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IAS Full Form - All about Indian Administrative Service, Eligibility, Patterns, Salary

02 February,2024  |  By Brainwonders

IAS Full Form

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is an organisation entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing and conducting India's premier competitive examination, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Exam, formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service (ICS). 

This highly competitive exam attracts nearly 10 lakh enrollees every year, with approximately 5 lakh appearing for the exam. The qualifying rate is less than 0.5%, making it one of the toughest competitive exams in the world.

The UPSC operates under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, ensuring their compliance to all Indian Laws. They offer a level playing field to everyone regardless of age, ethnicity and socio-economic status who wishes to pursue a career through passing the IAS exam. 

The IAS exam is composed of three stages - Preliminary Examination to determine eligibility, Main Exam for determining the rank and Personality Test which puts you on the path toward success. Through hard work and dedication, any individual can pass this competitive test and become part of India’s esteemed bureaucratic body.

IAS is one of the best services, along with IPS and IFoS (Indian Forest Service)

IAS Full Form  Indian Administrative Services
IAS Salary
  • INR 56k (Basic Pay) for Under Secretary/ Assistant
  • secretary - INR 2.5 lakh (Basic Pay) for Cabinet Secretary 
IAS Qualification
  • Minimum age required: 21 Years
  • Minimum Educational Qualification: Bachelor Degree from a Government University.
Work of an IAS officer  They work in Indian Bureaucracy 
What is the IAS Exam? It is an All-India level examination which is a part of Civil Services Examination.

What is the full form of IAS?

IAS full form is Indian Administrative Services, which is the civil service of India which acts as the foundation for the Bureaucracy and administration of the country. The top 24 candidates get an opportunity to become an IAS officer offered by UPSC through Civil Service Examination (CSE). The selected candidates are employed by the union government, state government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSU), and international organisations like United Nations International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc. IAS forms the permanent executive branch of India.

What is the IAS Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission, or UPSC, is India's premier central recruitment agency for the recruitment of all Group 'A' officers under the government of India. The UPSC exam is conducted in three phases: a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of essay type, in which two papers are qualifying, and only marks of seven are counted followed by an interview. The former is held in March yearly, whereas the latter is held in December. The total duration for the completion of this test is approximately 32 hours. The examinees who clear the exam are assigned to the positions of Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and others, depending upon the scores. 

IAS full form

Preliminary Exam:

It consists of two papers (GS I and GS II/CSAT) based on objective questions. The marks scored in preliminary exams are not counted in the final list of Selections. 

Paper Type No. of Questions Marks Duration
General Studies I Objective 100 200 2 Hours
General Studies II/CSAT Objective 80 200 2 hours

Mains Exam:

It consists of 9 papers, of which 2 are compulsory (English and Indian Language papers), 1 essay paper, 2 optional papers, and 4 GS papers. The remaining seven papers rank the candidate for the main selection. Exam papers are of descriptive type. 

Paper Subject  Duration  Total Marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian Language (Qualifying) 3 hours  300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 3 hours  300
Paper I Essay (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper II General Studies I (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper III General Studies II (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper IV General Studies III (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper V General Studies IV (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper VI Optional Marks I (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250
Paper VII Optional Marks II (Marks are considered for merit) 3 hours  250

IAS Eligibility Criteria:

The essential prerequisites that one has to fulfill in order to qualify for the IAS exam are as follows:

  1. Candidate’s Nationality- The candidate has to be an Indian national in order to try and attempt the Indian Civil Service Exam.
  2. Age Limit – The minimum age limit to sit for the exam is 21 years while the maximum age limit is determined to be 32.
  3. Educational Qualification – The candidate must be a graduate from a university registered under or recognised by the Government. However, candidates who are awaiting their graduation results may also apply for the examination.
  4. Number of Attempts – There is a distinct number of attempts that are assigned to the following categories. 
  • General – 6 attempts
  • OBC – 9 attempts
  • SC/ST – No fixed limit
  • Any number of attempts can be made by the SC/ST candidates until the candidate reaches the maximum age limit for the examination, i.e, 32 years
  • Economically Weaker Section – 6 attempts
  • Person with Benchmark disability – 9 attempts
  • Defence Service Personnel – 9 attempts
Category  Upper Age Limit for UPSC Maximum Number of Attempts
General  32 6
Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) 32 6
OBC  35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited 
Defence Services Personnel  35 9
Persons with benchmark disability  35 9

Personality Test:

The UPSC recruitment process is drawing to a close and the final stage is an interview. The UPSC board oversees this phase, which is designed to gauge candidates' personality traits such as confidence, honesty, integrity, empathy, and understanding of ground realities. During the interview, questions are asked that assess various administrative skills, realistic thinking, timely decisions, and knowledge of current international events. This stage comprises 275 marks and is essential for the successful completion of the selection process.

Note: The examination attempt will only be counted if you appear for the exam. Skipping the prelims exam to save the attempt may lead to absenteeism.

Educational Qualification:

  • In order to be eligible for the UPSC Civil Services Exam, aspirants must possess a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification. 
  • There are no minimum academic marks or score requirements; only having a degree is sufficient to apply for the exam. 
  • Additionally, those who are in the final year of their respective course can also appear for the prelims. 
  • Professional and technical degrees require a degree qualification too, while medical students who have passed their final year exams in medicine are also allowed to appear for the exam.

National Qualification:

  • For IAS and IPS Services: The candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • Except for IAS and IPS Services: The candidate must be a citizen of India/a subject of Nepal or Bhutan/a Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962/a person of Indian Origin (PIO).

Also Read: Know more in detail about UPSC – Union Public Service Commission

Role of an IAS Officer:

The roles of an IAS officer are classified into the following three types:

  • Field
  • State Secretariat
  • Central Secretariat 

The functions of an IAS Officer include:

  • As an IAS Officer, he/she is required to manage government affairs, both Central and State. This includes the responsibility of framing, implementing, and revising the policies. 
  • Furthermore, they are also required to consult with respective departments for fund distribution. 
  • They are also required to monitor and implement various schemes and policies set forth by the government. 
  • Lastly, in times of emergency situations such as natural disasters, major accidents, and riots, an IAS Officer must provide immediate assistance.

The role of an IAS Officer:

1. Field Assignments:

Every IAS officer has to fulfil a field assignment after Training. Their function depends on their rank and postings.

2. Sub-divisional Functions:

He is the chief civil officer of the sub-division who enjoys adequate powers to coordinate work in the sub-division. The main duties included revenue, executive, magisterial, development works, and judicial works.

3. District-level Functions: 

District Collector is responsible for enforcing law and order and collecting revenue to implement national and state policies on welfare and planned development. The District Collector links the government and the district's residents. The duties and functions are mentioned below:

  • As a collector
  • As a district administrator
  • As a district magistrate
  • As a district Development officer
  • Responsibility of Disaster Management
  • Election-related functions
  • Food and Civil Supplies
  • Residual Functions 

4. State Secretariat:

IAS officers use previous field experiences to advise the representative policies and make decisions for the government.

5. Public Sector Undertakings:

These undertakings include power stations, industrial units, defense units, etc.

6. Central Secretariat Assignment:

They look after policy reviews, formulation, and implementation for different ministries. Many IAS officers are also placed at United Nations, World Health Organisation, World Trade Organisation, etc. However, the duties of the candidates are difficult to handle and need candidates with Intelligence. 

Find Out: Best 20+ Central Government Exams after Your Graduation

How to Clear the Civil Service Exam?

Every candidate seeking to take the IAS exam needs to have a long-term strategy and proper guidance in order to succeed. They should start their preparation for the exam a year before the scheduled date of the exam, as this allows for ample time for revision. It is important to note that the IAS exam tests a candidate's personality and hard work rather than solely relying on verbal, written, and general knowledge tests. Consequently, an effective approach to succeed in this examination is to ensure that they can retain all topics studied in their mind. Furthermore, it would be beneficial if students find the best institute to help them prepare for the challenging IAS exam along with dedicating sufficient hours to study.

Tips and tricks to Crack the IAS exam:

Follow the below-mentioned tricks in a time-bound manner to clear the IAS exam:

  • Carefully go through the syllabus and understand It is essential for students preparing for the UPSC exam to read the syllabus thoroughly and understand its contents. The syllabus should be divided into easy, medium, and difficult levels according to the candidate's grasp of different topics. This will enable them to focus on specific areas each day. 
  • Limit your books or sources to study. In addition, they should focus on not more than two sources determined by aspirants and previous students, as well as use previous year question papers as back-up preparation material. 
  • Read Newspapers. Daily reading of newspapers and compilation of current affairs notes is a must, as it makes candidates aware of all the dynamic changes in the exam. Additionally, they should take aptitude tests (CSAT Paper II Prelims) that includes multiple components like English comprehension, mental ability, logical reasoning, data interpretation, among others (which constitutes 33% of the qualifying paper). 
  • Focus on balance rather than going over the board with your preparation. For proper health and to stay on track with preparations, it is vital for students to consume a balanced diet and sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours daily. 
  • Consistency and Preparation. Lastly, candidates must have perseverance and dedication to reach their final destination—becoming an IAS officer.

Benefits of Being an IAS Officer:

An IAS officer is an esteemed position of power, allowing them to make a positive impact on the lives of millions of people. They are accorded tremendous respect within society, and have the opportunity to use their talents and abilities to promote social projects in health, education, and the economy. In addition to these opportunities, IAS officers enjoy lucrative salary benefits that can further augment their already impressive career. Insights into the specific advantages offered by this esteemed role are discussed in detail below.

  • Accommodation: IAS officers get accommodations according to their ranks, pay scale, and seniority provided by the government. These houses include gardens, cooks, security guards, etc.
  • Transport: Government also provides them with personal transport and chauffeurs. 
  • Security: Serving in the highest position in civil service carries a variety of potential hazards. Security measures are implemented based on the identified level of risk to the families of IAS officers. The safety of these individuals is paramount and must be taken into account when assessing any threats or dangers faced by the IAS officer.
  • Bills: All the bills and subsidies are covered by the government.
  • Trips: All the trip subsidies whether official or nonofficial are covered by the government. 
  • Study leaves: IAS officers can get study leaves for 2 years and can also apply to any reputed foreign University.
  • Job Security: An IAS officer enjoys job security because as per Article 311 of the Indian Constitution, it is not easy to fire an IAS Officer.
Retirement Benefits:
  • Lifetime Pension: After retirement, an IAS officer enjoys lifetime pensions.
  • Post retirement: After retiring from IAS position, the candidates can be appointed to the commissions or other departments.

All the above perks are enjoyed by the IAS officers and the department of personnel and Training keeps updating the manuals as the civil servants are answerable to the State and Central Governments.

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Salary of an IAS Officer:

A Pay Commission is elected by the Central Government to finalise the salary of government employees. However, the final decision rests in the hands of the Central Government. The salary is also affected by the inflation rate, but it mainly increases with time. Moreover, everything from transport to house is at the expense of the government. 

  • Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM): INR 56k
  • District Magistrate (DM): INR 78k
  • Divisional Commander (DC): INR 1.18 lakh
  • Chief Secretary: INR 2.25 lakh
  • Cabinet Secretary of India: INR 2.5 lakh

IAS Salary Structure:

The IAS officer is paid INR 56k as the basic pay, 16.5k as the grade pay. Also, the maximum salary of a senior IAS can reach INR 2.5 lakh as the Cabinet Secretary of India.

The additional allowances of an IAS Officer are as followed:

  • Dearness allowance: It can increase upto 100% of the basic pay which can increase the IAS officer's salary.
  • House Rent Allowance: It generally is between 8% to 24% of the basic pay of the officers.
  • Travel Allowance
  • Transport Allowance
  • Medical Allowance

Basic Pay and Grade Pay of IAS on the Basis of Rank or Grades:

The IAS cadre is divided into 8 ranks or grades. The promotion of IAS officers happens every 4 to 5 years. However, the salary of an IAS officer depends upon their experience, rank, and pay grade. The retirement package comes with house help, transport facility, and security for the family. 

Pay Grade Grade Basic Pay Grade pay  Service Period Post
10 Junior Scale INR 50k to INR 1.5 lakh INR 16.5k 0-4 Years SDM, SDO, ADM
11 Senior Time Scale INR 50k to INR 1.5 lakh INR 20k 5 Years DM, DC, Joint Secretary 
12 Junior Administrative Grade INR 50k to INR 1.5 lakh INR 23k 9 Years Special Secretary, State Government Department Heads
13 Selection Grade INR 1 lakh to INR 2 lakh INR 26k 12-15 Years Ministry Department Head
14 Super Time Scale INR 1 lakh to INR 2 lakh INR 30k 17-20 Years Director of any Ministry
15 Above Super Time Scale INR 1 lakh to INR 2 lakh INR 30k Not Fixed Commissioner, Additional Secretary
16 Apex Scale INR 2.4 lakh (Fixed) NA Not Fixed Chief Secretary in Ministries
17 Cabinet Secretary Grade INR 2.7 lakh NA Not Fixed Cabinet Secretary 

Power of an IAS Officer:

  • An IAS Officer holds the administration charge of the entire district/state 
  • Many people depend on the IAS officer for their grievance redressal.
  • The IAS officers have the authority to bring positive changes to society. 
  • The Criminal Procedure section of the Indian Penal Code - 107, 108, 109, 110, 144, and 176 empowers the IAS officer for maintaining law and order issues.
  • Arm, Drug licence, and essential commodities act under the IAS officers.
  • Law of tenancy regarding revenue power is dealt with by the collector.

IAS Exam Syllabus:

The syllabus for prelims and main mostly match but the demand for the knowledge for both is different. Prelim exams contain history geography polity and Indian constitution economy environment and current affairs while the main exam there are some more sections in GS1 paper like world history and Society in GS2 paper exercise section includes International relations and in GS3 paper includes security, essay, and optional. Film exam is based on objective types of questions while the main exam is based on subjective types of questions and the interview is a viva exam that checks the personality of the candidate. 

The first paper of the Prelims (General Studies) Exam covers the following topics:

  • Current events of National and International importance.
  • History of India and Indian National movement
  • Indian and WorldWorld geography - physical, economic, social geography of India and the WorldWorld.
  • Social and economic development - sustainable development, inclusion, poverty, demographic, social sector initiative, etc.
  • Indian political governance - Indian constitution, panchayati Raj, political system, public policy, right issues, etc.
  • Channel issues on environmental ecology, climate change, and biodiversity.
  • General Science

The second paper of Prelims (CSAT) covers the following topics: 

  • English comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication
  • Analytical ability and logical reasoning
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy
  • Data interpretation

The Mains Exam covers the following subjects:

  • Compulsory Indian language (only 25% marks are required to pass. Total 300 marks).
  • English compulsory (only 25% marks are required to pass. Total 300 marks).
  • Essay paper (Total 250 marks).
  • Current affairs
  • Indian history and world history, Geography, art and culture, society (250 marks).
  • Polity and Indian constitution, governance, social and economic development, and international relations. (250 marks) 
  • Economy, environment, security and Science and Technology. (250 marks).
  • Ethics (250 marks).
  • Optional paper - only one subject is selected out of total 26 subjects for the optional exam. (500 marks).
  • The remaining seven papers each contain 250 marks which makes a total of 1750 marks.

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Interview Stage:

In the final stage of the UPSC CSE exam, the candidates are tested not on the basis of the knowledge which they have studied but also the smartness at the present moment. The judges also check the confidence level of the candidates.


The IAS exam requires a lot of hardworking dedication from the candidate. A detailed strategy for covering all the subjects and identifying your strengths and weaknesses to prioritise things accordingly must be kept in mind before preparing for the exam. Apart from the minimum sleep of 6 to 7 hours with a well maintained balanced diet including dry fruits must be kept in mind. The candidate's must stick to their schedules instead of procrastinating. The position of an IAS is well reputed in our society and their huge respect. A part of various benefits IAS officers also get a huge opportunity to serve the nation and bring the changes which give some a huge satisfaction for becoming a change agent. Every candidate must put in all the hard work and dedication and two people on their exam to become an IAS officer.


1. What is the full form of IAS?

Ans: IAS stands for Indian Administrative Services.

2. How many papers are there in the UPSC CSE main exam?

Ans: The main exam is 9 papers. However, only 7 are used for ranking.

3. What is the starting salary of an IAS officer after completion of 2 years of Training?

Ans: The starting salary of an IAS officer is 56 k which can also go higher after their performance and experience.

4. What other benefits does an IAS officer get apart from salary? 

Ans: As an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer, one is provided with various additional facilities such as travel and transport allowances, accommodation allowance, and a range of other incentives. These benefits are only a fraction of the generous offerings extended to IAS Officers, who additionally enjoy discounts when travelling to foreign countries.

5. What is Special Pay advance?

Ans: Special advance is a term that is used for the stipend amount that an IAS officer receives during Training. It is supposed to be INR 45k but the final amount received is INR 38.5k.

6. What are the other duties of an IAS officer apart from the task in India?

Ans: An IAS officer also has to represent the nation on an international level for negotiation like in UN, WHO, etc.

Are you aware which subjects and courses will bring you closer to your dream career?

Worry not, because the Brainwonders test and guidance will not only help you know it, but also follow it!



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