History of Indian Civil Service, Father of Civil Services | First IAS Officer of India

By K Balaji|Updated : November 11th, 2022

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the administrative division of the All India Services of the Indian Government. IAS officers are positioned in a broad range of government organisations, including auxiliary bodies, staff & line agencies, statutory bodies, autonomous bodies, regulatory bodies, and public sector organisations.

The first IAS officer of India is Satyendranath Tagore. The importance of the Indian Civil Service speaks for itself. Hence, candidates taking the IAS exam must be familiar with the service's background in India. The IAS is integral to the Indian government and forms part of the country's permanent bureaucracy.

Table of Content

History of Indian Civil Service

The higher-level civil service of the British Empire in India from 1858 until 1947 was the Indian Civil Service (ICS), also known as the Imperial Civil Service. In an effort to enter the country's civil service, thousands of applicants take the UPSC civil services preliminary exam each year. And more than any other service, the majority of them desire to join the IAS.

The history of the Indian Civil Services in India is discussed below.

  • Civil services were divided into three categories during the East India Company era: covenanted, uncovenanted, and special civil services. The Honourable East India Company's Civil Service (HEICCS), as it was known, was the name given to the covenanted civil service, which was mostly made up of employees holding senior positions in the government. The uncovenanted civil service was created solely to make it easier for Indians to join the lower ranks of the executive branch.
  • The special service consisted of specialised divisions such as the Indian Forest Service, Imperial Police, and Indian Political Service, whose personnel were selected from either the Indian Army or the covenanted civil service.
  • Although, until 1893, an annual exam was used to choose its officers, the Imperial Police nonetheless had several Indian Army officers among its members.
  • The Indian Civil Service (ICS), which took the role of the HEICCS in 1858 and served as the highest Indian Civil Service until 1947, superseded the HEICCS. In 1942, the ICS's final appointments were made.
  • The Government of India Act 1919 divided the Indian Civil Services into the All India Services and the Central Services, under the overall control of the Secretary of State for India. One of the ten All India Services was the Indian Civil Service.
  • The Central Cabinet resolved to establish the Indian Administrative Service, based on the Indian Civil Service, and the Indian Police Service, based on the Imperial Police, in 1946 at the Premier's Conference.
  • The Indian Civil Service was split between the new nations of India and Pakistan when India was divided after the British left in 1947. The Pakistan Administrative Service was given to the Pakistani portion, whereas the Indian portion was renamed the Indian Administrative Service.

First IAS Officer of India

The first IAS officer of India is Satyendranath Tagore. He was the first Indian to join the ICS (Indian Civil Services) in 1863. He hailed from the renowned Tagore family of Kolkata. He was the second-oldest brother of Rabindranath Tagore, the only Indian to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. During the British raj, he significantly aided in the emancipation of women in Indian society.

Additionally, Satyendranath Tagore made significant contributions to society. He was a genius in addition to being the first IAS officer in India. In addition to being a member of the Brahmo Samaj, Satyendranath was an active participant. His father played a significant role in the events. Even though he was an IAS officer, he played important roles in operations. He was a writer, lyricist, and linguist. He took several actions to advance women's rights in Indian culture.

Father of Civil Services in India

Charles Cornwallis is referred to as the "father of Civil Service in India" because of his efforts to modernise and reform the Indian civil services. However, Warren Hastings provided the groundwork for India's civil services, but it was Cornwallis who took on the challenge of implementing the change.

Cornwallis also established the covenanted and uncovenanted branches of the Indian Civil Service. He served as the British governor-general of India and was a British soldier and statesman (1786-1793, 1805). On 23 February 1786, he formally accepted the position of governor-general of India. By treating civil servants appropriately, he built a tradition of law-abiding, incorruptible British administration in India. He also prohibited them from conducting their own business.

Facts about Indian Administrative Service

The ICS initially solely recruited candidates from Oxford and Cambridge. As a result, ICS was regarded as a premium service. ICS later allowed Indian's admittance. As a result, the Indian Civil Service Examination started to be held in India starting in 1922.

Here, we have provided some important facts about Indian Administrative Service in India.

  • Recruitment to the Indian Civil Services (ICS) began solely based on merit in 1855.
  • After 1947, the Indian Civil Service developed into its current form.
  • The first person to join the Civil Service in India was Satyendranath Tagore in 1864.
  • The highest position for an IAS officer is Cabinet Secretary.
  • From 1950 to 1953, R Pillai was the first person to hold the position of Cabinet Secretary.
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a vision for how public service would bring the nation together once it attained freedom.
  • The first woman IAS officer in India is Anna George Malhotra.
Important Notes for UPSC
CRR, Repo Rate and Reverse Repo RatePallava Dynasty
Difference Between Himalayan and Peninsular PlateauIAS Topper List with Marks
Floods in IndiaUGC (University Grants Commission)
Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve and National ParkCyclone Disaster Management
India after IndependenceRule of Law


write a comment

FAQs on History of Indian Civil Service

  • The first IAS officer of India is Satyendranath Tagore. He was an Indian Civil servant from Kolkata who was also a poet, composer, writer, social reformer, and linguist. In 1863, he was the first Indian to be appointed as an officer in the Indian Civil Service.

  • The first woman IAS officer in India is Anna Rajam Malhotra. She was the first woman in India to hold the position of an IAS officer. She passed the Civil Services Exam in 1951 and joined the Madras Cadre of the IAS.

  • The first Civil Service exam was held in London in the year 1855. With the creation of the Federal Public Service Commission, the Indian Civil Service Examination was held in India as well, starting in 1922, first in Allahabad and then in Delhi.

  • The Civil Services in India are said to have been founded by Warren Hastings, although Charles Cornwallis is credited with reforming and modernising the Civil Services' internal structure. Charles Cornwallis earned the title "Father of Civil Service in India" due to his efforts.

  • The ICS full form is Indian Civil Service. During the period of British rule between 1858 and 1947, it was the highest Civil Service of the British Empire in India and was formally referred to as the Imperial Civil Service.

  • The first ICS exam was given in India in 1922. Charles Cornwallis is known as the founder of the Indian civil service. The East India Company established a Civil Service in India to benefit its commercial concerns. It eventually developed into a well-organized system to handle the administrative affairs of India's newly acquired territories.

Featured Articles

Follow us for latest updates