Career Growth and Prospects of an IAS

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : September 5th, 2021

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the administrative wing of the nation. It is one of the premier civil services of IndiaIAS is one of the All India Services. Other being Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.

Career Growth and Prospects of an IAS  

IAS officers are recruited, and trained by the Central government, but they work under both the Union government as well as the individual states' government. He may also be deputed to the various International intergovernmental organization and public sector undertakings.

About Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

  • IAS is the permanent bureaucracy of the nation unlike or political executive. It is also called the executive organ of the state. Bureaucracy must remain impartial and politically neutral to maintain the office of trust. It guarantees administrative continuity of the schemes and programs.  
  • Civil servants are appointed to any public service or post in connection with the affairs of the Central Government or the welfares of the people

What is the recruitment process?

  • The IAS officers are selected after appearing through the three stages of Prelim, Main and Interview under the UPSC Civil Services ExaminationSome IAS officers are also promoted from the state civil services. They had qualified state civil service exam conducted by state public service commission.   In rare cases, IAS officers are selected from non-state civil service.   

Note: As per the DoPT guidelines, the ratio between direct recruits and promotees to 2:1.

  • The President of India appoints all IAS officers. A success rate of becoming an IAS is less than 0.01 per cent. That's why the members of the AIS service are often referred to as "heaven-born". If a candidate is selected as an IAS officer, then he is ineligible to retake CSE
  • After the selection process for foundation and advance course, selected candidates undergo training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

Role and Responsibilities of an IAS officer

  • Prominently and IAS officer responsible to handle the revenue.
  • He/she also functions as court officials in matters of revenue and crime.
  • He/she has to maintain law and order in the state. He also has to implement and monitor welfare schemes and policies at the grass-roots level when posted to field positions.
  • He/she acts as an intermediary between the public and the government. 
  • He/she has to handle the administration and daily proceedings of the government. It includes the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy in consultation with the minister-in-charge of a specific ministry or department.
  • To contribute to policy formulation
  • He/she has to come out with a final decision in some issues, with the agreement of the minister concerned or the council of ministers depending upon the weight of the matter. This power comes when he is posted at the higher level in the Government of India as a joint secretary, special secretary, additional secretary or secretary equivalent and Cabinet Secretary, and in state governments as secretary, additional chief secretary principal secretary, special chief secretary and chief secretary. 

Cadre Allocation Policy

  • A new cadre allocation policy for the All India Services was announced by the central government in August 2017 to ensure national integration of the bureaucracy and an All India character of the services.
  • The existing twenty-six state cadres were to be divided into five zones from zone I to zone II by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). 
  • Under it, a candidate who had to qualify for the Mains Examination first selects their zones of preference in descending order. Then he tells the state preference from each preferred zone by giving the number. After this, he will indicate his second state cadre preference for every preferred zone subsequently. This exercise goes on until the last column gets fills up. After giving their preference, no further change is permitted. 
  • Once they are allocated cadre, then they must remain in their allocated cadre or are deputed to the Government of India
  • The "insider-outsider ratio" was maintained at 1:2

Zones under the current cadre allocation policy:




Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana, AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand.


Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha


Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh


West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland


Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala

What is the career path of an IAS officer?

  • At the beginning of their career, IAS officers receive district training with their home cadres. After completing district training, they were allocated their first posting
  • Their starting role begins as a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM). Thus, they are placed in charge of a district sub-division. As SDMs, they are given the responsibility to maintain law and order and to do general administration and development work, of the sub-division. 
  • After the completion of the training period, they are assigned to various posts in the state or union governments or Panchayati Raj System (municipal councils, municipal corporations, Zilla Parishad), Public Sector Undertakings or international organization.
  • In 2015, the new designation of assistant secretary at the Central Secretariat had been created. It was to enable new IAS officers to be posted to Delhi for a three-month assignment as part of their training regime. As part this, IAS assistant secretaries are supposed to work on projects—a new policy in their respective areas—and present it to their respective ministries.
  • After completing this probationary role, they are given the role of an executive in a district as a district magistrate and collector, which lasts for 7-8 years at least. 
  • After this tenure, he may be promoted as a divisional commissioner, head a whole state division.


  • An IAS officer is appointments as Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, Special Secretary, Secretary, Principal Secretary, Chief Secretary for formulating policies and supervision of their implementation in the state.
  • An IAS officer Work on deputation in different ministries with the Union Government. He holds an appointment as Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, Secretary and Cabinet Secretary. There he manages day-to-day affairs of the government in consultation with the minister.
  • On attaining the apex scale, IAS officers may represent the country at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations.
  • He can also be employed in intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations or its agencies World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank, etc.
  • They are also assigned the duty to conduct of elections in India as mandated by the Election Commission of India.

IAS Officer Salary:

Grade/scale (level on Pay Matrix)

Field posting(s)

Position in state governments

Position in the Govt of India

Basic monthly salary


Cabinet Secretary grade (Pay level 18)

Cabinet Secretary of India



Apex scale (Pay level 17)

Chief secretary




Higher administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 15)

Divisional commissioner

Principal secretary

Additional secretary

₹182,200 —₹224,100 


Senior administrative grade (above super time scale) (Pay level 14)


Joint secretary

₹144,200 ₹218,200 


Selection grade (Pay level 13)

District magistrate

Special secretary-cum-director


₹118,500 —₹214,100 


Junior administrative grade (Pay level 12)

Joint secretary

Deputy secretary

₹78,800 —₹191,500 


Senior time scale (Pay level 11)

Additional district magistrate

Deputy secretary

₹67,700 —₹160,000 


Junior time scale (Pay level 10)

Sub-divisional magistrate

Under Secretary

Assistant secretary

₹56,100 —₹132,000 


  • IAS officers of the designation’s additional chief secretary and special chief secretary draw the same salary as the principal secretary of the state, but he is not coming under the same protocol.
  • IAS officers of the special designation secretary to the Government of India or secretary-equivalent draw the same salary as a secretary to the Government of India. Still, he will not follow the same protocol.
  • Alternate designations and nomenclature can differ from state to state. Alternate designations – District collector, deputy commissioner.

Perks and subsidies 

  • The salaries of civil servants may not be as high as corporate employees, but the perks and subsidies compensate for it. 
  • An IAS or IPS officer gets 
    • free quarters
    • Dearness allowances
    • fuel allowance
    • cook
    • driver 
    • study allowances
    • Interest-free loans (because there the credibility is very high by virtue of being employed by Government.

Post-retirement benefit

  • Upon retirement, they can be given constitutional posts such as the Chief Election Commissioner of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and the chairperson of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • They can also become members of administrative tribunals like the Central Administrative Tribunal, the National Green Tribunal or as chiefs of regulators including the Reserve Bank of India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, FCI, etc.
  • If a serving IAS officer is appointed to a constitutional post such as Chief Election Commissioner of India or chairperson of UPSC or CAG, etc., or as head of the statutory authority, such as the NHRC, the National Commission for Women or the CIC, he or she is deemed to have retired from service.
  • IAS officers can also be deputed to private organisations under Rule 6(2)(ii) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 for a fixed tenure.

 Assessment of suitability for promotion and posting

  • The performance of IAS officers is assessed through a performance appraisal report which is compiled annually.
  • This appraisal report is reviewed to judge the suitability of an officer before a promotion or a posting in the union or state governments.
  • It is initiated by the officers themselves (designated as the reporting officer).
  • They list their achievements, completion of assigned activities and targets for the year.
  • Then Reviewing Officer reviewed this report and modified it and give his comment. Then Reports are forwarded to the accepting authority. They conduct a final review of the report.   

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Arti Varma

Arti VarmaJun 15, 2020

Thank uhh sir....... For good  information

SumeshJun 15, 2020

Sir please send daily
Sintu Kumar

Sintu KumarJun 15, 2020

Great sir, isi tarah career prospects of IPS ke bare me bhi post kijiye sir please..
Cool Dude

Cool DudeJun 16, 2020

This is highly motivating. Can't wait to see myself in LBSNAA mussoorie next year. Thank you so much for this great post!! 😁
Saroj Singh

Saroj SinghJun 17, 2020

Wow!! We will be glad to have seen you becoming an officer. Wish you all the best! How is your preparation going on? Let us know if you need any assistance. You can also refer to:
Bhawna Aggarwal

Bhawna AggarwalJun 21, 2020

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Sonali Shanu
Thanks a lot sir, for this great information
Shivi Jain

Shivi JainSep 9, 2021

Please upload competition exam question for becoming an IAS

YadavvvjiSep 9, 2021

Thank you sir for your compliment .....
Hemant Narayan Korvekar
Really useful information

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