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The Difference Between IAS And PCS Officer

Update on 2024-04-15

Difference Between IAS And PCS Officer - IAS Officer Vs PCS Officer

The Difference Between IAS And PCS Officer:

The IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and the PCS (Provincial Civil Services) are two branches of the Civil Services in India. Civil Services is the permanent professional branch of a state’s administration, excluding branches of the military, judicial branches, and elected politicians. Civil servants are people who pass the civil services examination and go on to occupy power positions in government offices, implementing government and developmental policies, keeping law and order, and act as a link between the masses and the government.

The IAS is one of the three arms of the All India Services along with the Indian Police Services and the Indian Forest Service. Members of these branches serve the Government of India as well as the individual states. In this article, we will tackle the definition of an IAS officer, the functions of the post of an IAS, and his general areas of duty. We will also focus on the PCS Officer, the functions of the post of the PCS post, and the general areas of duty. Apart from that, we will focus on the difference between IAS and PCS Officer.

Who is an IAS Officer?

An IAS Officer is a well-respected government official who is given administrative command of an entire district and is sometimes known as a District Collector. They also represent the Government of India at the international level in bilateral and unilateral, multilateral negotiations. IAS Officers become Secretaries of the State Government when they reach the Selection Grade. The highest post an IAS can occupy is the post of Chief Secretary, Cabinet Secretary in the Union Government. If a person wants to become an IAS officer, he/she has to crack the UPSC exam to become an IAS officer. If you are looking for an IAS career you can check out - How to become an IAS Officer

Functions of an IAS:

  • The IAS officer helps the affairs of the government, which involves the framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the concerned minister.
  • They implement policies, call for supervision, and also travel to the places where the decisions are taken and implemented. 
  • The IAS officers are answerable to the parliament and State Legislatures for any irregularities that they may occur. 
  • At the level of a District Officer also known as a District Magistrate, Deputy Collector or Deputy Commissioner are just some of the prestigious posts that an IAS officer can occupy. 
  • The IAS Officer joins the State Administration at the sub-divisional level, a sub-divisional magistrate, and also looks after law and order, general administration, and development work in the area under their authority.  
  • The main work or rather a function of an IAS officer is to implement and formulate policies at the central level of the government.

Before briefing up on the difference between IAS and PCS Officer, we will have a look at the functions and definitions of a PCS Officer.  

Who is a PCS Officer?

A PCS or (Provincial Civil Services) officer is a very well respected, prominent, and important post which can be attained by a candidate only on being recruited by the State Public Service Commissions. Students have to clear the PCS exam for their particular State.  A PCS Officer holds various posts in the sub-divisional, district, and divisional, and even State level from conducting revenue administration and maintenance of law and order. There are a total of 677 posts that a PCS Officer can fill, some of which include, Deputy Collector, Homeguards, Treasury Officer, Assistant Sugar Commissioner, District Probation officer, etc. 

Functions of a PCS Officer:

There are multiple exams the candidates have to sit for, for multiple posts. The duties of a PCS officer usually range from developmental work at the block level. The main responsibility of a PCS officer is to make sure the policies and the schemes of the government are implemented and the problems which arise out of the same are sorted and looked after.  

They work at the block level, that is they ensure that the policies and schemes of the Central and State government are implemented, and alongside that, it is under their duty to create awareness within the masses and facilitate or act as a facilitator of the government. They uplift the masses through education and creating awareness within them. In short, they manage duties and the welfare of the State that they are posted at, benefiting people and working for the people. 

There are several other duties a PCS Officer may do, such as looking after the security of a politician, or any other respected and high-level government official, and everything that falls under the category of State is looked after by the PCS Officer appointed. 

The Difference Between IAS and PCS Officer:

Now that we know the basic functions and duties of an IAS and PCS Officer, we can head over to know the difference between IAS and PCS Officer two similar government posts. 

Below we have a table that will make it easier for you to compare and differentiate between the two.

Area of Differentiation

IAS Officer

PCS Officer

Age Limit

For a candidate appearing for an IAS exam, he or she must be 21 years of age or above but no more than 32 years of age.

For a candidate appearing for a PCS Exam, he or she must be 21 years of age. However, the upper age limit is set differently for different State departments.

Exam Conducted

IAS exams are conducted by the Union Public Service Commission

PCS exams are conducted by State government agencies, such as, (SPSC), (UPSC), etc.

Examination Authority

The exam conducting authority for IAS exams is Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

The exam conducting authority for PCS exams is State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)


AN IAS Exam consists of a total of 400 marks in Prelims, followed by 9 subjects and a personal interview of 275 marks.

A PCS Exam has a different exam pattern but has the same three stages, Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The interview is only conducted for PCS officers recruited for higher posts.

Type of Exam Questions

The exam for IAS is conducted in three phases, and the questions are usually conceptual.

The exam for PCS is conducted in three phases, and the questions are usually factual.


The IAS officers are appointed by the President.

The PCS officers are appointed by the Governor of the State.

Training and initial Career

After the initial training of a fresh recruit in LBSNAA, Uttrakhand, he or she is given sub-district level posts at first.

A PCS Officer can hold any number of posts at the State level, however, the highest post he or she can hold is Departmental Secretary.

Level of functioning

An IAS officer works at the Intermediate level of the Government.

A PCS Officer works at the State level of the Government.


An IAS officer has more power, authority, and benefits.

AS compared to an IAS post, a PCS post has a lower edge and benefits.


An IAS Officer can be transferred by the elective head of the State, or District, and can be transferred all over the country.

A PCS Officer can be transferred but only within different departments or places within the State since they are recruited for the management of the affairs of a State only.


Only the President of the country has the right to terminate an IAS Officer.

PCS officers are transferred and terminated by the State Government.

We hope this article helped you to know the difference between IAS and PCS officers, their functions, and their duties.

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