All about IAS
A country as vast and thickly populated as India needs a well organised government machinery for proper governance. There are two facets to the administration of a country. One is security for which the country has its defence services and the other is the non-military part, which is taken care of by the Civil Services.
The origin of the IAS can be traced back to the year of India’s independence, 1947. The IAS operates at three levels -- central, district and divisional. Work at the central level involves the framing and implementation of policies. The functions of the IAS at the district level encompass all district affairs with special emphasis on development. General administration and development work is the responsibility of the IAS at the divisional level. The post of an IAS officer carries a lot of responsibility. The work definition of an IAS officer would encompass framing, modifying and interpreting policy matters in consultation with the concerned Minister. Implementation of policies calls for supervision and also traveling to the places where the decisions taken are being implemented. Implementation entails disbursement of funds, which calls for personal supervision. The officers are answerable to the Parliament for any irregularities that may occur. At the top of the hierarchy of IAS officers is the Cabinet Secretary followed by Secretary/ Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, Director, Under Secretary and then the Junior Scale Officers. These posts are filled according to seniority.
As the name suggests, the main responsibility of the IPS is public safety and security. The Indian Police Service is divided into various departments like the Crime Branch, the Criminal Investigation Department, Home Guards and the Traffic Bureau. The area of functioning for the IPS can be broadly divided into: maintenance of law and order, crime prevention and detection, traffic control and accident prevention and management. The IPS also has several policing agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, the Central Bureau of Investigation, Cabinet Secretariat Security, Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force. After the initial probation of two years, an IPS officer is given charge as an Additional Superintendent of Police of a district. This post is usually held for two years and then comes the next appointment, that of the Superintendent of Police and then the post of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG). The hierarchy in the IPS cadre is like this - the Director General of Police (DG) is the head of the entire Police force of a state. Special divisions of the Police force like the Border Security Force, the CBI, etc., have a Director General at the helm.
The maintenance of the natural resources of the country is very essential for a balanced all round development of the country. Maintenance of forests is so important for maintaining the ecological balance that the Indian Forest Service (IFS) has been set up for this very purpose. The All India Forest Service came into being in 1966. The areas of functioning for the Indian Forest Service include protection and conservation of forests, wildlife and forest produce.
What it takes to be a civil servant
Mental alertness; interest in a variety of subjects; good intellect in order to be able to tackle any subject or situation; an ability to sift, weigh and apply differing opinions from various people; leadership qualities; the ability to inspire others and to channelise available talent; tact and diplomacy; and, integrity. These are some personality traits that you should look for in yourself when you consciously make a decision to opt for civil service.
The Civil Services has been divided into various grades to facilitate functioning. The grade determines the area of work. Junior scale officers work in the states that they are allotted to. Senior scale officers work as Under Secretaries in the State. Officers in the Junior Administrative Grade, which is reached after nine years of service, hold the position of a Deputy Secretary. When officers make it to the Selection Grade, which is reached after fourteen years of service, they hold the position of Directors or Deputy Secretary. The next scale is known as the Super Time Scale or the Senior Administrative Grade and the officers in this grade hold the post of a Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, Secretary or Cabinet Secretary.
Note: This is the first of the two-part article. See the next issue for the second part which contains information about the process of the Civil Services Exam.