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How to Become D.M

Update on 2024-04-15

How to Become D.M (District Magistrate) - Check Step by Step Process & Eligibility

Who is D.M

D.M, or the District Magistrate, is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who is the senior-most executive magistrate and chief in charge of the general administration of a district in the country India. This definition is according to Wikipedia. In simple terms, a D.M is a chief authority in a district of India. The D.M (District Magistrate) is chosen by the State government for each district. India, being a democratic country has a very elaborate system of power and authority.

The constitution of India aims to provide even the smallest districts and villages some say in the power politics of the country. For effective administration and management, even small villages and districts have some authority figures who can spread awareness and along with that also ensure that the steps and policies taken by the Central government are effectively implemented. The post is also referred to as Deputy Collector in some areas where the district magistrates are responsible to collect land revenue and the like.

How To Become D.M (District Magistrate)

For that, the students need to appear for the UPSC Civil Service Exam. The exams are conducted in three stages:

  • Prelims
  • Mains
  • Interviews

Basic details to keep in mind about how to become D.M (District Magistrate).



Age Limit

The candidate must be a minimum of 21 years

Number of Attempts

6 attempts for General candidates

9 attempts for OBC Candidates

No restriction for SC/ST. 

The details of the CSE exam are as follows:

Paper -1


Paper -2

General Studies -I

Paper -3

General Studies -II

Paper -4

General Studies -III

Paper -5

General Studies -IV

Paper -A

Indian Language

Paper -B


Paper -6

Optional Paper -1

Paper -7

Optional Paper -2

Note: There are a total of 796 vacancies, out of which 24 are reserved) in the year 2024. The exam focuses on current affairs, logical reasoning, analytical thinking, etc. The important dates of the CSE Exam are as follows.

Preliminary Exams

Online Application Form

In February till 3rd March

Preliminary Admit Card

2nd Week of May

Exam Date

31 May 2024

Preliminary Result

In July

Mains Exam

IAS Mains Exam

In September 

IAS Exam Results

In December

IAS Personality Test or Interview

In February/March

IAS Final Result

In April 2024

All dates are tentative and are prone to change. To sum up, in How to Become D.M (District Magistrate), candidates need to attempt the Civil Service Exam (CSE), the highlights are as follows.

Exam Level

National Level

Organizing Body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Exam Type

Pen and Paper-Based (Offline)

Admit Card

Online mode

Expected Registrations

More than 8 lac

How to Become a D.M (District Magistrate): Eligibility

Students who have completed their 12th standard from a recognized board and in any stream are the basic eligibility requirement. Stream does not matter, and hence science stream students till arts stream can hope to become District Magistrates. Along with that, to appear for the IAS exams, the candidate also must hold a Bachelor’s degree. Hence students are required to pursue a Bachelor’s in any field. Candidates can start preparing for the Civil Service Exam (CSE), which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) after their graduation. 

Apart from the above, eligibility criteria extends to the following details such as:

  • Candidates who have completed a degree from any foreign university, which is recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of ICAI, ICWAI or the ICSI.
  • MBBS graduates can also apply before applying for an internship.
  • A degree recognized from the Central, State or any other Deemed University.
  • Correspondence or Distance learners can also apply.

To successfully qualify for an IAS, students need to ensure that they rank among the top 100. After two promotions, the student can become the D.M of a district. It can take about a total of 8 to 10 years for an IAS to become a District Magistrate. 

A Quick History Lesson

Before we know How To Become D.M (District Magistrate), let’s understand how this post came into being? District Magistrates are members of the Indian Civil Service and were responsible for administering the district they are responsible for. The post and its powers and responsibilities have a history from the British Raj. 

Warren Hastings introduced the office of the District Collector, responsible for collecting taxes and revenue from the people on the lands. This ensured that no one practised corruption or hid at the time of paying taxes. The office of the District Collector had many responsibilities including the collection of land revenue, settlement of land disputes, partition of holdings, registration and alteration of land, the management of indebted debts, famine relief, etc.   

The post of District Collector, at that time, also incorporated the powers of the District Magistrate, as it has come to be known today. As a district Magistrate, the officer exercised control and authority over the police force and their work and also supervision over the inferior courts. In short, the office of the D.M (District Magistrate) was formed to ensure the regular collection of land revenue and by virtue, keep the peace. The Superintendent of Police (SP), Inspector General of Jails, the Surgeon General, Divisional forest officer (DFO), Chief Engineer (C.E), all had to answer to the D.M. 

Until late in the nineteenth century, no Indian or Native was allowed to become the D.M, however, it all changed with the introduction of the Open Competitive Examination for the Indian Civil Service. After India gained Independence in the year 1947, the role and power of the District Magistrate remained unchanged except for a few. The judicial powers that the D.M held, were transferred to the Judicial Institutions of Judicial institutions and officers of the District. 

Now, one of the added responsibilities of the post of the District Magistrate is implementing and ensuring that the developmental projects introduced by the Government of India are actively utilized in the districts. 

Posting of a D.M (District Magistrate)

The students who have actively qualified the procedure to become a D.M, are posted by the State Government, from among the various Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers. The State Government is also responsible for transferring the D.M of a district to another district. The members of the IAS are either directly recruited by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) or are nominated by the Non- State Civil Service (Non-SCS). The recruits from the (UPSC) are posted as collectors after 5 to 6 years of serving the country. Whereas, the recruits from the other mode, being promoted members from State Civil Services generally occupy this post after promotion to the IAS. This usually takes around 20 years of service. 

Functions of a District Magistrate

Before we provide the detailed procedure on How To Become D.M (District Magistrate), let’s first understand the functions of the post. 

To begin with, the D.M

  • Conducts Criminal Court of Executive Magistrate
  • Maintenance of Law and Order
  • Police Coordination and Smooth functioning
  • Child Labour or Bonded Labour-related matters.
  • Granting of Arms and Ammunition
  • Crisis Management during Riots, etc.
  • Disaster Management
  • Appoint a panel of members for appointment in the Public Prosecutor's office with consultation with the Session Judge.
  • Authorizing parole orders for criminals
  • Inspection of Police Stations and prisons
  • Hearing cases that come under the Criminal Procedure Code
  • Certification of Execution orders for criminals
  • Supervision of magistrate (Subordinate executive). 

Basically, these are the functions of a D.M. Some students often get confused with the post of District Collector and District Magistrate and also District Commissioner. We will cover their roles and powers briefly after the following section.

Difference between District Collector and District Commissioner

As mentioned above, the difference between a District Collector or District Magistrate and District Commissioner:

District Magistrate (Collector)

District Commissioner

Conducts revenue tax dues, excise duties, irrigation dues, and arrears.

Coordination with local bodies, departments, and agencies for proper administration. 

Arbitrator of land acquisition, its assessments, collection of land dues.

Reporting to the Divisional Commissioner on any matter. 

Registration of property documents, sale deeds, power attorneys, defacement, share certificates.


Inspection of various district offices, subdivisions, and tehsils.


Relief and Rehabilitation


How to become D.M (District Magistrate), the students need to have patience and a hard-working streak to become successful District Magistrates. However, times are changing, and students who wish to become a D.M (District Manager) must also have a streak of originality, smartness, and a passion to be different from other corrupt officers. 

Through the post of the D.M, students can hope to get an opportunity to do good in the world. Starting by your very country, a sense of patriotism and gratitude for the country will help to ensure that the future D.M reading this article, will take the opportunity and do something good for the country, no matter what.

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