The IAS is a dream for the millions of Indian youth who devote years of their time, and make innumerable sacrifices to achieve it. Every year, thousands of aspirants enroll themselves in the best IAS academy they can find, in order to chart their course towards the IAS dream.
For those who harbour the IAS dream, it is essential to know the kind of duties, powers and responsibilities that are part and parcel of the illustrious post. Indian Administrative Service officers are an intricate part of the Indian bureaucracy and government machinery. The career is a complete package comprising an attractive pay package, job security, social status, and an excellent platform for serving the nation on various levels.
Lakhs of aspirants fill the form every year with an aspiration to join Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) which is the last and final step before joining the duty and coming to terms with living the life of an IAS officer.
The civil services examination is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages preliminary, main, and interview to select officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and the Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.
Once an IAS aspirant successfully faces the civil service exams, his/her life transforms into a very disciplined one. IAS officers have to perform several duties in a day, based on their department. Most of the responsibilities involve going through daily reports, delegating duties, and overseeing policy formulation. The duties also involve extensive travelling across the length and breadth of their administrative area or district.
Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Haileybury College in London and then sent to India. Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854. The Report recommended that patronage based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit based system with entry through competitive examinations. For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855.
Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Satyendranath Tagore brother of Rabindaranath Tagore succeeded; after three years later four other Indians succeeded.
Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS. It was only after the First World War and the Montague Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to. From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
Similarly, prior to independence superior police officers belonged to the Indian (Imperial) Police appointed by the Secretary of State by competitive examination. The first open competition for the service was held in England in June, 1893, and 10 top candidates were appointed as Probationary Assistant Superintendents of Police. Entry into Imperial Police was thrown open to Indians only after 1920 and the following year examinations for the service were conducted both in England and India.
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service (ICS) is the Civil Services Examination and one of the toughest competitive exams in India. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of officers for the All India Administrative Civil Service.
It is very important for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the examination such as the UPSC IAS syllabus, pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the registrations.
The selection of the candidates will be made through the preliminary exam, main examination and an interview/personality test. This year-long selection process will begin in the month of June and conclude in April. The final merit list for the CSE will be released in May.
The role of IAS officers demands a great deal of responsibility. It is also important that an officer is physically and mentally fit to handle the work pressure without giving in. Handling affairs of government that involve framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the concerned minister, implementing policies through supervision, and also traveling to places where the approved policies will be implemented – this all needs energy and efficiency.
Implementing policies comprises disbursement of funds through personal supervision answerable to the Parliament and State Legislatures for any violation of rules while on duty functions and responsibilities differ at different levels of career.
Initially, IAS officers join the state administration at the sub-divisional level, resuming their services as sub-divisional magistrates, and look after law and order, general administration and development work in the area assigned to them.
At the Centre, the IAS officers play a key role in formulation and implementation of policies related to a particular area for instance, finance, commerce, etc.
During formulation of a policy and decision making, IAS officers serving at different levels i.e. joint secretary, deputy secretary give their valuable inputs. The policy takes its final shape through a final decision the minister concerned or the cabinet, depending on the seriousness of the situation.
With the roles and responsibilities of an IAS officer, aspirants might have understood that Civil Services is opted not for attractive salary or perks, though the pay scale of an IAS officer is lucrative.
The life of an IAS officer is indeed hectic yet an interesting one! They are the ones who have the real power to bring about the necessary change in society and help the underprivileged get their rights in a real sense.
(The author is a regular columnist)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.