam Details

All India Combined Competitive Examination for the Civil Services conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) comprises of two successive stages:

i. Preliminary Examination : It is of objective type, which is a qualifying examination for the selection of candidates for Main Examination

ii. Main Examination : It consists of written examination and interview for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

The Preliminary Examination is held in May/June and the Main Examination in October/November. One must begin preparations of the main exam along with preliminary exam. This is because there is little time for the Main exam if one waits for the results of the Preliminaries. A candidate is permitted 4 attempts at the examination. If a person appears in the Preliminary Exam or even appears in one paper, it is counted as an attempt.

Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 450. Paper I is of general studies and paper II is from a selected list of optional subjects for preliminary examinations. The question papers are set in Hindi as well as in English. The course content for the optional subjects will be of the degree level. Each paper is of two hours duration. Blind candidates are allowed an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper. Preliminary Examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

Subjects for Paper II (one subject to be selected): Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.

Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. It will consist of a written examination and an interview test. The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the selected subjects for main examination. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.

Papers for main examination :

  • Paper I - One Indian language (selected by the candidate) 300 marks
  • Paper II - English 300 marks
  • Paper III - Essay 200 marks
  • Paper IV&V - General Studies 300 marks each
  • Paper VI-IX - Any two subjects (optional papers to be selected by the candidate) with two papers each 300 marks for each

Optional Papers: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.


Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination shall be summoned for an interview. It is usually conducted in the month of April/May every year. Candidate will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability and judge the mental caliber of the candidate. The candidate must exhibit an intelligent interest in events happening around him so that he appears to be a complete personality. The interview will carry 300 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).

Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.

There is also a medical test, especially rigid for IPS. Out of the final candidates selected top rankers are appointed as IAS officers.

Once appointed, all probationary officers of the All India and Central Services undergo a compulsory foundation training

Sections Under Civil Service

The Indian Civil Services are organised into two main sections. (i) All India Services and (ii) The Central Services.

All India Services

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • Indian Forest Service (IFtS)

Central Services -Groups A&B

    Group A:
  • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • Indian Railway Service
  • Indian Postal Service
  • Accounts and Auditing Services (including The Indian Audit and Accounts Service, The Indian Civil Accounts Service, The
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, The Indian Revenue Service.)
  • Indian Customs and Central Excise
  • Indian Ordinance Factories Service
  • Indian Defence Estates Service
  • Indian Revenue Service
  • Indian Information Service
  • Central Trade Services
  • Central Industrial Security Force
    Group B:
  • Central Secretariat Services (Section Officer Grade)
  • Railway Board Secretariat Services (Section Officer Grade)
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (Assistant Civilian Staff Officer Grade)
  • Customs Appraisers� Services
  • The Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Services
  • The Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Services
  • Pondicherry Civil Services
  • State Civil Services

The categories of services to which candidates are selected through the SCS examination are as under:

  • (a) State Civil Services, Class-I (SCS)
  • (b) State Police Service, Class-I (SPS).
  • (c) Block Development Officer.
  • (d) Tehsildar/Talukadar/Asstt. Collector.
  • (e) Excise and Taxation Officer.
  • (f) Distt. Employment Officer.
  • (g) Distt. Treasury Officer.
  • (h) Distt Welfare Officer.
  • (i) Asstt Registrar Cooperative Societies.
  • (j) Distt. Food and Supplies Controller/Officer.
  • (k) Any other Class-I/Class-II service notified as per rules by the concerned State.


Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

The IAS Officers handle affairs of the government. At the central level, this involves the framing and implementation of policy. They also represent the government in other countries and in International forums. They are even authorised to sign agreements on behalf of the government. At the district level, it is concerned with district affairs, including development functions. At the divisional level, the IAS officers look after law and order, general administration and development work. In IAS cadre you can be sub-magistrate, district magistrate, joint secretary, deputy secretary etc.

Indian Police Service (IPS)

The IPS (Indian Police Service) is responsible for public safety and security. The IPS mainly takes care of law and order, which, at the district level, is a responsibility shared with the IAS; crime prevention and detection ; and traffic control and accident prevention and management. On completion of probation an IPS officer, begins his career as a Assistant Superintendent of Police of a sub-division. The Police service is divided into various departments like Crime Branch, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Home Guards, Traffic Bureau.

They also offer there services to Central Policing Agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Cabinet Secretariat Security, the Border Security Force (BSF), and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Indian Forest Service (IFtS)

Indian Forest Service was established for the efficient administration of the country's forest reserves. This is a challenging career as you will be responsible for the conservation and management of forest resources.

Central Services

Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

The Indian Foreign Service deals with the country's external affairs, including diplomacy, trade and cultural relations. It is responsible for the administration and activities of Indian missions abroad, and for the framing and implementation of the Government's foreign policy. Probationers at first work at the External Affairs Ministry, then they are posted to the Indian Mission of a particular country, as third secretaries.

Indian Railway Service

It is essentially responsible for the running of India's vast railway network. There are four non-technical and technical or engineering cadres in the railways. Entry for non-technical services - the Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS)- responsible for freight, passengers and movement of trains, the Indian Railway Personnel Services (IRPS)- responsible for recruitment and administration of staff, the Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS)- responsible for maintenance of accounts, and the Railway Police Service (RPS)- responsible for providing security to railway properties such as railway tracks, personnel, equipment etcis through the Civil Services examination. However, the engineering services (IRSE) have a different recruitment procedure.

Indian Postal Service

Responsible for the efficient functioning of the postal and telegraph services, officers after training with field officers are appointed as Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Assistant Post Master General through out the country and also in the Ministry at the centre.

Indian Customs and Central Excise Service

The Indian Customs and Central Excise Service (IC&CES) is basically concerned with two main aspects, mainly Customs and Excise. While Customs is concerned with the checking and levy of duty on taxable goods brought into the country, the Excise department is involved with the taxation of goods manufactured within the country.

Audit & Accounts Service

Indian Audit & Accounts Service comes under the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) which is responsible for the maintenance and audit of accounts in the states, as well as Union and State Governments. These officers work in the audit offices under CAG and in central ministries and state governments.

Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) is responsible for maintaining and auditing of accounts of the defence services

Indian civil Accounts Service (ICAS) under the control of Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance, maintains accounts of the State, Central governments and public sector enterprises.

Indian Information Service (IIS)

IIS under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is responsible for running government owned broadcasting and advertising agencies like All India Radio, Doordarshan and DAVP. The service is also responsible for handling press and public relations for the various central ministries, public sector enterprises and defense forces at home as well as abroad.

Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

IRS is responsible for fixing, assessment and collection of income tax. The service also has specialized branches dealing with the investigation of tax evasion, statistics and so on.

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