The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS). Also simply referred to as the UPSC examination, it is conducted in three phases - a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted followed by a personality test (interview).
Role of civil Services in a Democracy
India is a democratic country and in this system, power confers with the people. The power is exercised through its designated representatives who have the command to manage them for particular period. The civil services by quality of its knowledge, experience and understanding of public affairs support the chosen representatives to device effectual policy and have great responsibility to implement these policies for the welfare of society and enhancement of nation. Parliamentary democracies are generally pigeonholed by a permanent civil service which helps the political policymakers and political executives. India is a constitutional fairness and its operations are usually depends upon four supports that include Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, and Free Press. Each one of these has been assigned its role in democratic establishment. First pillar is associated with the governance of the State. Effective and efficient institutions form the strength of an efficacious development and governance process.
What is the purpose of the civil service exam?
One of the basic components of Indian governance planning is the concept of an unbiased, honest, efficient and valiant civil service which is the core of the Executive whether it is All India Services or the other Civil Services. They form the stable structure and support of Indian Administration System.
The UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination for recruitment to different Services mentioned below, each with its own charm. Some of the services are:
Indian Administrative Service : The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the elite civil service of the Government of India. IAS officers hold key and strategic positions in the Union Government, States and public-sector undertakings. Along with the Indian police and forest services, the IAS is one of the three All India Services—its cadre can be employed by both - the Union Government and the States. Upon confirming to service after probation as Sub- Divisional Magistrate, an IAS officer is given administrative command of entire district as District collector. Later on, to head whole departments and later entire Ministries of Government of India and States. IAS officers represent Government of India at international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. On deputations they work at Intergovernmental organizations like International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and United Nations or its Agencies. Many a time, RBI Governor, Chief Election Commissioner and invariably, the CAG are all IAS Officers.
IAS officers are imparted probationary training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie. After completion of successful probation they are confirmed. Also, there is provision for 'mandatory Mid Career Training for IAS officers spread across the entire service span.
IAS officer is responsible for maintenance of law and order, revenue administration and general administration in the area under him.
Indian Foreign Service : On selection to the Indian Foreign Service the new entrants undergo a multifaceted and comprehensive training programme intended to give them a thorough grounding in diplomatic knowledge, diplomatic qualities and diplomatic skills. The probationers commence their training, together with their colleagues from the other All India Services, at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. Thereafter the probationers join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and undergo focused training in the various disciplines that a career diplomat needs to familiarise himself with.
A Foreign Service Officer begins his career abroad as a Third Secretary and is promoted to Second Secretary as soon as he is confirmed in service. Subsequent promotions are to the levels of First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister and Ambassador/High Commissioner/ Permanent Representative. Officers can also be posted to Indian Consulates abroad where the hierarchy (going upwards) is Vice-Consul, Consul and Consul General.
As a career diplomat, the Foreign Service Officer is required to project India's interests, both at home and abroad on a wide variety of issues. These include bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison as well as a whole host of multilateral issues.
Indian Police Service : All the officers of Indian Police Service undergo probationary training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad. After successful completion of probation, officers are confirmed in the service. Also, there is provision for mandatory Mid Career Training for IPS officers spread across the entire service span.
The current roles and functions of an Indian Police Service Officer include maintenance of public peace and order, crime prevention, investigation, and detection, collection of intelligence, VIP security, counter-terrorism, border policing, railway policing, tackling smuggling, drug trafficking, economic offences, corruption in public life, disaster management, enforcement of socio-economic legislation, bio-diversity and protection of environmental laws etc. Leading and commanding the Indian Intelligence Agencies, Leading and commanding the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
Indian Revenue Service : Indian Revenue Service (IRS) is the largest Group A Central Service amongst the organized civil services in the Government of India. IRS serves the nation through discharging one of the most important sovereign functions i.e., collection of revenue for development, security and governance.
IRS officers serve the Government of India in different capacities/roles. While administering, Direct Taxes through the ITD, they formulate policies, implement such policies and discharge the functions of an investigator, quasi-judicial authority, prosecutor and negotiator of International Agreements etc.
IRS comprises two branches - IRS (Income Tax) and IRS (Customs and Central Excise), which are controlled by two separate statutory bodies, viz., Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) respectively. On joining the service, IRS officers (Income Tax) are trained mainly at National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), located at Nagpur and IRS (Customs and Central Excise) mainly at National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (Faridabad).
Indian Railway Traffic Service : IRTS probationers undergo general foundation training at one of the training academies, that is, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA)/National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur/RCVP Noronha Academy of Administration, Bhopal/Dr. MarriChann Reddy Human Resource Development Institute, Hyderabad. Following this they go for the Railway Foundation Course at National Academy of Indian Railways, Vadodara. Further specialized training for the probationers is imparted at the Indian Railway Institute of Transportation Management (IRITM) at Lucknow. IRTS officer coordinates the production and sale of transportation output and manages the customer interface of railways.