IAS Officer – Power, Work, Duties, Life of an IAS Officer

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

IAS Officer is a post that many young Indians aspire to reach. It is one of the most prestigious job profiles in the country endowed with a lot of power and wide-ranging responsibilities. In order to become an IAS officer, candidates must clear the UPSC civil services exam which is held in three stages. After passing the prelims, mains and interview stages, candidates will be allocated their service out of the 24 civil service posts. The IAS is one of the 24 posts and the one that is the most sought-after. IAS full form is ‘Indian Administrative Service’. The major work of IAS officers includes maintaining the administration work, ensuring law and order are in place, maintaining the overall expenditure, and supervising government affairs.

In this article, you can get all the information related to IAS work, the powers and duties of an IAS officer, the life of an IAS officer, the challenges and responsibilities and other important details. The power and prestige associated with an IAS officer can be understood by the sheer number of people who take the IAS exam every year hoping to become IAS officers.

Who is an IAS Officer?

An IAS officer is a career civil servant working under the Government of India. IAS officers are selected through the rigorous UPSC exams held every year. They are part of the administrative machinery that runs the whole country right from the local district level to the national level. The first posting of an IAS officer is an assistant collector cum sub-divisional magistrate, who is in charge of a district sub-division.

The IAS is part of the permanent bureaucracy of the country and they are a very important segment of the state/central executive. IAS officers are assigned to various government departments, bodies, public sector undertakings, agencies, etc. At the higher levels, an IAS officer will lead government departments/ministries. They may also be sent on deputation to international organisations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, etc. IAS officers are also engaged in conducting elections through the Election Commission of India.

IAS Officer Powers and Duties

An IAS officer is entrusted with huge responsibilities and duties. IAS officers act as government agents on the field and as liaisons between the government and the public. Some of the duties of IAS officers are as follows.

  • Maintain law and order in the district
  • Collect revenue
  • Function as court officials in matters of revenue and crime
  • Execute government policies when posted on the field as District Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner, Divisional Commissioner, SDO/SDM/Joint Collector/ Chief Development Officer, Board of Revenue Chairperson/Member
  • Administration and daily functioning of the government in coordination with the minister of the department or ministry
  • Contribute to policy formulation especially when posted at the higher levels
  • Managing and handling various government funds for different schemes
  • Organising relief work and assistance during natural or man-made disasters and riots

Work of IAS Officer

Apart from field roles, IAS officers are also posted to state secretariats, PSUs, and the central secretariat. Field assignments are given at the district level and end after the officer has served a number of years in service. Many of them move to positions within the state government and work in the State Secretariat.

  • State Secretariat Assignments: State Secretariat postings involve using the experience and expertise gained in the field to advise elected representatives to formulate policies and make decisions regarding government processes.
  • Public Sector Undertakings: Many officers get posted to PSU cadres on deputation and become part of the higher management of various Public Sector Undertakings such as power stations, industrial units, etc.
  • Central Secretariat Assignments: Secretarial level postings at the level of the central government deal with policy review, formulation and implementation for different ministries.

Many IAS officers are also deputed to international bodies such as the United Nations. There are provisions to depute IAS officers to private organizations for short tenures as well.

Daily Work of an IAS Officer

A typical day in the life of an IAS officer begins early in the morning. Generally, office work starts at 9 AM with daily reports regarding the progress of initiatives or schemes, conducting surveys of the district or departments being managed, reviewing the implementation of the work, conducting meetings with several people including higher officials and ministers, etc. The work typically ends at 9 PM. However, during emergencies such as disasters, riots, etc., the officer should be present and ready 24/7. He or she is expected to stay working until the issue is resolved and organise all relief efforts to contain the situation. The daily life of an IAS officer can be quite hectic as he/she holds quite an important role in the administration of a district or department depending on the case. But, the satisfaction of fulfilling the duties would no doubt be gratifying for an upright officer. This is a job where one can actually see lives being changed because of the various government initiatives and schemes.

IAS Officer Career

A career as an IAS officer is one of the most desired professions in India. Lakhs of people take the IAS exam every year hoping to get the IAS tag after their names. In this section, we discuss an IAS officer’s career progression.

  • The career of an IAS officer starts at the LBSNAA where he/she undergoes basic training or the foundation course.
  • Then, the training phase 1 commences at the academy.
  • Year-long training at the district level at the officer’s allocated cadre.
  • Phase 2 training again at LBSNAA.
  • Central government attachment as Assistant Secretary for three months.
  • SDM/Joint Magistrate/Sub Collector posting in the state.
  • Municipal Commissioner, District Development Officer (DDO)/Chief Development Officer (CDO) posting.
  • Posting as District Magistrate (DM)/Collector.
  • State secretariat posting at Director/Joint Secretary level.
  • Principal/Additional Secretary in the State Secretariat/Central Secretariat. (central government deputation can be opted for after a few years in service).
  • Chief Secretary of a state
  • Cabinet Secretary (apex level)

Salary of an IAS Officer

An IAS officer’s remuneration is divided into eight pay scales starting from the Junior Scale to the Cabinet Secretariat level. The starting IAS salary will come to about Rs56100. At the apex level, the salary of an IAS officer will be Rs.250000. Apart from the salary, IAS officers are entitled to many perks such as a good house or rent for a house, domestic helps/cooks/guards, office vehicles, transport allowances, study leaves, etc.

IAS Officer Retirement Age

IAS officers’ retirement age is 60 years. Even after retirement, they may be given official assignments such as chairing a committee or commission for which he/she would receive remuneration. The life of an IAS officer after retirement is also assured of financial stability owing to the pension from the government.

Dress Code of an IAS Officer

Although there is no official dress code for an IAS officer, he/she is expected to be in formal clothes while on duty. This implies shirts and trousers for men and sarees or salwars for women. They are expected to dress according to the dignity of the profession.

IAS Power

We have discussed the salary, perks, duties and responsibilities of an IAS officer. But there is something which is even more appealing for youngsters who aspire to become IAS officers. That is the power of an IAS officer. IAS officers are hugely respected in the country. Their official duties take them in the midst of the common people who often see them as saviours. Many IAS officers are loved by the people for their good and honest work. Think TN Seshan, Naresh Chandra, Santha Sheela Nair, Ashok Khemka, Vinod Rai and many more. Becoming an IAS officer and serving the country with integrity and honesty is what many young people aspire to. You too can become an IAS officer if you work with dedication and the right preparation tools, and change your life for the better, along with the lives of many ordinary Indians.

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