IAS vs PCS: Which is Best IAS or PCS?

What is IAS and PCS

In the government job sector, there has been a constant debate on IAS (Indian Administrative Service) vs PCS (Provincial Civil Service). Both of these profiles are often paired together almost as if they’re the same thing, and both of these certainly require you to qualify a highly competitive examination. However, there are a few key differences between the two. If you’re curious about the difference between the two, then further analysis will help you get cohesive information regarding IAS vs PCS.

What is IAS and PCS?

IAS (Indian Administrative Service) is a branch of Indian Civil Service that covers the national level. It is the highest post among the administrative services of India. If you qualify an IAS examination (alternatively known as Civil Service Examination), you are eligible for high-rewarding opportunities in Union and State Government. Furthermore, you get similar opportunities in the public service sectors. Provincial Civil Service (PCS) is a branch that covers the state level. Similar to IAS, a PCS official is a part of administrative service. As an IAS or PCS officer, your primary objective is to implement and enforce law and order. It might require you to supervise the implementation of new policies, as well.

Both IAS and PCS fall under the same category of Indian Administration. These positions were implemented for the smooth functioning of the Government. Thus, it poses a question if there is any difference between the two.

The Difference between IAS and PCS

The primary difference between IAS and PCS is the jurisdiction and the Government body they work for. IAS falls directly under the command of the Central Government while PCS falls under the State Government. Hence, it drastically impacts the examination, selection process, pay scale and other requirements that distinguish the two posts.

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 Examination and Selection Process

Both, IAS and PCS examination are divided into three stages: Preliminary, mains, and the interview. However, the topics in the IAS examination strongly focus on India and the world. For PCS, you need command over current affairs and history of the State with baseline knowledge about India and the world.

Here are some key differences between the two regarding the examination and selection process:

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Provincial Civil Service (PCS)
  • The examination is known as ‘All India Civil Services Examination’
  • Falls under the supervision of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
  • Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) holds jurisdiction over IAS selection, complaints and other procedures.
  • IAS falls under the appointment of President
  • You attend the State Civil Services Examination for PCS
  • State Public Service Commission (SPSC) that is individually set by each state supervises PCS examination
  • State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) which may be created upon State’s request holds jurisdiction over PCS.
  • The Governor of the State appoints PCS

IAS VS PCS Syllabus

IAS and PCS follow similar syllabus patterns. You can graduate from any stream with any degree and still attend IAS or PCS examination. However, the study requirement for both of these is a little different. IAS is more expansive with in-depth information and analysis of each subject. Therefore, you would have to prepare the topics you’ve chosen thoroughly with a strong understanding of concepts. Meanwhile, PCS focus more on the factual information, it is a straightforward test of your knowledge.

IAS PCS
  • Requires an aptitude test qualification (CSAT)
  • Contains one qualifying regional language
  • Examination syllabus and qualification remains the same throughout India
  • The requirement for CSAT depends on the State Government
  • Either statistics or regional language paper would be essential for qualification
  • Syllabus and qualification requirements may vary from one state to another.

As PCS falls under the State Government’s command, it can change the requirement for examination. While it is seldom the case, it still adds to the potential of unpredictable qualification requirements. However, even if PCS requirements may change, they are usually a branched version of the IAS syllabus. Thus, it can be concluded regarding both examination and syllabus that if you decide to prepare for IAS directly, you can cover PCS essentials. However, PCS would require you to revise and reinforce your factual understanding before attending the examination.

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IAS VS PCS Salary, Growth and Other Aspects

IAS  PCS
  • Payscale remains the same throughout the country for the post
  • May take around 5-7 years to reach District Collector position
  • A well-placed system for promotions and other opportunities
  • IAS is considered a higher qualification. Thus, the posts are generally high paying
  • Payscale may change according to the State
  • Takes anywhere between 15-17 years to reach a post with similar authority
  • Promotion strongly depends on the Hierarchy of the system or the state government.
  • Fairly enticing payscale that matches IAS for a position of equal authority

In simple words, IAS offers you better opportunities for promotions at a faster pace. You can have a drastic change in salary. It depends on your expertise. There’s still a specific amount of time in service you have to spend before promotion, but it’s generally lower than PCS.

IAS officers are believed to be more qualified for higher positions. From a sub-divisional officer to a cabinet secretary, there are many grades and promotions an IAS officer will get. Comparatively, IAS promotions take lesser time than PCS promotions. A PCS has a wide spectrum of posts and responsibilities. Their duties may vary according to the positions therefore, it takes time for a PCS officer to achieve their first promotion. You might also require two years of training prior to becoming a PCS officer.

Therefore, the growth of PCS is a little slower than IAS officers. Correlatively, PCS has more options and flexibility is payscale, grades, and other work assignments. If your aim is to become a DM, or Secretary of the government, IAS is what you should qualify.

Perks of IAS vs PCS

Both IAS and PCS are highly rewarding positions in the Government job sector. The difference in perk would vary according to the post and allowance. However, on the baseline, you get:

  • Accommodation in the form of home or apartment.
  • Electricity and water bills are taken care of by the Government.
  • You get access to a complete range of medical expenses.
  • You get a BSNL Sim card allotted by the Government for communication requirements and expenses.
  • The Government takes care of any travelling and stay expenses.
  • Access to stay in circuit house, bungalow and other Government buildings during travel.
  • You may take study leaves to prepare further for any examination or position.
  • Office vehicle for commuting is provided.
  • Household helpers, security guards, and other government-assigned professionals to take care of your requirements.
  • Pension post-retirement.
Conclusion: IAS Vs PCS

The key difference between IAS and PCS is the chain of command from the Government. Thus, before applying for IAS or PCS, it is indispensable to learn about the requirements from the Government. This would impact your preparations and the future in IAS or PCS career.

IAS and PCS are often paired together, and both are highly-rewarding professions in the Government sector. Indian Competitive Examinations for IAS and PCS holds a success rate of around 1%. Consequently, it makes them a highly challenging and most prestigious qualification in India. Thus, you need to incorporate a meticulous approach according to the syllabus and qualification requirements. Stay tuned with upcoming articles on our site.

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IAS vs PCS: Which is Best IAS or PCS?
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IAS vs PCS: Which is Best IAS or PCS?
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What are IAS and PCS? Is there any difference between IAS and PCS in the competitive examination? If you’re preparing for government jobs, which is best IAS or PCS?
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UPSC Pathshala
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