Serving one’s country is the proudest profession anyone can have. You can serve your country in hundreds of ways but the tough job is to be part of the system and then changing it for the betterment of the entire nation. With this thought in mind, many people opt for civil services and for that they need to get through the UPSC exam.

Civil services itself is a vast field. It has many different posts and each post has its own set of responsibilities and power. Many students preparing for civil services get confused between IAS vs IPS vs IFS. Many people do not know the difference between these three posts. Here in this article, you will get to know what each of these post means and who should be choosing them.

What is IAS?

IAS stands for Indian Administrative Service. It was formed in 1893 and was initially known as Imperial Civil Services. The examination for IAS is conducted by Union Public Service Commission through the UPSC exam. At present, there are 4926 posts of IAS and out of that 3511 are selected via this examination. Whereas 1415 are promoted by State Civil Services. The major duties of an IAS officer include Law and Order Management, Policy Formulation, Policy Implementation, Civil Administration, Advisor to Ministers and Managing Bureaucracy whether it is at Center or at State.

What is IPS?

IPS stands for Indian Police Services. It was formed in 1948 and was initially known as Indian Imperial Police. The examination for IPS is conducted by Union Public Service Commission through the UPSC exam. The IPS officers selected for these posts are the leaders and commanders to head the police staff of the state or all India Central Armed Police Forces.

They do not have any role in law-making rather they are the ones implementing the laws and see to it that these laws are followed. They lead and command Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and many other departments. They make sure that no laws are being broken, reduce crime, and prevent any terrorism and smuggling or any other illegal activity.

Also Read: Check-out the Eligibility for the UPSC IAS Exam

What is IFS?

IFS stands for Indian Foreign Services. It was formed in 1946. The examination for IFS is conducted by Union Public Service Commission through the UPSC exam. Ambassador, High Commissioner, Foreign Secretary are few of the offices held by the IFS officers. These officers are controlled by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Its main head is Foreign Secretary of India. The main aim of IFS officers is to manage India’s foreign relations. Apart from that other duties include Economic Diplomacy, Trade Relations, Cultural Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy, Defense Diplomacy and Intergovernmental Organization. They represent India in all International Organizations around the world. They are also appointed heads at Passport offices.

How are IAS/ IPS or IFS Officers Selected?

For all the three posts of IAS/ IPS or IFS, you have to get through UPSC Civil Services Examination. It is a national examination and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. It is conducted in two steps.

Step 1 includes an examination that has two objective type papers. One is general studies and the second is an aptitude test. In step 2 you have to clear the main examination that comprises of nine papers of essay type. When you clear both these papers then you have to pass through the Personality test.

It is important that you should either be a graduate or have passed in an examination that would make you equivalent of a graduate. You must be between 20 to 32 years of age when you appear for the examination that is on the 1st of August of the year you are appearing for the examination.

Also Read: Here’s a Detailed Comparison between IAS or IPS

IAS vs IPS vs IFS – Who should Choose What?

Now that you have got the basic idea about these posts, let’s see who should be choosing which posts.

Who should be Choosing IAS?

If you believe that you have the ideas that could change people’s lives through revolutionizing laws then IAS is for you. If lawmaking, its proper enforcement, heading the police staff in proper manner and giving people their civic rights appeals to you then you should apply for IAS.

Who should be Choosing IPS?

If you love law and order and want to see it being followed by people then IPS is for you. You should be brave and should able to lead the entire police team. You cannot be scared of terrorism or smugglers as you have to curb that problem out. You cannot just sit back and do not expect to get your hands dirty. This post requires action from your side. You have to be defensive as well as attacking as lives of all police officers and the civilians will be in your hands.

Who should become an IFS Officer?

If you have excellent communication skills, a voice that demands attention and love for your country that you can proudly represent in any corner of the world then IFS is for you. You have to know how to communicate with foreign ministers so that India has good relations all over the world. You cannot be afraid to travel. Not only do you have to be good with people from different countries but also with your own people. You have to respect all the different cultures and never forget your own culture.

Also Read: IPS and SPS: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

IAS vs IPS vs IFS – Salary Difference

Let’s check the salary difference of the different posts available after the UPSC exam.

Salary of an IAS Officer

Basic Pay(INR) Number of years required in service Post
District Administration
10 56100 1-4 Sub-Divisional Magistrate
11 67,700 5-8 Additional District Magistrate
12 78,800 9-12 District Magistrate
13 1,18,500 13-16 District Magistrate
14 1,44,200 16-24 Divisional Commissioner
15 1,82,200 25-30 Divisional Commissioner
16 2,05,400 30-33 No Equivalent Rank
17 2,25,000 34-36 No Equivalent Rank
18 2,50,000 37+ years No Equivalent Rank

Also Read: An Insight into IAS Officer’s Work and Life

Salary of an IPS Officer

Rank Time-Scale Pay-Scale Grade
SP Junior Scale ₹ 15,600 – ₹ 39,100 (Level 10 in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 5,400
Senior Scale ₹ 15,600 – ₹ 39, 100 (Level 11 in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 6,600
Junior Administrative Grade ₹ 15,600 – ₹ 39, 100(Level 12 in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 7,600
Selection Grade ₹ 37,400 – ₹67,000 (Level 13 in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 8,700
DIG Super time scale ₹ 37, 400 – ₹ 67,000 (Level 13A in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 8,900
IG Super time scale ₹ 37,400 –  ₹ 67,000 (Level 14 in the Pay Matrix) ₹ 10,000
ADG Above super time scale ₹ 67, 000 – ₹ 79,000 (Level 15 in the Pay Matrix)
DG Above super time scale HAG ₹ 75,500 – ₹ 80,000 (Level 16 in the Pay Matrix)

Also Read: Check-out the Salary, Ranks and Duties of an IPS Officer

Salary of an IFS Officer

Grade  Pay Band  Grade Pay
Junior scale ₹ 15600 – ₹ 39100 ₹5400
Senior time scale ₹ 15600 – ₹ 39100 ₹6600
Junior administrative ₹ 15600 – ₹ 39100 ₹7600
Selection grade ₹37400 – ₹67000   ₹7600
Super time scale ₹37400 – ₹67000 ₹10000
Super Super time scale ₹37400 – ₹ 67000 ₹12000
Apex Payscale     ₹80000 No-pay
Cabinet Secretary     ₹90000 No-pay

It is very common among UPSC exam aspirants to get confused about choosing the right post. They often get stuck in the dilemma between IAS vs IPS vs IFS. Hopefully, this article will help you get a way out of the dilemma and help you understand the roles, responsibilities and power attached with the different posts in a better way.

All the posts have their unique presence in the country and all these allow to serve the nation and earn a lot of respect. So, if the main agenda is to serve the country, one can choose any of the available posts after clearing the UPSC exam. So for achieving this dream, the first and foremost thing that needs to be done is getting well prepared for the UPSC exam. You can take your preparation a level higher by enrolling to one of the best online UPSC classes and get expert guidance from your personal mentor. You can also keep a watch here for more informative articles on UPSC exam preparation that will ease your preparation process.

Also Read : How Many IAS Officers are Selected Every Year? Important Stats Related to UPSC IAS Exam

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IAS vs IPS vs IFS: Selection, Power, Salary Difference among Different UPSC Posts
Ready for the UPSC exam? Confused between choosing which the right post? Stuck in the IAS vs IPS vs IFS dilemma? Click here to understand which post is best for you.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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