The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the administrative arm of the All India Services. Considered the premier civil service of India, the IAS is one of the three arms of the All India Services along with the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian
Forest Service (IFoS). Members of these three services serve the Government of India as well as the individual states. IAS officers may also be deployed to various public sector undertakings.
As with other countries following the Westminster parliamentary system of government, the IAS is a part of the permanent bureaucracy of the nation, and is an inseparable part of the executive of the Government of India. As such, the bureaucracy remains
politically neutral and guarantees administrative continuity to the ruling party or coalition.
Upon confirmation of service, an IAS officer serves a probationary period as a sub-divisional magistrate. Completion of this probation is followed by an executive administrative role in a district as a district magistrate and collector which lasts several
years, as long as sixteen years in some states. After this tenure, an officer may be promoted to head a whole state division, as a divisional commissioner.
On attaining the higher scales of the pay matrix, IAS officers may lead government departments or ministries. In these roles, IAS officers represent the country at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. If serving on a deputation,
they may be employed in intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or the United Nations, or its agencies. IAS officers are also involved
in the conduct of elections in India as mandated by the Election Commission of India.
Cadre allocation policy
The central government announced a new cadre allocation policy for the All India Services in August 2017, touting it as a policy to ensure national integration of the bureaucracy and to ensure an All India character of the services. The existing twenty-six
cadres were to be divided into five zones by the Department of Personnel and Training. Under the new policy, a candidate first selects their zones of preference, in descending order, then indicates a cadre preference from each preferred zone. The
candidate indicates his second cadre preference for every preferred zone subsequently. The preference for the zones and cadres remains in the same order and no change is permitted.
Officers remain in their allocated cadre or are deputed to the Government of India.
Zones under the current cadre allocation policy
AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland
Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala
Responsibilities of an IAS officer
The typical functions performed by an IAS officer are:
To collect revenue and function as court officials in matters of revenue and crime (for the revenue courts and criminal courts of executive magistrates), to maintain law and order, to implement union and state government policies at the grass-roots
level when posted to field positions i.e. as sub-divisional magistrates, additional district magistrates, district magistrates and divisional commissioners, and to act as an agent of the government in the field, i.e. to act as an intermediary
between the public and the government.
To handle the administration and daily proceedings of the government, including the formulation and implementation of policy in consultation with the minister-in-charge of a specific ministry or department.
To contribute to policy formulation, and to make a final decision in certain matters, with the agreement of the minister concerned or the council of ministers (depending upon the weight of the matter), when posted at the higher level in the Government
of India as a joint secretary, additional secretary, special secretary or secretary equivalent, secretary and Cabinet Secretary, and in state governments as secretary, principal secretary, additional chief secretary or special chief secretary
and chief secretary.
At the beginning of their career, IAS officers receive district training with their home cadres followed by their first posting. Their initial role is as a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and they are placed in charge of a district sub-division. As
SDMs, they are entrusted with maintaining law and order, as well as general administration and development work, of the sub-division. With the completion of their training, IAS officers are assigned to various posts in the state and union governments,
and in local-self governments, (municipal corporations, zilla parishads), and public sector undertakings.
In 2015 it was announced that a new designation of Assistant Secretary at the Central Secretariat had been created to enable new IAS officers to be posted to Delhi for a three-month assignment as part of their training regime. IAS officers were previously
only permitted to go on a deputation once assigned to the Central Secretariat after nine years of service in their home cadre. It was observed that the experience of central functions was severely lacking among these deputations, resulting in
this change in their training.
Completion of this probation is followed by an executive role in a district as a district magistrate and collector, which lasts several years, as long as sixteen years in some states. After this tenure as a district magistrate, the officer may be
promoted to head a whole state division, as a divisional commissioner.
On attaining the apex scale, IAS officers may lead government departments or ministries. In these roles, IAS officers represent the country at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. If serving on a deputation, they may
be employed in intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the United Nations or its agencies. IAS officers are also involved
in the conduct of elections in India as mandated by the Election Commission of India.
Positions and designations held by IAS officer in their career
Grade (level on Pay Matrix)
Position in state governments
Position in the Government of India
Position on the Indian order of precedence
Basic monthly salary
Cabinet Secretary grade (Pay level 18)
Cabinet Secretary of India
Apex scale (Pay level 17)
Higher administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 15)
Senior administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 14)
Selection grade (Pay level 13)
Junior administrative grade (Pay level 12)
Senior time scale (Pay level 11)
Additional district magistrate
Junior time scale (Pay level 10)
The Indian Police Service (IPS) is the policing arm of the All India Services. It replaced the Indian Imperial Police in 1948, a year after India became independent from the United Kingdom.
Along with the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), the IPS is one of the three All India Services — its cadre can be employed by both the Union Government and the individual States.
The service is not a force itself but provides leaders and commanders to staff the state police. Its members are the senior officers of the police. The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) is responsible for research and development of the police force in India.
the current roles and functions of an Indian Police Service Officer are as follows:
To fulfil duties based on border responsibilities, in the areas of maintenance of public peace and order, crime prevention, investigation, and detection, collection of intelligence, VIP security, counter-terrorism, border policing, railway policing, tackling smuggling, drug trafficking, economic offences, corruption in public life, disaster management, enforcement of socio-economic legislation, bio-diversity and protection of environmental laws etc.
Leading and commanding the Indian Intelligence Agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) etc., Indian Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil and Armed Police Forces in all the states and union territories.
Leading and commanding the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from IG rank which include the Central Police Organisations (CPO) such as Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Vigilance Organisations and Indian Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
To lead and command the force with courage, uprightness, dedication and a strong sense of service to the people.
Endeavor to inculcate in the police forces under their command such values and norms as would help them serve the people better.
Inculcate integrity of the highest order, sensitivity to aspirations of people in a fast-changing social and economic milieu, respect for human rights, broad liberal perspective of law and justice and high standard of professionalism.