It is no doubt that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the epitome of administrative civil service in the Government of India. When it comes to the duties of an IAS officer, it can be easily said that they hold an important and crucial position within the Union Government, the States, as well as the public-sector undertakings.

In the article below, we will be exploring in detail the salient features of the Indian administrative service, and highlight the responsibilities of the officers who serve under it.

The IAS is an important participant in maintaining administration under the government in India. It is essential in keeping up the required stability and impartiality in the administration.  

About Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

The Indian Administrative Services, The Indian Forest Services, The Indian Revenue Service and the Indian Police Service are few of the major fragments of the All-India administrative services.

  • Once you are an IAS officer, both the individual states and the Union government can employ you.
  • When an IAS Officer enters the higher levels of the Super Time Scale to Apex Scale, they are eligible to head entire departments, followed by entire Ministries of the Government of India as well as the States.
  • The officers of the IAS represent the Indian Government at the international level when it comes to  bilateral/multilateral conferences and discussions.
  • In addition to the above, these esteemed officers also work at Intergovernmental organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations or even its Agencies.
  • IAS Officials also play a significant role at various levels of administration concerning elections in the country. They aid in carrying out an unhindered, unbiased and planned election process for the states and the Election Commission of India.

Indian Administrative Service Through History

  • As the leading services under the government of India, the IAS was constituted in the year 1946.
  • Before the enforcement of the IAS, the Indian Imperial Service (1893-1946) was in operation.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Aitchison Commission, the fundamental pattern of the cadre system was organized.
  • The Provincial Civil Service constituted in the 1890s was also on the basis of the recommendations of the Aitchison Commission.
  • In the year 1912, the Islington commission was set up to examine the Civil Service reforms. And by 1934, the Indian administration system was fragmented into seven All India Services as well as five Central Departments.
  • The IAS posts are filled by direct recruits, and also on the appointment/promotion of the State Civil Services officers as well as the Non-State Civil Service officers.

Functions of an IAS officer

Broadly IAS officer is responsible for maintenance of law and order, revenue administration and general administration in the area under him. 

When you become an IAS Officer, you will be responsible to perform the following duties: –

  1. You will be responsible for a majority of government affairs; you will work in the areas of implementation of the policy under the consultation of the minister, farming etc.

  2. You must implement the policies, supervise them and be available in all required places where the decided policies have been implemented.

  3. As an officer, you will also have the right to answer the state legislatures as well as the parliament in case of any irregularities happening in the area under you.

  4. You will be responsible to maintain overall expenditure, for which you are answerable to the parliament and state legislatures.

  5. At the first stage after joining the prestigious IAS, you will join at the post of sub-divisional level as a sub-divisional magistrate.

  6. Once in this position, you will be having in your hands the power to manage the entire developmental work of the area under your control. You will also possess the authority to ensure the law and order is maintained at all times.

  7. After this level, you as an IAS officer, will be posted at the district level, known as the district magistrate, deputy officer.

  8. Here, you will have major responsibilities, and also have the power to conduct programs that will take the district you are in charge of to higher development.

  9. You could also serve at the post of state secretariat or as the head of a Public Sector Unit.

  10. When at the central level, the central level, you could be posted as the Cabinet Secretary Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and/ or the Under Secretary.

  11. While you will formulate the policies and implement concerning finance and commerce, the final decisions on the same will be dependent on the concerned minister you’ll be working under.

  12. As an IAS official, you will have the complete authority, capability, and opportunity to aid needy and poor of the society.

  13. You will be responsible for the Recovery of income, and the unhindered functioning of tax courts.

  14. You will be working as an executive magistrate.

  15. You will function as a Head of Development (CDO) / District Development Commissioner.

  16. You will supervise the implementation of state and also the central government policies.

  17. You will constantly visit places to monitor new policy implementation.

  18. You will be responsible in the management of the expenditure of public funds as per the rules of financial ownership.

  19. When it comes to policy-making and decision making, you will hold different positions at various levels, such as undersecretary, etc.

  20. You are required to be committed to, contribute and give a definitive form to various policies.

  21. Overall, the basis of your duties and responsibilities as an IAS officer is to manage the everyday activities of the government. This includes the development and implementation of the policy in consultation with the minister responsible for the specific department concerned.

About the Author

Greeta Sulochana

Greeta Sulochana is a content evangelist with a flair for compelling creative writing. She has penned down her thoughts in poetry and prose since the past five years, and has catered her skills to the Indian and international audiences. She started out as an advertising intern with Grey worldwide, and is now a full-fledged writer in passion and profession, who has worked for major national brands.

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