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Types of Services & Powers


The civil services in India are classified into two major categories—All-India services and Central services

About All India Services

All-India services are common to both Central and state governments and the members of these services occupy key positions under both the Centre and the states and serve them by turns.

At present, there are three all-India services

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

The all-India services are jointly are controlled by the Central and state governments. However, the ultimate control lies with the Central government and any disciplinary action against these officers can only be taken by the Central government while the immediate control is vested in the state governments.

About Central Services

The officers of Central services work under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Central government. They hold specialized positions in various departments of the Central government. The Central services are further classified into groups.


Currently, there are 60 group A Central services. Some of them are:

  1. Indian Foreign Service.
  2. Indian Economic Service.
  3. Central Information Service.
  4. Central Legal Service
  5. Central Secretariat Service.
  6. Indian Audit and Accounts Service.
  7. Indian Defence Accounts Service.
  8. Central Engineering Service.
  9. Central Health Service.
  10. Indian Meteorological Service.
  11. Indian Postal Service.
  12. Indian Revenue Service (Customs, Excise and Income Tax)
  13. Indian Statistical Service.
  14. Overseas Communication Service.
  15. Railway Personnel Service.

Among all, the most prestigious and highest central service in terms of status, pay and emoluments is the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Though it is a central service, it comes next to the IAS in ranking and its pay scale is higher than the IPS. It competes with the All-India services in position, status and pay scales.

Most of the cadres of Central services group A have also corresponding group B services. The Central services group C consists of clerical personnel and group D consists of manual personnel. Therefore, Group A and B comprises of gazetted officers and Group C and D are non-gazetted.


Some of the examples of the Group ‘B’ Services are

  • the Central Secretariat Service
  • the Railway Board Secretariat Service
  • the Indian Foreign Service
  • the Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
  • the Customs’ Appraisers Service
  • Posts of Assistant Commandant
  • Deputy Superintendents of Police -Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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

About the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Controlling Authority: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

Recruitment : UPSC Civil Services Examination

Responsibilities & Training:

  • The IAS officers handle the government affairs and frame policies in diverse areas of importance such as finance, commerce, administration, etc. They modify the policies if needed and implement them through various means. Upon attaining higher ranks, an IAS officer also may represent the government in another country or in various bilateral and multilateral forums, and at certain ranks (Deputy Secretary) they can even sign agreements on behalf of the government.
  • The officers assumes various responsibilities and work very diverse roles like the collector, chief secretary, commissioner, head of public sector units, cabinet secretary ,etc.
  • The IAS officers are appointed after two years of probationary period carried out 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 the law and order, implementing developmental work in the stipulated area and general administration.
  • After completing two years as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, the officer shifts to a senior scale and starts climbing the ranks. Over the years, with experience the officer keeps on climbing ranks and may also be designated with key positions in Indian administrative systems such as Principal Secretaries and Financial Commissioners.
  • The top rank civil servant in a any State is the Chief Secretary of that state, who is generally assisted by the Additional Chief Secretaries, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate.
  • Some other Prestigious Posts: Home Secretary, Finance Secretary and Development Commissioners.

About the Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Controlling authority: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

Recruitment: UPSC Indian Forest Service Examination

The Indian Forest Service, one of the three All India Services, was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India.


The Major mandate of the IFS officers is the proper implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages sustainable environment, ecological balance and scientific management of forests. The IFS officers are independent of the district administration and exercises administrative, financial and, judicial powers in their domain.

  • The IFS officers also work in several wildlife and forest related organizations such as:
  • Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA)
  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)
  • Forest Survey of India
  • The Wildlife Institute of India
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) etc..

About the Indian Police Service (IPS)

Controlling authority: Ministry of Home Affairs

Recruitment: UPSC Civil Services Examination

Responsibilities & Training:

The IPS officers assumes the responsibility of maintaining law and order, public safety and security by indulging in activities such as prevention of Crimes, traffic management, criminal investigations etc. To achieve greater efficiency, these services are further classified into various functional departments such as Crime Branch, Home Guards, Traffic Bureau, Criminal Investigation department etc

The Process of recruitment and training is the longest among all the services for IPS officers which extends to almost 2 years in total. During the probation period these officers train in the office of a Superintendent of Police of a district where they have been allocated and when they complete their probation period they are given a three star Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) rank.

Higher Ranks: IPS officers attains the following ranks:

  • Commissioner of Police ( looking after a city)
  • Deputy Commissioner (metropolitan cities)
  • Superintendent of Police (Whole district level)
  • Director General of Police (Entire state)

IPS officers also need to clear specially designed physical tests once they have been allotted to a particular IPS as per his rank.

These IPS officers also work and serve various national intelligence and security based organizations such as,

  • Intelligence Bureau
  • Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
  • Border Security Force
  • Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Central Reserve Police Force

With increasing experience these officers may also get an opportunity to serve in International Organizations related to the security, policing and intelligence, such as Interpol, United Nations, International Cricket Council, in various embassies around the world etc.

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