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Indian Polity #12



  • Running the administration of a vast and diverse country requires efficient management of natural, economic and human resources. This is the primary responsibility of the civil services
  • Civil Services in India originated in the eighteenth century under the rule of the East India Company
  • Civil services in India comprise three types of services
    • All India Services
    • Central Civil Services – Group A
    • Central Civil Services – Group B
    • State Civil Services
  • According to the Constitution, more Civil Services can be set up by the Rajya Sabha with a 2/3rd majority vote. This applies to All India and Central Services, while the State Services can be constituted by similar act of state legislatures. The Indian Forest Service and the Indian Foreign Service were set up in this fashion
Civil Services under British rule

  • The civil services were first constituted under the East India Company as the Honourable East India Company Civil Servants (HEICS)
  • At this stage there were two groups of civil servants: covenanted (who entered into covenants with the Company) and the uncovenanted. The covenanted civil servants occupied higher positions in the hierarchy while the uncovenanted occupied lower levels
  • This service evolved to become the Indian Civil Service (ICS), which later became the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) after Independence
  • The Public Service Commission 1886-1887 (Aitchison Commission), was constituted to guide the evolution of the civil service. The recommendations of the Aitchison Commission included
    • Two-tier classification of covenanted/uncovenanted to be replaced by three tier classification – Imperial Civil Service, Provincial Civil Service and Subordinate Civil Service
    • Maximum age of entry to be 23 years
    • Statutory system of recruitment to be abolished
    • Competitive exam should not be held simultaneously in England and India
    • Certain percentage of posts in the Imperial Civil Service to be filled by promotion from Provincial Civil Services
  • The basic pattern of the cadre system in the civil service was established by the Aitchison Commission
  • In 1912, the Islington Commission was appointed, however its recommendations were not considered
  • By 1934, the system had evolved to consist of seven All India Services
  • The first Indian to rank first in the ICS examination was Gurusaday Dutt in 1905
All India Services

  • The All India Services are those civil services that serve all of India, under both the Union Government and the state governments
  • There are three All India Services:
    • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
    • Indian Police Service (IPS)
    • Indian Forest Service (IFS)
  • The officers of the All India Services are recruited and trained by the Union Government, but work under the Centre as well as the states
  • Officers of the All India Services are organised into cadres. 24 states have their own cadres. There are also three joint cadres:
    • Assam-Meghalaya cadre
    • Manipur-Tripura cadre
    • Arunchal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre
Central Civil Services

  • Central Civil Services function under the Central government
  • The Central services are categorised into two groups: Group A and Group B
  • There are more than 30 Central Services Group A. Prominent services in the Central Civil Services – Group A include
    • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
    • Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Indian Postal Service
    • Indian Economic Service
    • Indian Audits and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
    • Military Engineering Service
    • Survey of India Service
    • Central Secretariat Service
  • The Central Civil Service – Group B consists of three services
    • Defence Secretariat Service
    • Union Territories Administrative Service
    • Union Territories Police Service
State Civil Services

  • Each state has its own civil service
  • State level civil services include
    • State Civil/Administrative Service
    • State Police Service
    • State Forest Service
    • Public Works Department
  • The UPSC is a constitutional body authorised to conduct exams for appointment to the civil services. It was established under Part XIV of the Constitution
  • The Constitution provides for a Public Service Commission for the Union and a Public Service Commission for every state
  • The first Public Service Commission was set up in 1926, with the aim of indigenising the civil services
  • The Government of India Act 1935 provided for the establishment of a Federal Public Service Commission and Provincial Public Service Commissions
Membership to the Commission

  • The Chairman and other members of the UPSC are appointed by the President of India
  • At least half the members are civil servants with at least 10 years experience in Central or state services
  • The tenure of each member is six years or age 65, whichever is earlier
  • Members of the UPSC can be removed by the President on charges of misbehaviour, if these charges are upheld by the Supreme Court
Functions of the UPSC

  • Recruitment to services and posts under the Union Government through conduct of competitive exams
  • Recruitment to services and posts under the Union Government by direct selection. This type of recruitment is done to fill immediate/irregular job vacancies.
  • Advice on the suitability of officers for appointment, promotion and transfer
  • Advice the government on all matters relating to recruitment to various posts and services
  • Handle disciplinary cases related to different civil services


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13.1 Introduction

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