The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a branch of the Indian Civil Service. It is one of the premier services of the Government of India. After qualifying the mandatory entrance exams, one becomes an IAS officer and gets recruitment in the government set up. IAS is one of the prestigious and popular career choices among many aspirants preferring to make a career in the government sector.

What makes it a popular career choice is the fact that along with monetary compensation, the job of an IAS officer offers several perks and privileges that no other job can offer. The role of an IAS officer in state administration, as well as central administration, is to manage various administrative matters of the government.

What is the Role of an IAS Officer?

The role of an IAS officer in society includes framing policies and advising the ministers on various issues, maintaining law and order, supervising the implementation of policies of State Government and Central Government, etc. IAS officers’ functional roles depend on the type of assignment they get. There are four types of assignments given to them:

Field Assignments

An IAS officers’ first posting after training is usually a field assignment. The various levels where they work have their complexities.

  • Sub Divisional Functions: As a Sub Divisional Magistrate, maintenance of law and order, overseeing developmental and administrative activities within the Sub -Division.
  • District Level Functions: As a District Magistrate, Collector, or Deputy Commissioner, perform the same functions as an SDM at the district level and also supervise SDMs in their role.

State Secretariat

State Secretariat postings involve using the experience and expertise gained in the field to advise elected representatives to formulate policies and make decisions regarding government processes.

Public Sector Undertakings

Many officers get posted to PSU cadres on deputation and become part of the higher management of various Public Sector Undertakings such as power stations, industrial units, etc.

Central Secretariat

Secretarial level postings at the level of the Central government deal with policy review, formulation, and implementation for different ministries.

Also Read: 10 Qualities an IAS Officer Must Have

Functions of an IAS Officer

The following are the essential functions of Civil Services:

  • Handling affairs of the government, including framing, implementing and reviewing policies.
  • Consulting with various departments and elected representatives for the above functions.
  • Management and disbursement of various funds of the central government allocated for different schemes.
  • Supervising the implementation of various schemes and policies of the government.
  • Responding to emergencies such as natural disasters, major accidents, and riots in their jurisdiction and coordinating relief activities.

Responsibilities of an IAS Officer

An IAS officer is responsible for the law and order, revenue, and general administration of the area that they are assigned to. The functions and responsibilities of the officer keeping on changing during their career. Some of the general functions of the IAS officer are:

  • Collection of revenue
  • Function as courts in matters of the revenue
  • Maintain law and order
  • Function as Executive Magistrate
  • Supervision of the implementation of State and Central Government policies
  • Supervision of public funds expenditure as per norms of financial propriety
  • Travel to places where policies are implemented
  • Framing and implementation of policies in sync with ministers of various ministries to handle daily affairs of the government.
  • They are also appointed in autonomous organizations, PSUs, UN organizations, international organizations like World Bank, Asian Development Banks, subordinate organizations, etc.
  • They also serve as personal secretaries to Ministers of the central government

Employment Opportunities for IAS Officers

For an IAS officer, there are a variety of employment opportunities. Being an IAS officer, one can serve as Personal Secretary to Ministers in Central Government. He/she can be appointed in autonomous organizations; subordinate organizations; PSUs; United Nations Organizations; international organizations, like World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank which offers deputation vacancies to IAS officers for foreign postings. IAS officers can also get the chance of working in multilateral organizations like WTO, Commonwealth, SAARC, International Court of Justice, etc.

Also Read: How To Think Like an IAS Officer?

Governmental and Field Assignment Designations for IAS Officers

During Field Posting:

  • SDO/SDM/Joint Collector/ Chief Development Officer (CDO).
  • District Magistrate/District Collector/Deputy Commissioner.
  • Divisional Commissioner.
  • Member Board of Revenue.
  • Chairman Board of Revenue

During Posting in Secretariat of State Government/ Central Government

  • Under Secretary in Government of India.
  • Deputy Secretary in Government of India.
  • Director in Government of India.
  • Joint Secretary to Government of India / Secretary in State Government.
  • Additional Secretary to Government of India / Principal Secretary in State Government.
  • Secretary to Government of India/ Chief Secretary.
  • Cabinet Secretary.

Eligibility Criteria to be an IAS Officer

  • For becoming an IAS officer, a candidate must qualify the UPSC civil services exam (UPSC CSE) that consists of three stages – Prelims, Mains, and Interview.
  • Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree in any stream from any recognized university.
  • Candidates who have appeared for the final examination and are awaiting results can also apply for the Preliminary Examination. However, one must produce proof of passing a bachelor’s degree to appear for the civil services Main exam. The degree has to be attached to the application for the Main exam.
  • Candidates having professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government or its equivalent are also eligible to apply for the IAS exam.
  • The minimum age required to appear for the IAS exam is 21 years.

Pay Scale of an IAS Officer

IAS officers are one of the most well-paid government servants. The salary of an IAS officer is as per his/her post and the associated pay scale. Given below is UPSC IAS salary after 7th pay commission:

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Post Grade Pay Scale Grade Pay
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), SDO, or Sub-Collector (after 2 years of probation) Junior or Lower Time Scale 15600 – 39100 5400
District Magistrate (DM) or Collector or a Joint Secretary of a Government Ministry Senior Time Scale 15600 – 39100 6600
Special Secretary or the Head of Various Government Departments Junior Administrative 15600 – 39100 7600
Secretary to a Ministry Selection Grade 37400 – 67000 8700
Principal Secretary of a Very Important Department of the Government Super Time Scale 37400 – 67000 8700
Varies Above Super Time Scale 37400 – 67000 12000
Chief Secretary of States, Union Secretaries in charge of various ministries of Government of India Apex Scale 80000 (Fixed) NA
Cabinet Secretary of India Cabinet Secretary Grade 90000 (Fixed) NA


IAS is an All India Service post. By choosing a career as an IAS officer, one can serve society. It is an assured career with many perks and privileges. The job of an IAS officer is highly respectable and there is a great sense of satisfaction as you will be contributing to society to the highest level.

The role of an IAS officer closely involves the political leadership in India. Students spend enormous time preparing for the UPSE CSE with the ultimate aim to become an IAS officer. However, only a few are able to live up to their dreams. Candidates need to dedicate a lot of efforts and hard work to be able to meet the goal.

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What is the Role of an IAS Officer? IAS Officers Administrative Functions and Responsibilities
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What is the Role of an IAS Officer? IAS Officers Administrative Functions and Responsibilities
Prior to deciding on sitting for the UPSC exam, every candidate wants to know about what to expect from their career of choice. Read to know about the role, responsibilities, function, etc of an IAS officer.
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