How to Become an IAS Officer in India?

Considered to a position of strong authority and power in Category A list of officers for Indian Civil Services, the IAS officers occupy positions positions that are regarded as highly prestigious and well-respected in the Union Government, State Government, and Units of the Public Sector. Besides IAS officers, IPS, and IFS are also considered as very respectable and strategic positions in the Indian Civil Services.

The first stage in the career of the IAS officer are the posts of sub-divisional magistrate, supervisor of administration, or development officer of the area encompassing the work that has been assigned to them. Thus, these are the above mentioned roles that they play at the sub-divisional level. Various roles that are designated to the IAS officer are that of Collector, Cabinet Secretary, Commissioner, Unit Head of the Public Sector, and Chief Secretary. This profession is one of most sought after professions as besides getting a lot of exposure, the individual also attains a lot of power in his hands with which he/she can affect the lives of millions of people in a positive way.

The Pathway for Becoming an IAS Officer
  • If a person wants to become the IAS officer, he/she has to crack the UPSC exam.
  • UPSC Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), and is also known as the Civil Services Exam.
  • Union Public Service Commission is the fundamental body for recruiting civil servants in India.
  • Due to stiff competition, it is extremely difficult to clear the exam in the very first attempt.
  • As far the educational, social, or financial, background of the candidate is concerned, there are no constraints to be imposed on the candidate. Thus, anyone can apply for the highly coveted IAS exam.
Responsibilities and Duties of an IAS Officer
  • An IAS officer acts as the most strong pillar for the government of India.
  • They play a vital role in handling the matters of the population of India.
  • Their decision making affects the common man to a great extent.
  • The IAS officers have the power to exercise their authority of allocating tasks to various administrative departments and their bodies.
  • But, their decision must be in framework of the existing policies and regulations.
  • It is considered as an extremely prestigious position as they have the power of designing policies and imparting advices to the ministers.
  • They also function as supervising bodies for administering the exercising of duties of the administrative units.
  • Maintenance of law and order, looking after the revenue and general administration exist under the dominion of IAS officers.
  • They have the liberty of being Chief Development Officers (which is actually a role which is played by an Executive Magistrate) and by playing that role they supervise the spending rate of Public Funds and inspect the execution of policies at State level and Central Level.
Eligibility Criteria

Age Requirements

  • The age of the candidate  of the general category should be less than 32.
  • If the candidate is from OBC category, then the age limit can be extended upto 35 years.
  • In case of SC/ST category candidates, the age limit can be relaxed up to 37 years.
  • If an IAS aspirant is physically handicapped, then the age limit is 42 years for General category, 45 years of OBC, and 47 years of SC/ST.
  • For Domicile candidates belonging to Jammu & Kashmir, the age limit is 37 years for General category, 40 years for OBC, 42 years for SC/ST,  and 50 years for handicapped.
  • If the candidates are Ex-Servicemen, then the age limit is 37 years for General category, 40 years for OBC, 42 years for SC/ST.
  • For disabled defence services personnel, the maximum age limit is 37 years for the General Category, 40 years for OBC category, and 42 years for SC/ST.

Educational Qualifications

  • The first prerequisite condition for being eligible for the exam is that the candidate should possess a degree from an Indian University and it doesn't matter whether the university is Deemed, State, Central or an open university. But the university should be recognized by the UGC.
  • The degree will be considered valid even if the degree has been acquired through correspondence or distance education.
  • MBBS graduates are also allowed to sit for the examination.
  • The candidate can appear for the UPSC exam if he/she has passed the final levels of any professional course from boards like ICSI, ICWAI, and ICAI(Institute of Chartered Accountant of India).
  • If a candidate has attained a degree in a foreign university which is recognized by the Association of Universities, then he/she can sit for UPSC exam.

Maximum Number of Attempts

  • The maximum number of attempts for students of general category is 6, 9 for OBC category students, and the students belonging to the SC/ST category students is limitless.
  • The maximum number of attempts for physically handicapped candidates is also infinite.
Levels to Clear to Become an IAS Officer

Level 1:Prelims Exam

  • The preliminary examination of this exam comprise of two objective type papers in which one paper is of general studies and the other paper tests the aptitude of the students. This aptitude test is named as CSAT(Civil Service Aptitude Test).
  • Topics such as economy, history of India, social development, polity and governance, environment & ecology, science & technology,  and Indian & World geography are present in the Paper 1.
  • The Paper 2 of the prelims is comprised of topics namely data interpretation, logical reasoning, basic numeracy, maths, analytical ability, and English language comprehension.
  • Both these papers are held on the same day.
  • The judgement to announce the date of the exams is with the UPSC, but the exams usually take place in the month of June.
  • The issuance of the Answer key will be followed by the declaration of the UPSC results of that year.
  • The results of Prelim exams are released in the month of August/ September.

Level 2: Mains Exam

  • The second level of the CSE exam is the mains and it consists of 9 descriptive exams.
  • The second level comprises of 9 papers which are described in the image mentioned below-
  • The elective subjects for the CSE Main exams include subjects like psychology, animal husbandry and Veterinary Science, maths, chemistry, civil engineering, law, statistics, political science and international relations economics, electrical engineering, geography, sociology, history, commerce, botany, management,, mechanical engineering, medical science, zoology,,anthropology, agriculture, public administration, geology, and philosophy.
  • The students can opt from an extensive range of languages for the Indian literature exam. The languages that are available are,Marathi, Kannada, Dogri, Bengali, Assamese, Santali, Urdu, Kashmiri, Telugu, Tamil, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, English, Bodo, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Sindhi, Oriya, Manipuri, Nepali, Hindi, and Gujarati.
  • The dates for CSE main will be confirmed in the month of August/ September
  • Application forms can be submitted in the month of August/ September.
  • Admit Cards will be released before three months of the CSE Mains.
  • The Mains is usually in October, however, the date and the month of the exam can be altered by the UPSC.
  • The answer key will be revealed in the following year after the result is published.
  • The results of CSE Mains will be released in the month of January/ February in the next year.

Level 3:Personal Interview

  • Union Public Service Commission selects and interviews around 2500-3000 candidates out of millions approximately every year.
  • Several boards are created by the UPSC which function on a daily basis and a single  member of the UPSC will be heading each of the many boards.
  • Every board set-up will comprise of 4-5 members who have separate portfolios.
  • The responsibility of the members of the board is to ask questions that will help them choose a candidate based on their mental ability.
  • Majority of the questions asked will be about national and international current affairs.
  • The board members have the right to ask questions related to the personal profile submitted by students along with the application form.
List of Reference Books
  • History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra
  • India’s Ancient Past by R.S Sharma.
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra.
  • The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham
  • Indian Art and Culture authored by Nitin Singhania
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • Oxford School Atlas by Oxford
  • India Year Book
  • Manorama Year Book
  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examination by M Laxmikanth

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