IAS Officer – How to become an IAS Officer

How to become an IAS Officer

IAS officer the designated name of the post inspires awe amongst any young Indian aspirant willing to start his/her career with a boom. The prestige associated with this three letter profession is unimaginable. One who is aspiring to be an IAS officer is well aware of the position he is dreaming of, but to fulfil such dreams and handle the responsibilities, one will have to shoulder after reaching the coveted post, is easier said than done.

To reach that spot one has to run a breath, racing with at least three hundred fifty thousand competitors in the form of an exam taken by UPSC every year. But once you have done this, you are at the apex of public services system in India. You can claim to be one of the very best just by the tag of an IAS officer. But before competing in civil services, one should be well aware of the fact that a rose is accompanied by hundred thorns. The objective of this practical truth – importance and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. However, this is just to aware the aspirants of Indian Administrative Services, about the hardships thereby preparing them to be mentally tough for the post-selection responsibilities.

For reaching to that coveted position, one has to really work hard for nearly 2  to 2-1/2 years and pass through absorbing procedures which comprises of written tests followed by interview, spreading across  a time span  of almost a year. To remain focused for such a long time one should inculcate qualities like self-discipline, patience, punctuality, commitment self-confidence and an endless desire of being one of the best among the contestants.

IAS officer is not a lesiurely walk, right from the preparation to the entire tenure of your service you have to work  diligently. To handle his work in the democratic setup,  where an IAS officers decision and their implementation affects the life of hundreds of people directly and indirectly, one has to  be full of stamina, have alertness of mind, be adaptable to follow difficult time schedules along with a good team spirit. This is such a career in which you are supposed to work with people of different thoughts and mindsets   so it is you who have to make your team to work hard for the society you have vowed to serve while joining this high profile career.

Eligibility to become an IAS Officer

Educational Qualification
To be eligible for becoming an IAS officer, the candidate must possess a degree from an Indian University or an equivalent qualification. Those in the final year of a degree course can also appear in the Preliminary Examination.

The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years on 1st August of  the year of examination and must not have attained 30 years of age on that date.

The upper age limit will be relaxed by 3 years for OBC candidates and 5 years for SC/ST candidates.

The upper age limit is also relaxed in favour of certain categories of civil servants working under the Government of India and Defence Services Personnel.

Other Eligibility Conditions:
These services involves decision making at the upper end of Government hierarchy and taking into account the sensitivity of the job, the aspirants have to be eligible under certain specific conditions as given ahead.

For the IAS and the IPS, the candidate must be a citizen of India.

For the other services, a candidate must be either:

  • a citizen of India, or
  • a subject of Nepal, or
  • a subject of Bhutan, or
  • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  • a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Process to become an IAS Officer

 To be an IAS officer one has to follow the below given steps:

Step 1
As a first step the aspirant has to procure the  UPSC’s Civil Services exam “Application Form” along with “Information Brochure” from any of the “Head Post Offices or Post Offices” spread throughout the country and sent the filled Application form to:

The Secretary
Union Public Service Commission
Dholpur House,
New Delhi – 110011.

Step 2
In the month of May or June the aspirants have to take the Indian Civil Services “Preliminary examinations” renamed as Civil Services Apptitue Test i.e CSAT Consisting of two papers. The papers are on:

Paper Marks Time
1. General Knowledge 200 2 Hr.
2. Comprehension and logical reasoning 200 2 Hr.

Note: CSAT is just a qualifying exam for the Final exam and scores obtained in this exam are not added to prepare the final result.

Step 3
Those candidates who are declared qualified in the “Civil Services Apptitude Test” are supposed to take the final exam (normally held in the month of October) having following papers:

1 Essay type Indian Language Qualifying Paper (300 marks)
1 English Qualifying Paper (300 marks)
1 General Essay type paper (200 marks)
2 General Studies papers (300 marks each)
4 Optional subjects papers (300 marks each)

Step 4

Once you are through, the final stage is the interview. The aspirants are grilled in the interview to test their personality and mental ability. Then the final list of the successful candidates is prepared and the candidates who have secured very good rank out of 400-450(approx.) selected candidates are admitted to National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie (now renamed as Lal Bahadur Sastri National Academy of Administration, LBSNAA) to impart training to IAS probationers. After completion of their training in various fields of administrative importance, they are posted as per requirements of the Central and State Governments.

Being All India Services the new  IAS incumbant’s  services are alloted to various state  cadre under Cadre System. The Cadre system is  alloted  on  a basis of lottery and the topper of each state may get a chance to get their home state if he had applied for one.

IAS Officer Salary

The IAS or the Indian Administrative Services officers are supposed to handle affairs of the government at the various level in its capacity. At the central level, this involves the framing and implementation of policy of the apex government. At the district level, this involves the affairs of the district concerned, including development functions. At the divisional level, the IAS officers look after law and order, general administration and development work of the division they are handling. Members of the Indian Administrative Service hold various administrative posts like District Collector, Heads of Departments, and Heads of Public Enterprises at the state level etc. They can also be posted on deputation to the Central Government to various posts.

The Government of India has fixed salary grades for Civil Servants. However, these keep on changing with new pay commission. Presently the range of salaries drawn at various levels is as follows:

Junior Officers Rs. 8000-275-13500
Senior Officers Rs. 10650-325-15200
Junior Administrative Grade Rs. 12,750-375-16,500
Selection Grade Rs. 15,100-400-18,300
Additional Secretary Rs. 22400-525-24500
Secretary/Cabinet Secretary Rs. 26,000/30,000

Note:- The above figures only provide an idea of the pay scales. Different branches of the service have different scales of pay. Even personnel of same branches may have different pay according to their area of posting and responsibility they are holding at a particular time.

In addition to the salary civil servants receive various types of allowances such as Dearness Allowance, City Compensatory Allowance, Leave Travel Allowance, Medical and Subsidized Housing.

Duties and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer
Being on the highest level of administrative services in both the State and Central Government,  the various level of IAS officers have  almost similar duties with increasing responsibility as level increases from a Junior Officers to a much Senior of the level of  Under Secretary, District Magistrates, Directors of public enterprises and Directors of government departments to  the Secretary.

Their duties involve:

  1. Planning in their district, making decisions on action to be taken.
    Making plans on drawing board and modifying them as and when required.
  2. It is the IAS Officer’s responsibility to implement the policies made in the best possible way and ensure rules and regulations are followed.
  3. IAS Officers must also supervise the progress of a wide range of projects, from the public to the corporate sectors.
  4. IAS officers are also responsible to monitor funds allocation and proper utilization for various projects, assuring that the funds are used for the intended purposes.
  5. IAS officers must assess projects, make recommendations and provide relevant information about projects, especially to parliament as and when called for.
  6. Besides all these routine responsibilities, IAS Officers will represent the government of India via boards of public corporations or institutions at national or international forums.

IAS officer Career prospects

Hierarchy in the Indian Administrative Services at the Central level.

Designation Time in Service
Under Secretary 4 years
Deputy Secretary 9 Years
Director 12 Years
Joint Secretary 20 Years
Additional Secretary 30 Years
Secretary 34 Years

Cabinet Secretary (TOP MOST POST)- This is the apex of the administrative setup in India.

Hierarchy of the Indian Administrative Services at the State level.

Designation Time in the Service
Deputy Secretary/ Additional District Magistrate Entry Level of the Services
Joint Secretary/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner 6 Years
Special Secretary 9 Years
Secretary 16 years
Principal Secretary/ Financial Commissioners 24 years
Chief Secretary (TOP MOST POST) 30 Year


  1. There is no equivalent post of Cabinet Secretary in the State Administration.
  2. The time span given above is the time period to reach to the designation given against it. But surely this is not the only criteria to reach at a particular designation.
  3. Reach at an equivalent position in the Central administration takes longer than in the State administration because there are lesser vacancies at the central level than at the state level.

Questions related to IAS Officer

Leave a Reply