Comparison of 2 Most Popular Civil Services - IAS and IPS

Out of the lakhs who take the prelims, only a few hundred succeed in clearing all three stages. A candidate is then accorded a service and posting based on his/her preferences and rank. The most sought after services are that of the IAS and the IPS. This article attempts a comparative study of both these esteemed services.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Required Minimum Rank

The required minimum rank is higher for the IAS even though generally, there are a higher number of vacancies for IAS than IPS. The following table gives you a picture of the last rank that bagged the IAS or IPS in the 2018 UPSC exams.

Category Min. rank for IAS Min. rank for IPS
Gen 92 236
OBC 457 480
SC 492 638
ST 528 645


The functions of an IPS officer include maintaining law and order in the district and other policing activities. The functions of an IAS officer include framing, implementing and supervising policies, disbursement of funds, revenue collection, and developmental work as well as maintaining law and order in the district. So, an IAS officer’s role encompasses that of an IPS as well.


There is not much difference when it comes to the pay package for these two services.


IAS officers get their training from Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie whereas IPS officers train at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad after the initial training at LBSNAA.

Topmost Position

The topmost position that an IAS officer can reach is that of the Cabinet Secretary. He/she can reach there after 35 years of service. An IPS officer can reach the highest rank, i.e. the Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) after 30 years in service. Sometimes an IPS officer might have to report to IAS officers who are junior to him in service.

Individual Aptitudes and Interests Matter

What should decide a candidate’s choice of service should ideally depend on his/her aptitude and interests. If you think you are a generalist and would make a good administrator, you should opt for the IAS. But if you have a talent for a profession in uniform, you should try for the police service. A comparison may sometimes seem unnecessary since both jobs involve different functions and require different skills. The country needs good officers in both domains for the unhindered functioning of the government.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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