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To most us, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services may mean getting into the esteemed government jobs such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) or the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), but the UPSC offers much more. Here is a piece on exploration of the 24 services which the UPSC offers and all of them give a huge canvas to an individual to serve the nation and develop their personality.

Every Civil Services aspirant is given the option to fill up their ‘choice’ services in the order of their preference and on the basis of the rank secured by them in the exam, one of the services is allotted from their preferences. To work in the field of one’s liking is definitely important for both effectiveness of work done and for the individual hence, it is important to understand the various services for which recruitment is done through the Civil Services examination.

The services can be divided into groups based on the nature of job.

  1. Administration: The job profile revolves around revenue administration amongst other issues of importance. The IAS offers a challenging job profile and the IAS officer plays the role of the change agent in the society. Many of the aspirants only want to be an IAS officer to ensure that they contribute to the people and the society at large. The other services in this group deal with a smaller canvas and a restricted area of administration. They are present in the Group B category and generally based on the vacancy position. The members of the Group B services are inducted after about 16 years into IAS. These include the ‘DANICS’- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service and the Pondicherry Civil Service.
  1. Policing and Security: The services under this group are involved in security of establishments, operation and policing for the general public. The IPS is a popular choice amongst aspirants due to the power the service offers to help people and to maintain a general law and order in the society. The other services in this group also are uniformed services. The Railway Police Service (RPF) is exclusively recruited police force for guarding the railway operations and properties. The other services are Group B police services in the union territories and after a time period of 16 years they get inducted as Group A in the IPS.
  1. Diplomacy: This service is one of great importance as it allows officers represent India abroad and also deal with all diplomatic engagements of our country. It’s a premier service and considered very elite. One gets the opportunity to travel and learn new languages and adopt to new cultures.
  1. Audit: The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA &AS) is very unique as the opportunity to be into the fields of both accounting and auditing. The posting takes place all over India and is considered very important. Since the officers are constitutionally endowed with independence, they audit the government income expenditure and policy. There are opportunities to be posted abroad as well.
  1. Accounts and Finance: The Department of Posts and Telecom, Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Defence have lot of independence and extended powers and hence their accounts and finances are dealt by separate Accounts and Finance officers as indicated and they are posted all over India. The other departments and ministries are handled by Civil Accounts Department and this service posts are available mostly in Delhi. Each of the accounts and finance service is headed by their own cadre chief and are existing as a separate vertical in their respective departments. The services under this category include the Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts & Finance Service (IP&TAFS) and the Indian Defence Accounts Service(IDAS).
  1. Service oriented Ministries and Departments: This refers to the postal services which are delivered and administered in India and abroad by the postal service officers.
  1. Operations and Manufacturing: The operation of the Railways in all areas is done by IRTS (Indian Railway Traffic Service) officers. This is a very challenging job as decisions are taken and executed on real time basis. The ordinance factories which were established for supporting our country’s production of defence related equipments, arms and ammunitions is managed by this service.
  1. Support Services: The recruitment in railways is very large and the management of the huge workforce is also a great responsibility which supports the operation activities and is thus held by the IRPS (Indian Railway Personnel Service) and the defence lands and estates are managed by IDES (Indian Defence Estates Service). The Headquarters of Army, Navy and Airforce require administrative support and this is given by the AFHQCS (Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service), which is a Group B service.
  1. Media: This service, the IIS (Indian Information Service) manages the government owned media as well as government’s expenditure in media. The publicity of Government schemes is also done by the officers of this service.
  1. Taxation: The collection of both direct and indirect taxes is monitored and executed by these two services and they have their offices all over India. This includes the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
  1. Trade and Legal: These services are basically economic services focusing on trade and law. This includes the “Indian Trade Service” (ITS) and the “Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS).


Further to the above grouping based on the nature of work there is another classification based on the level of entry. There exists two classification as Group A services (19) and Group B services(5). All the above 24 services have the common examination and all the officers after completion of the period of service in the respective service can be impaneled in the Centre by the Department of Personnel and Training for holding the Director, the Joint Secretary, the Additional Secretary and Secretary posts in various Departments and Ministries of the Central Government.

Services like IAS and IPS are cadre based services and are allotted for specific states and union territories. Rest of all are based on the availability of offices of their respective service posts in the country. Hence, the civil service aspirant should fill up their preferences after understanding the nature of the services and their liking to the nature of the job profile.


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Abhinandan Kaul

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