A question that most youngsters and students often hear is “What do you want to be in life?” Apart from the usual responses like Doctor, Engineer or Army Officer, a lot of “I want to be an IAS Officer” is heard.
The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a highly prestigious career option for talented people in India. It is one of the All India Services along with others such as Police Services, Defence and Emergency Services.
IAS officers serve as the permanent bureaucracy of the Executive Branch of the Government of India.
The executive decisions taken by elected bodies of the government are implemented by the Indian Administrative Service and allied services.
To become an IAS Officer is definitely a tough task. However, the one who has the grit to achieve the dream of becoming an IAS Officer will definitely make it. No matter, whatever the background of the aspirant is, the interest and hard work pay off and help them achieve their dream of becoming an IAS officer.
Due to the range of responsibilities handled by an IAS officer, the government provides the IAS officers with a lot of discretionary powers as well as privileges.
Apart from this, they enjoy a high social position due to the services they perform for society. IAS officers are able to use their powers and privileges to bring a positive impact on a lot of people’s lives.
How to Become an IAS Officer?
To become an IAS officer, you must clear the civil services exam conducted by the UPSC. This is one of the toughest exams in India, although not impossible to crack. The civil services exam has three stages, each stage eliminating candidates those do not clear it.
Starting with about 5 lakh candidates in the first round, only about 700 – 1000 are left with at the end of the final round which is the interview. Among those, only about a hundred can actually get the post of the IAS!
Tips to start your IAS preparation can be found in the linked article.
What is the main work of an IAS officer?
- The IAS officer performs a number of varied tasks depending on his/her posting and department.
- Much of the work involves an administrative charge of a district/area/department, policy formulation, policy implementation, heading PSUs, etc.
- An IAS officer can also be sent on missions abroad, or assigned to a department directly under the central government.
- There are provisions to depute IAS officers to private organizations for short tenures as well.
IAS officers’ functional roles depend on the type of assignment they get. There are three types of assignments given to them:
- State Secretariat/Public Sector Undertakings
- Central Secretariat
IAS officer power
Powers and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer: An IAS Officer as a civil servant is responsible for the law and order and general administration in the area under his work. Generally, the functions of an IAS officer are as follows:
- The functions and responsibilities of IAS officers change at various points of their career
- In the beginning of the career, an IAS Officer joins the state administration at the sub-divisional level and as a sub-divisional magistrate looks after general administration and development work as well as law and order in the areas under his/her control.
- The post of the District Officer variously known as District Magistrate, district Collector or Deputy Commissioner is the most esteemed and distinguishable post held by the members of the service.
- At the district level, IAS officers are mainly delegated with district affairs, including implementation of developmental schemes.
- During the normal course of their career, the officers also oblige in the State Secretariat or as Head of Departments or in Public Sector Undertakings.
- To take care of daily affairs of the government including forming and implementing of policy after consulting the minister of the concerned ministry
- Supervision of the implemented policies
- Travelling to places where the policies are being implemented
- Responsible for personal supervision for the expenditure of public funds on the implementation of policies as the IAS officers are accountable to the Parliament and State Legislature for any indiscretions that may happen
- IAS officers at various levels like a joint secretary, deputy secretary make their contributions in the process of policy formulation and decision-making and the final shape of the policy is given or a final decision is taken with the agreement of the minister concerned or the cabinet depending upon the significance the issue.
Laws related to IAS Officer power:
- Code of Criminal Procedure (1973): Sections 107,108,109,110,133,144 and 176 list out powers for maintaining law and order given to Magistrates
- Tenancy Laws define the powers of a collector regarding revenue
- National Disaster Management Act list out powers of Chief Secretaries and Magistrates while directing disaster relief operations.
- Arms Act, Drug Licenses Act, Essential Commodities Act etc. list out IAS officers’ power to enforce regulations in different situations.
These are the main laws that deal with powers of IAS, though there are close to 300 laws which define them on a case to case basis. These rules are also provided in an abridged form in the All India Service Manuals which are updated from time to time by the Department of Personnel and Training.
The service manuals also list out the IAS conduct rules. All civil servants are answerable to state and central legislatures.
What is the salary of an IAS officer?
After the 7th Pay Commission’s implementation, civil servants in India get a good take-home pay package.
The basic per month salary of an IAS officer starts at Rs.56,100(TA, DA and HRA are extra) and can go on to reach Rs.2,500,00 for a Cabinet Secretary.
Apart from the decent monthly income, they also get amenities such as good accommodation, official vehicles, household staff, subsidised electricity, water, etc. To learn more about the IAS officer salary, click here.
Life of an IAS Officer
The IAS is a perfect opportunity for people who wish to bring a positive impact on the lives of their fellow citizens. Bringing electricity to the homes of the poor, giving health and sanitation facilities to those who don’t have access, making roads to connect remote places can all be just a day in your life as an IAS officer.
Moreover, an IAS officer hobnobs with the who’s who of society. At the apex level, you could even be having tea with the Prime Minister on a regular basis! For more on the life of an IAS officer, click here.
IAS Officer Training
Candidates who successfully clear the UPSC IAS Exam get the first taste of life as an IAS officer as soon as they join the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) for initial training.
The day to day life of an IAS officer during training is very disciplined and starts at 6 am sharp.
The following is the schedule usually followed at LBSNAA:
- 6 am: Morning exercise/horse riding training for 60 minutes
- 7 am to 9 am: Free time for morning activities
- 9:30 am onwards: 8-10 hours of academic activity including lectures, sports and extracurricular activities.
Officer trainees are left free before and after dinner to socialise and prepare for the next day. Outdoor activities such as treks to nearby rural areas to learn to cope with adversity and understand the lifestyle of rural India are an integral part of the training.
The training of IAS officers also includes Bharat Darshan (a study tour of India). Read more on the IAS Officer Training here.
Once a trainee graduates as an IAS officer, their schedule changes according to their allotted post.
A typical day for an officer posted in the field would begin at 9 am and would involve going through various daily reports, supervising various daily tasks of the department or district, visiting different areas to review the implementation of developmental activities and meetings.
These activities can stretch into the late evening and usually end by about 9 pm.
During emergencies such as natural disasters, riots etc. an IAS officer might put in continuous work coordinating response and relief teams well beyond normal duty hours.