Civil Services of India

"Indian Civil Service" redirects here. Indian Civil Service may also refer to Imperial Civil Service, the Indian civil services during the British Raj.

The Civil Services refer to the civil services, the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.[1][2]

In the parliamentary democracy of India, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people which are the ministers. But the handful of ministers cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. Thus the ministers lay down the policy and it is for the civil servants to carry out this policy.

The executive decisions are implemented by the Indian civil servants. The members of civil service serve at the pleasure of the President of India and Article 311 of the constitution protects them from politically motivated or vindictive action. Civil servants are employees of the Government of India; however, not all employees of the Government are civil servants. Civil servants in a personal capacity are paid from the Civil List. Senior civil servants may be called to account by Parliament.

As of year 2010, there are total 6.4 million government employees in India, and less than 50,000 civil servants to administer them.[3] The civil service system in India is rank-based and does not follow the tenets of the position-based civil services.[2]

In October 2015, the Government of India approved the formation of "new" Indian Skill Development Service-Group A.[4][5]


If a responsible government is to be established in India, there will be a far greater need than is even dreamt of at present for persons to take part in public affairs in the legislative assemblies and elsewhere and for this reason the more Indians we can employ in the public service the better. Moreover, it would lessen the burden of Imperial responsibilities if a body of capable Indian administrators could be produced..
 Regarding the importance of Indianising Civil Services, Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms[6]

Lord Warren Hastings laid the foundations of civil service and Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as the 'Father of Civil Service in India'. He introduced Covenanted Civil Services (higher civil services) and Uncovenanted Civil Services (lower civil services).

The present civil services of India is mainly based on the pattern of the former Indian Civil Service of British India. The civil services were divided into two categories - covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil service consisted of only Europeans (i.e., English personnel) occupying the higher posts in the government. The uncovenanted civil service was solely introduced to facilitate the entry of Indians at the lower rung of the administration.[7][8]

With the passing of the Government of India Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two – All India Services and Central Services.[9]

The All India and class 1 Central Services were designated as Central Superior Services as early as 1924.[10] From 1924 to 1934, Administration in India consisted of "ten"[10] All India Services and five central departments, all under the control of Secretary of State for India, and 3 central departments under joint Provincial and Imperial Control.

Present day

The present modern civil service was formed after the partition of India in 1947. It was Sardar Patel's vision that the Civil Service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. The values of integrity, impartiality and merit remain the guiding principles of Indian civil services.

Since the early 20th century, Indian civil servants have been colloquially called "babus",[11] while Indian bureaucracy is called "babudom", as in the "rule of babus", especially in Indian media.[12][13][14]


The constitution under Article 312[15] provides for All India Civil Services branches to be set up by giving the power to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Parliament of India) to resolve by a two-thirds majority to establish new all-India services. The Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service are set up under this constitutional provision.[16]

Power, purpose and responsibilities

An Indian diplomatic passport and an official passport which is generally issued to civil servants. As opposed to the deep blue passport issued to ordinary Indian citizens, the diplomatic passport is maroon coloured with the golden text 'Diplomatic Passport' printed on it, and the Hindi equivalent.

The responsibility of the civil services is to run the administration of India. The country is managed through a number of Central Government agencies in accordance with the policy directions given by the ministries.

The members of the civil services represent as administrators in the central government and state government; emissaries in the foreign missions/embassies; as tax collectors and revenue commissioners; as civil service commissioned police officers; as permanent representative(s) and employees in the United Nations and its agencies and as Chairman, Managing Director, full-time functional Director/Member of the Board of Management of various Public Sector Undertakings/ Enterprises, Corporations, Banks and financial institutions. Civil servants are employed to various agencies of India and can also be appointed as advisors or special duty officers or private secretaries to ministers of the Union and the State Government.[17][18]

All appointments in the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India and above, other major appointments, empanelment and extension of tenure is done by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. However, all appointments in the rank below Joint Secretary in the federal government is done by the Civil Services Board.


Head of the Civil Service

The highest ranking civil servant is the Cabinet Secretary. He is ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board; the chief of the Indian Administrative Service and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government of India. He also holds the 11th position in the Order of Precedence of India.

The position holder is accountable for ensuring that the Civil Service is equipped with the skills and capability to meet the everyday challenges it faces and that civil servants work in a fair and decent environment.

Name[19] Dates Notes
N. R. Pillai 1950 to 1953 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service. He is the first head of the civil service since Independence of India and is also the first from the state of Kerala to hold this post.
Y. N. Sukthankar 1953 to 1957 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
M. K. Vellodi 1957 to 1958 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service. He later served as Chief Minister of Hyderabad State.
Vishnu Sahay 1958 to 1960 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
B. N. Jha 1960 to 1961 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
Vishnu Sahay 1961 to 1962 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
S. S. Khera 1962 to 1964 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service. He is the first Sikh to become Cabinet secretary. He was known for use of tanks against rioters in Meerut riots of 1947.
Dharam Vira 1964 to 1966 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
D. S. Joshi 1966 to 1968 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
D. Das 1968 to 1969 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
B. Sivaraman 1969 to 1970 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
T. Swaminathan 1970 to 1972 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service.
B. D. Pande 1972 to 1977 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service. He is the longest serving Cabinet Secretary ever in history of Independent India.
N. K. Mukarji 1977 to 1980 He was a member of the Imperial Civil Service and the last ICS officer to become head of the civil service of Independent India.
S. S. Grewal 1980 to 1981 He is the first IAS to be appointed to this post.
C. R. Krishnaswamy Rao 1981 to 1985 He belongs to the IAS (AP:1949 batch).
P. K. Kaul 1985 to 1986 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1951 batch).
B. G. Deshmukh 1986 to 1989
T. N. Seshan 1989 to 1989 He belongs to the IAS (TN:1955 batch).
V. C. Pande 1989 to 1990 He belongs to the IAS (RJ:1955 batch).
Naresh Chandra 1990 to 1992 He belongs to the IAS (RJ:1956 batch).
S. Rajgopal 1992 to 1993
Zafar Saifullah 1993 to 1994 He belongs to the IAS (KA:1958 batch). He was the first and the only Muslim to have ever been appointed Cabinet Secretary of India.
Surendra Singh 1994 to 1996 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1959 batch).
T. S. R. Subramanian 1996 to 1998 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1961 batch).
Prabhat Kumar 1998 to 2000 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1963 batch).
T. R. Prasad 2000 to 2002 He belongs to the IAS (AP:1963 batch).
Kamal Pande 2002 to 2004 He belongs to the IAS (UL:1965 batch).
B. K. Chaturvedi 2004 to 2007 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1966 batch).
K. M. Chandrasekhar 2007 to 2011 He belongs to the IAS (KL:1970 batch).
Ajit Seth 2011 to 2015 He belongs to the IAS (UP:1974 batch).
P K Sinha 2015 to present He belongs to the IAS(UP:1977 batch)

Values and codes


A member of the civil service in discharge of his/her functions is to be guided by maintaining absolute integrity, allegiance to the constitution and the law of the nation, patriotism, national pride, devotion to duty, honesty, impartiality and transparency.[20]


The Government of India promotes values and a certain standard of ethics of requiring and facilitating every civil servant:[20]


The Civil Services of India can be classified into two types - the All India Services and the Central Civil Services (Group A and B). The recruits are university graduates (or above) selected through a rigorous system of examinations, called the Civil Services Examination (CSE) and the Engineering Services Examination (ESE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Combined Graduate Level Examination (CGLE) by the [21] (SSC).

All India Civil Services (AIS)

All appointments to All India Civil Services are made by the President of India.

Central Civil Services (CCS)

The Central Civil Services are concerned with the administration of the Union Government.

Group A[23]

All appointments to Civil Services, Group A[24] are made by the President of India.

Group B[28]

All appointments to Group B are made by the authorities specified by a general or special order of the President. However,Appointing authority of officers of the Central Secretariat Service is the President of India himself.

State/Provincial Civil Services (SCS/PCS)

The Provincial Civil Services (also known as State Civil Services) examinations and recruitments are conducted by the individual states of India. The state civil services deals with subjects such as land revenue, agriculture, forests, education etc. The officers are recruited by different States through the State Public Service Commissions.

Reforms and corruption

The IAS is hamstrung by political interference, outdated personnel procedures, and a mixed record on policy implementation, and it is in need of urgent reform. The Indian government should reshape recruitment and promotion processes, improve performance-based assessment of individual officers, and adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling.
 The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace[29][30]

As of 2011, in a duration of past three years over 450 chargesheets have been filed and a total of 943 cases are at different stages of investigation by CBI against civil servants.[31][32]

We estimate that if India were to pursue civil service reforms and reach the Asian average on government effectiveness, it could add 0.9 percentage points annually to per capita GDP... Institutional quality is a crucial driver of economic performance.
  Goldman Sachs report[33]

A study by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, released in 2012, ranked and rated Indian bureaucracy as the worst in Asia with a 9.21 rating out of 10. According to the study, India's inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy was responsible for most of the complaints that business executive have about the country.[34][35][36] A paper prepared in 2012 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions states that corruption is prevalent at all levels in civil services and it is institutionalised.[37][38]

On 28 November 2011, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions created a proposal to retire and remove incompetent, inefficient and unproductive All India Service officers after 15 years of service, instead of tolerating them until their retirement. Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian welcomed this move with caution, saying, "Periodical weeding out is very good. But the process to determine who needs to be prematurely retired should be fair and transparent. There is a possibility that even good officers may be targeted because of political reasons,". Former UPSC chairman PC Hota echoed his sentiments remarking that, "We need drastic remedies. The situation has become terrible. The other day an officer in Delhi was arrested for disproportionate assets of Rs.31.5 million. She is just a 2000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer with 11 years of service. But at the same time, the officers' service records should be analysed before a decision against him was taken".[39][40][41] The proposal has been accepted and rule 16(3) of the All India Services (death-cum-retirement benefits) Rules of 1958 was amended on 31 January 2012.[39][41][42]

In October 2013, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of TSR Subramanian & Ors vs Union of India & Ors [43] ordered both Government of India and State governments to ensure fixed tenure to civil servants. The court asked senior bureaucrats to write down the oral instructions from politicians so that a record would be kept of all the decisions. This judgement was seen on the similar lines of the Supreme Court's 2006 judgement in Prakash Singh case on police reforms.[44][45] The judgement was welcomed by various bureaucrats and the media who hoped that it will help in giving freedom and independence to the functioning of bureaucracy.[46][47]

"Much of the deterioration in the functioning of bureaucracy is due to political interference."

Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice PC Ghose, Supreme Court of India[46]

To recruit better candidates for the various services, UPSC brought about changes in the Prelims stage of the Civil Services Examination in 2011 by abolishing the optional subject paper and introducing the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Further changes were made in the Mains stage of the exam from 2013 onwards. Despite recent revisions, the contents of the exam are still same and the quality of the candidates is dropping day by day. It requires lot of cramming power to succeed in this exam. Since, only people with no opportunities in private sector, get the time and the patience to prepare for 2-3 years for civil services, the quality of the candidates have really become very low, as the better candidates go for MBA or offshore assignments in IT companies to US.

In 2016, the Ministry of Finance for the first time, dismissed 72 and prematurely retired another 33 Indian Revenue Service officers for non-performance and on disciplinary grounds.[48][49]

Employment by agency

Union Government executive branch civilian employment:

Independent agencies:


Civil Service Day

14th Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at the Civil Services Day event in 2015. Also seen here Jitendra Singh and 30th Cabinet Secretary of India Ajit Seth.

The Civil Service Day is celebrated on 21 April every year.[50] The purpose for this day is to rededicate and recommit themselves to the cause of the people. It is observed by all Civil Services. This day gives civil servants the opportunity for introspection and thinking about future strategies to deal with the challenges being posed by the changing times.[51]

On this occasion, all officers of Central and State Governments are honoured for excellence in public administration by the Prime Minister of India. The 'Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration' is presented in three categories. Under this scheme of awards instituted in 2006, all the officers individually or as group or as organisation are eligible.[51]

The award includes a medal, scroll and a cash amount of 100,000 (US$1,500). In case of a group, the total award money is 500,000 (US$7,400) subject to a maximum of 100,000 (US$1,500) per person. For an organisation the cash amount is limited to 500,000 (US$7,400).[51]

See also


  1. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (8 June 2011). "The civil service system". New Delhi: Government of India. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  2. 1 2 United Nations Public Administration Network. "National Civil Service System in India : A Critical View" (PDF). Government of India. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  3. Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (8 June 2010). "The year 2010 Civil Services Report: A Survey" (PDF). New Delhi: Government of India. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  4. "Government nod to raise new Group-A civil service cadre". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  5. "Govt approves formation of Indian Skill Development Service". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  6. P. N., Chopra (2003). A Comprehensive History of India, Volume 3. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 9788120725065.
  7. Meghna Sabharwal, Evan M. Berman "Public Administration in South Asia: India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (Public Administration and Public Policy," (2013)
  8. "Civil Service". The British Library. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  9. Goel, S.L. Public Personnel Administration : Theory and Practice. Deep and Deep Publications, 2008. ISBN 9788176293952.
  10. 1 2 Maheshwari, Shriram. Problems and Issues in Administrative Federalism. Allied Publishers. ISBN 9788170233428.
  11. "Yet to start work, Natgrid CEO highest paid babu". The Times of India. Aug 23, 2012. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  12. Anand Parthasarathy (Sep 1–14, 2001). "A barbed look at babudom: Will the typically British humour of Yes Minister work if transplanted to an Indian setting? Viewers of a Hindi satellite channel have a chance to find out.". Frontline, India's National Magazine from the publishers of The Hindu. Bureaucracy knows no bounds...
  13. "PM Modi tightens screws, gives babudom a new rush hour". The Times of India. Sep 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  14. "Babu". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  15. "Constitution of India, Article 312".
  16. "Official Government website".
  17. "Consolidated Instructions to the appointment of personal staff to Union Ministers" (PDF). Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  18. "Why babus want to be private secys to ministers now". Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  19. Cabinet Secretariat; Government of India (8 June 2011). "Complete List of Cabinet Secretaries since 1950". New Delhi: Government of India. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  20. 1 2 Misra, P.K. (4 August 2010). "The Role of civil services in India (Standard Note: DOPT/Government of India)" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  21. Staff Selection Commission
  22. "Inclusion of IFS in Civil Services India".
  23. "Complete Civil Service Schedule of the Civil Services Group A of India" Archived 23 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Civil Service Group A - Government of India 1 January 2011.
  25. DRDO
  26. Indian Corporate Law Services (ICLS) How to apply ? ICLS Academy Manesar Campus Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), recruitment of ICLS officers through Civil Servic...
  28. "Complete Civil Service Schedule of the Central Civil Services Group B of India". Central Civil Service Group B - Government of India 1 January 2011.
  29. "The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  30. "IAS Reforms: Cleaning Rust From the Frame". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  31. "453 IAS,and other civil servants chargesheeted in last 3 yrs". New Delhi: Indian Express. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  32. "Over 400 central officers booked in last 3 yrs". New Delhi: Zee News. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  33. "Merit-based civil service will boost growth". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  34. "Indian bureaucrats worst in Asia, says PERC study". New Delhi: India Today. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  35. "Indian bureaucracy rated worst in Asia". New Delhi: CNN-IBN. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  36. "Indian bureaucracy rates worst in Asia: 2012". New Delhi: Deccan Herald. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  37. Sharma, Aman (14 April 2012). "Federal Government paper admits corruption at all levels in civil services". New Delhi: India Today. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  38. "Background Paper for 2012 Civil Services Day: Discussions" (PDF). New Delhi: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (India). 14 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  39. 1 2 "Lazy and incompetent babus of the All India Services to retire early". New Delhi: India Today. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  40. "Corruption taint may lead to compulsory retirement for babus". New Delhi: India Today. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  41. 1 2 "Proposal to retire incompetent officers after 15-year service". New Delhi: Rediff News. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  42. "Govt of India notification for amending Rule 16(3) of the All India Service (DCRB) Rules, 1958" (PDF). Govt of India. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  43. "WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO(s). 82 OF 2011". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  44. "Prakash Singh Case". Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  45. "SC asks states to file affidavit on police reforms". Hindustan Times. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  46. 1 2 "Supreme Court favours law to regulate transfer, posting of IAS officers". 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  47. "SC to bureaucrats: Don't take oral instructions from netas". The Times Of India. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  48. "For good governance, Finance Ministry fires 72 tax officers, retires 33 more". Business Standard. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  49. "Government takes strict action against defaulting/non performing tax officials/officers". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  50. "Civil Services Day". New Delhi: Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  51. 1 2 3 "The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Public Administration Award Scheme" (PDF). New Delhi: Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 Feb 2012.

External links


All India Civil Service

Central Civil Service


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