Union Public Service Commission: Functions, Members, Composition of UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Union Public Service Commission also known as UPSC is an important organization responsible for conducting examinations and selecting candidates for various government services in India. It plays a vital role in recruiting and appointing civil servants at both the central and state levels. The UPSC, established under the Constitution of India, is composed of experienced individuals who ensure a fair and transparent selection process for positions in the government. Composition of UPSC ensures that the selection process is impartial, merit-based, and in accordance with the principles laid down by the Constitution.

Union Public Service Commission is a constitutional organization. It is responsible for conducting recruitment and examination processes for all Group A positions in central government entities, including Public Sector Undertakings and central autonomous bodies. Union Public Service Commission is the central agency responsible for conducting the Civil Services Examination in India. A good understanding of the UPSC is essential for candidates who are preparing for the CSE. Check detail about its members, chairman and functions in detail below.

Union Public Service Commission

The Full Form of UPSC is Union Public Service Commission. It was established on October 1, 1926, under the name Public Service Commission. After being reconstructed in 1935 under the Government of India Act 1935, the Commission’s name was changed to Federal Public Service Commission. It is an important institution in India that plays a significant role in the country’s governance and administration. It is responsible for conducting prestigious civil service examinations and selecting candidates for various positions in the government. The UPSC ensures a fair and merit-based selection process, aiming to recruit individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to serve the nation effectively.

After India’s independence in 1945, the name of the commission was changed to Union Public Service Commission. It is a constitutional body as specified by Articles 315-323 of Part XIV Chapter II of the Indian Constitution to perform the duties, powers, and obligations assigned to it by Article 320. Since its establishment, the Union Public Service Commission has been instrumental in maintaining the integrity and credibility of the civil services examination system in India. It operates under the provisions of the Constitution of India and works independently, free from any external influence or interference.

Exams Conducted by Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a range of prestigious examinations in India that serve as gateways to various government positions. These examinations are highly competitive and attract a large number of aspirants from across the country. All central government agencies, including PSUs and central autonomous bodies, have their Group A services exams administered by the Union Public Service Commission. The list of exams conducted by UPSC is provided below.

Union Public Service Commission: Constitutional Status and Location

Union Public Service Commission holds a constitutional status in India, as it is established and empowered by specific articles of the Indian Constitution. Articles 315 to 323 under Part XIV grant the commission the authority to oversee and conduct recruitment for services under the Union and the States. Detail about Constitutional Status and location about Union Public Service Commission is given below.

  • Constitutional Status: The UPSC derives its authority and mandate from the Indian Constitution, specifically Articles 315 to 323 in Part XIV, which pertain to “Services under the Union and the States.” These constitutional provisions grant the commission the power to conduct examinations and make appointments for various government positions.
  • Relationship with the President: The UPSC operates under the direct supervision of the President of India. It provides advice to the government through the President, who acts as a conduit for communication between the commission and the government. However, the government is not legally bound to accept the commission’s advice.
  • Autonomous Operation: As a constitutional authority, the UPSC enjoys the freedom and autonomy to function independently. It is one of the few organizations with the ability to operate free from external interference, ensuring fairness, transparency, and objectivity in its recruitment processes.
  • Secretariat in New Delhi: The UPSC has its secretariat located in Dholpur House, situated in New Delhi. The secretariat serves as the administrative hub for the commission, facilitating the smooth conduct of examinations, managing candidate evaluations, and coordinating with various government departments and ministries.

Composition of UPSC

For the purpose of selecting and recommending candidates for various Group A and Group B Services of the Government of India, the Union Public Service Commission conducts various examinations in line with the Rules of Examination as announced by the Government of India in a just, fair, and impartial manner.

The Union Public Service Commission comprises ten members and a UPSC chairman. The Union Public Service Commission (Members) Regulations, 1969, control the terms and conditions of employment for the chairman and members of the Commission. Below is a list of the Union Public Service Commission’s members as of 2022:

Name Designation
Dr. Manoj Soni Chairman
Ms. Smita Nagaraj Member
Sh. Bidyut Bihari Swain Member
Ms. Suman Sharma Member
Ms. Preeti Sudam Member
Sh. Rajiv Nayan Choubey Member
Lt. Gen. Raj Shukla (Retd.) Member

Members of Union Public Service Commission: Eligibility and Tenure

The Indian President chooses the Union Public Service Commission’s chairman and other members. Members of the UPSC typically have at least 10 years of experience working for the government, either in the Central or State services.

  • The Secretariat, which consists of a Secretary, two Additional Secretaries, numerous Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, and various support workers, examines the Commission.
  • Each member serves a six-year term of office or until he or she is 65.
  • The President of India can remove a member or chairman from office under the conditions and following the procedure outlined in Article 317 of the Indian Constitution.

Role and Functions of the Union Public Service Commission

According to Article 320 of the Indian Constitution, the Commission must be consulted on all issues about hiring civil services and positions. According to Article 320 of the Constitution, the Commission’s functions are:

  • Framing and amendment of Recruitment Rules for various services and posts under the Government.
  • Appointment of officers on promotion/deputation/absorption.
  • Disciplinary cases relating to different Civil Services.
  • Direct recruitment by selection through interviews.
  • Advising the Government on any matter referred to the Commission by the President of India.
  • Conduct examinations for appointment to the services of the Union.

Legislative Articles on Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission is governed by various articles in the Constitution of India that outline its powers, functions, and responsibilities. These articles establish the UPSC as a vital institution for conducting examinations and making appointments to civil services and other government positions. Important Articles concerning the Union Public Service Commission are given below and also discussed in the Constitution of India.

Article Explanation
Article 315 Public Service Commissions for the Union and for the states
Article 316 Appointment and term of office of members
Article 317 Removal and suspension of a member of a Public Service Commission
Article 318 Power to make regulations as to conditions of service of members and staff of the Commission.
Article 319 Prohibition as to the holding of office by members of the commission on ceasing to be such members
Article 320 Functions of Public Service Commissions
Article 321 Power to extend functions of Public Service Commissions
Article 322 Expenses of Public Service Commissions
Article 323 Reports of Public Service Commissions

Structure of Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission has a well-defined structure that facilitates its functioning as the central recruitment agency for top-level government positions in India. It consists of a chairman, members, and a dedicated secretariat that ensures the smooth conduct of examinations and selection processes. Following comes under structure of Union Public Service Commission.

  • Chairman: The UPSC is headed by a chairman who is appointed by the President of India. The chairman holds a pivotal role in guiding the commission’s activities, setting its agenda, and ensuring the fair and impartial conduct of examinations.
  • Members: The UPSC consists of members who are appointed by the President of India. These members contribute their expertise and experience in various domains to assist the commission in its recruitment and selection processes.
  • Secretariat: The commission operates with the support of a dedicated secretariat. The secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day administration, management of examination processes, and coordination with various departments and ministries of the government.
  • Examination Divisions: The UPSC has separate divisions to handle different examinations, such as the Civil Services Examination, Engineering Services Examination, Combined Defence Services Examination, and more. Each division is responsible for designing the exam pattern, conducting examinations, and evaluating candidates.
  • Advisory Committees: The UPSC may form advisory committees comprising subject matter experts and retired officials to assist in the selection process and provide recommendations on recruitment policies and procedures.
  • Regional Offices: The commission has regional offices located in different parts of India to cater to the regional requirements of candidates and facilitate the conduct of examinations in a decentralized manner.
  • Independent and Impartial: The UPSC functions as an independent and impartial organization, ensuring transparency and fairness in the recruitment process, thereby upholding the principles of meritocracy and equal opportunity.
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