Civil Services in India: All-India and Central Services

The civil services in India are divided into two categories: All-India services and Central services. The All-India services are common to both the Central and state governments, while the Central services work exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Central government.

All-India Services

The All-India services are jointly controlled by the Central and state governments, with the ultimate control resting with the Central government. The three All-India services are:

  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
  3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

Central Services

The officers of Central services work under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Central government and are further classified into Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D.

Group A Services

There are currently 60 Group A Central services, some of which are:

  • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Indian Audit and Account Service (IAAS)
  • Indian Postal Service (IPOS)
  • Indian Trade Service (ITS)
  • The IFS is the most prestigious and highest Central service in terms of status, pay, and emoluments.

Group B Services

Examples of Group B services are:

  • Armed Force HQ Civil Service (AFHCS)
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS)
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS)
  • Pondicherry Civil Service (PCS)
  • Pondicherry Police Service (PPS)


The recruitment process for Central Civil Services is conducted through the Civil & Engineering Services Examination of UPSC and the Combined Graduate Level Examination of Staff Selection Commission (SSC).


About Important Civil Services

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

The IAS officers handle government affairs, frame policies, and modify them if necessary. They implement policies through various means and assume various responsibilities, working in roles such as collector, chief secretary, commissioner, head of public sector units, cabinet secretary, etc.

Responsibilities & Training:

  • Two years of probationary period in field offices, training schools, in a District Magistrate\’s office and in a secretariat.
  • Initially, the officer works as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and carries out tasks such as handling law and order, implementing developmental work in the stipulated area, and general administration.
  • After completing two years as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate, the officer shifts to a senior scale and starts climbing the ranks.
  • The top rank civil servant in any State is the Chief Secretary of that state.

Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

The IFoS officers are responsible for the proper implementation of the National Forest Policy, which envisages sustainable environment, ecological balance, and scientific management of forests. They exercise administrative, financial, and judicial powers in their domain.


  • Implementation of the National Forest Policy.
  • Independent of the district administration.
  • Exercises administrative, financial, and judicial powers in their domain.

About the Indian Police Service (IPS):

  • Controlling authority: Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Recruitment: UPSC Civil Services Examination
  • Responsibilities: maintaining law and order, public safety, and security through prevention of crimes, traffic management, criminal investigations, etc.
  • Training: longest among all services, extends to almost 2 years including a probation period
  • Ranks: Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Superintendent of Police, Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner of Police, Director-General of Police
  • Physical tests required as per rank
  • National intelligence and security-based organizations served: Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Border Security Force, Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Reserve Police Force
  • Opportunities to serve in international organizations, embassies around the world, etc.


About the Indian Foreign Service (IFS):

Controlled by: Ministry of External Affairs

Recruitment: UPSC


  • Training program at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie
  • Foreign Service Institute training in New Delhi for diplomatic knowledge and skills
  • Compulsory foreign language (CFL) training


  • Third Secretary (entry-level)
  • Second Secretary (after confirmation)
  • First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister, Ambassador/High Commissioner/Permanent Representative


  • Promoting India\’s interests and issues at various platforms
  • Bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press, etc.
  • Protecting India\’s national interests
  • Representing India in Embassies, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organizations like the UN
  • Negotiating agreements with authorities of the receiving state
  • Providing consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad

About Indian Revenue Services (IRS):

  • Controlling Authority: Ministry of Finance
  • Recruitment: UPSC and Central Services (Group B) of Income Tax Service (Group B)


  • Responsible for revenue collection for development, security, and governance
  • Controlled by two separate statutory bodies – CBDT-IRS (Income Taxes) and CBIC-IRS (Customs and Indirect Taxes)
  • Formulate policies, implement policies and discharge the functions of an investigator, quasi-judicial authority, prosecutor, and negotiator of International Agreements, etc.

Training and Career:

  • Begin service in Group A as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax
  • Undergo training at the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur
  • Induction training and Foundation Course for about 4 months
  • Specialized modules in taxation, accounting, public finance, fiscal policy, etc. for 16 months
  • Study tour and international attachment to different countries

Some Major Posts:

  • Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in the ITD
  • Member or Chairperson of the CBDT
  • Deputy Commissioner, Joint Commissioner, Additional Commissioner, Commissioner, Principal Commissioner, and Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.


About Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS):

  • Controlling Authority: Ministry of Railways
  • Recruitment: UPSC
  • Functions under the administrative control of Member (Staff) at Railway Board\’s level
  • Unique service amongst Central Group \’A\’ Civil Services catering to Human Resources & Personnel Management discipline
  • Performs major role in all activities of Indian Railways, directly connected with train operations, safety, productivity and earnings, as well as support activities for all departments of IR
  • Recruitment takes place through Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC and through promotion of Group \’B\’ Personnel Officers
  • Training at National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR)/Vadodara, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration (LBSNAA)/Mussorie, National Academy for Direct Taxes (NADT)/Nagpur, and other specialized training institutes
  • Other Group A Railway Services include Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE), Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), Special Class Railway Apprentice (SCRA), Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineer (IRSSE), Indian Railway Stores Services (IRSS), Indian Railway Protection Force (IRPF), Indian Railway Medical Services


About the Indian Postal Service (IPS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Communications

Recruitment: UPSC


  • Responsible for running ‘India Post’
  • Provides services ranging from conventional postal services to banking and e-commerce services
  • Officers perform a wide range of functions such as administration, management, coordination, and recruitment-related matters of employees
  • High job mobility and variety in the service as officers can go on deputation to the army


  • Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, and National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT)
  • Rafi Ahmed Kidwai National Postal Academy (RAKNPA) Ghaziabad

Higher Ranks:

  • Senior Superintendent of Post Office (SSPO), Assistant PMG (Post Master General)
  • Promotions to higher ranks such as Additional Secretary, member of Postal Services Board, Chief PMG, Secretary, Department of Post and Chairman of Postal Services Board


About Indian Audit and Accounts Service:


  • Audit the accounts of various government departments, public sector enterprises, railways, defence etc.


  • Recruits undergo 18 months of training at the National Academy of Audit and Accounts in Shimla.
  • Trained in government and commercial accounting, auditing, and their implementation.
  • Visit various government institutions and premier institutes like IIM and LSE.


  • Officers can be posted as Deputy Accountant General (DAG) and achieve higher ranks like Senior DAG, Accountant General (AG), Principal Accountant General (PAG), Additional Deputy CAG, Deputy CAG.

Other Information:

  • Officers work in the top and middle-level management of Indian Audit and Accounts Department headed by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).
  • Most sought-after services amongst the central civil services.
  • Opportunities to serve within India and on deputation to foreign countries.


About Indian Information Service (IIS):

Recruitment: Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC

Roles and Responsibilities:

Indian Information Service officers are responsible for managing the media and communication affairs of the Government of India.

They act as an interface between the government and the public by disseminating information about government policies and schemes and collecting feedback from the citizens.

Most IIS officers work in various media institutions and organizations which works under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting such as All India Radio, DD News and Press Information Bureau.


Three months Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussoorie and nine months of professional training at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

Career Progression:

Assistant Director -> Deputy Director -> Joint Director -> Director -> Additional Director General -> Director-General -> Principal Director-General.

About the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS):

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Defence

Recruitment: UPSC


The main function of the Indian Defence Accounts Service is to provide financial advice, payment, and internal auditing and accounting functions for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories, Canteen Stores Department, Border Road Organisation and other allied organisations. The IDAS officers can also be appointed into governmental organizations, ministries, and departments and may also get an opportunity to serve and be a part of the Indian Army’s UN peacekeeping missions.


The IDAS officers undergo a total of 24 months of training initially, four months at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, then at the Centre for Training and Development (CENTRAD) New Delhi. Final training at National Academy of Defence Financial Management Institute Pune.


About the Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS):

  • Controlling Authority: Ministry of Defence
  • Recruitment: UPSC engineering services exam, Interviews
  • Two types of services: technical and non-technical services
  • Recruitment to non-technical positions through Civil Service Examination
  • Recruitment to technical services made through Engineering Service Examination


  • Management of Indian Ordnance Factories
  • Work in managerial positions in various Public Sector Enterprises
  • May serve as advisors and secretaries to Union Cabinet ministers, Prime Minister, and President of India


  • Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA ) Mussoorie
  • Public Administration and management training at the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP), Nagpur
  • Visit to various national defense, nuclear, space, industrial, and other technical installations.

About the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS):

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Finance

Recruitment: UPSC


  • Provides auditing and accounting services to the Government of India and its ministries and departments.
  • Frames rules and procedures for accounting of receipts and payments of government.
  • Monitors cash balances with the RBI of the Government of India.
  • Coordinates management accounting systems in Civil Ministries.


  • Six months of training at the National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM).
  • Training at the Institute of Government Accounts and Finance (INGAF).
  • On the Job Training (OJT).

Higher Ranks:

  • Principal Chief Controller of Accounts.
  • Controller of Accounts.
  • Chief Controller of Accounts.


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