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How To Make A Career In The Civil Service

Team StoryWeavers|April 16, 2020|

As we fight a global pandemic, we have thousands of government officials who are working round-the-clock to ensure that billions of Indians are taken care of. To understand their work better, this month in Careerscope, based on popular demand, we tell you everything you need to know about making a career in the Indian Civil ServiceLet’s start with the basics.

What is the Civil Service?

The Civil Service forms the permanent executive branch of the government. These services are in charge of the administrative functioning of the country. That means that they execute the work that a government needs to do along with enforcing the law.

What are the major Civil Services in India?
Civil Services work either at a central government level as the All India Civil Services and Central Civil Services or they work at the state level as State Services. Some of the most prominent Civil Services are the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). Let’s find out what each of them does.

What does an IAS officer do?
The Indian Administrative Service handles the administration and daily functioning of the government. IAS officers implement government policies at the grassroot level and work towards maintaining the law and order in the region that they oversee.

What does an IFS officer do?
The Indian Foreign Service is involved with managing the foreign relations of the country. People who work in the IFS are sent by the Indian government to serve in diplomatic missions, and to represent India in international organizations.

What does an IPS officer do?
The Indian Police Service safeguards the safety of the public. IPS officers maintain the law and order, and at the district-level, they work with IAS officers for the same. They also work in Indian intelligence agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), etc.

How can you get into the Indian Civil Service?

As the first step, you need to appear for the Civil Services Examination that is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This exam is divided into the following stages:

Stage 1: Preliminary Examination
This preliminary exam has two objective papers (General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II). These are multiple-choice papers. Polity, History, Geography, Current Affairs, English Comprehension, Data Interpretation are some of the topics tested in the exam.

Stage 2: Mains Examination
On clearing the preliminary exam, you will have to appear for the Mains Examination. This consists of nine written papers followed by a personality test which is in an interview format. The subjects for the written papers in Mains are:

Exam 1: One of the Indian languages that you can select from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India
Exam 2: English
Exam 3: Essay
Exam 4: Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society
Exam 5: Governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and international relations
Exam 6: Technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security and disaster management
Exam 7: Ethics, integrity, and aptitude
Exam 8: Optional subject that you can choose
Exam 9: Optional subject that you can choose

To appear for the Civil Services Exam you need to meet the following criteria:

Nationality: Indian Nationality is a must for most Civil Services
Educational Qualification: An undergraduate degree is required to sit for the exam
Age: The minimum age to appear for the exam is 21 years. The maximum age is 32 years for general category, 35 years for OBC category and 37 years for SC/ST category applicants.
Number of Attempts: The maximum number of attempts are six for the general category and nine for the OBC category. SC/ST category applicants do not have a limit on attempts until the age of 37 years.

Getting into the Indian Civil Service is a herculean task. However, when you do good work in the Civil Service, you make the nation proud. Here are a few famous IAS, IFS and IPS officers whose work have changed the landscape of our country.

If pursuing a career in the Indian Civil Service is your dream, BYJU’S can make it a reality!

Our comprehensive IAS program will help you give the best attempt for the Civil Services Exam!

Click here to read about the program.

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About the Author

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Deepthi Chakravarthy

Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at for anything you may like to share.

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