Life, Role and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer

Though there are many who dream of joining the Indian Administrative Services, not all are able to realize their ambition. And the point to be noted is that though an IAS officer enjoys awesome power, it’s not easy to live the life of one.

An IAS officer has to shoulder tremendous responsibility. A responsible IAS officer can and does produce a highly positive change in the society as he administers it. It’s not without any valid reason that he is looked upon with great respect.

Indian Administrative Services: The Major Facts about the Life, Role and Responsibilities of An IAS Officer

An IAS officer, in order to join the Indian Administrative Services is required to clear all the three stages of the Civil Services Exam. He has to qualify the Prelims. And clear the Mains. The last and the final stage of the CSE is the Interview. A candidate is declared successful by UPSC only when he clears all the three stages successfully.

And merely clearing the CSE Exam is not enough. He should score a rank higher than his competitors. These are only the highest of the rank holders who are finally asked by UPSC to join IAS.

Everyday Life Once you clear the civil Services Exam successfully, you would be required to join Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). An IAS officer is to live a completely disciplined life.

LBSNAA Usually observes the following schedules for the IAS officers:

  1. A 60 minutes training at 6 am comprising horse riding/exercise
  2. Free morning time is provided from 7-9am for the morning activities.
  3. After 9:30 am, the next 8-10 hours comprise academic activities including
  4. Lectures
  5. Sports
  6. Extracurricular activities

The time before and after the dinner is over may be employed by the trainees to socialize. They are also allowed to undertake the outdoor activities including trekking. It helps them gain a good knowledge of the life in urban India. The training also includes Bharat Darshan for the knowledge of the rural lifestyle is integral to the training.

The Schedule after the Training

The schedule of an IAS officer depends upon the post assigned to him after the training is over. The day would begin at 9 am. There would be various activities that he will have to undertake as listed below:

  • The daily reports
  • Surveillance concerning various departmental or the district tasks
  • A review of how far the developmental tasks have been implemented
  • Various meetings for various purposes as required

The activities listed above end up at 9 pm. Besides, apart from the usual daily routines, there might be emergencies, for example, the natural disaster etc., that may require an IAS officer to work during the unusual hours say midnight or early morning as well.

Various Types of Tasks Assigned

An IAS officer is usually assigned 3 types of tasks at various levels including the Field, State Secretariat/PSUs and the Central Secretariat.

Given below, you will find a brief description of the major tasks performed by an IAS officer:

Field Assignments: An IAS officer is usually assigned a field job, first of all, after the training is over. Each of the field jobs might be accompanied by some of the complexities unique to the kind of the task assigned.

Functions of the Subdivision: A subdivisional judge is expected to take care of:

  • law and order maintenance, and
  • development and administrative management at the sub-division.

Functions at the District level: A district officer, and collector/deputy commissioner perform the same functions at the district level that are performed by the SDM. It should be noted that the field work usually comes to an end at the district level only for most of the IAS officers.

A great many of the IAS officers, functioning at the State Secretariat rise to prominent positions in the State Government.

State Secretariat Assignments: Being posted at the State Secretariat requires an IAS officer to make good use of the experience gained at the field level as he is to formulate policies and make important decisions concerning various government processes.

Public Sector Enterprises: A number of the IAS officers on deputation postings to the PSU cadres can be seen at the highest echelons of the management in various PSUs, e.g., various industrial units, power DISCOMs etc.

Central Secretariat Assignments: Functioning at the Secretarial level for various Central Government Ministries, an IAS officer deals with:

  • Policy Review
  • Formulation
  • Implementation

It should be noted that IAS officers are also transferred to private organizations for short terms including the United Nations and various other international bodies.

What are the powers that an IAS officer is entitled to enjoy? The prominent powers enjoyed by an IAS Officer are listed below:

  1. The powers that a magistrate is entitled to exercise in order to maintain law and order are listed in the Code of Criminal Procedure (1973): Sections 107,108,109,110,133,144, 176.
  1. Arms Act, Essential Commodities Act,  Drug Licenses Act, etc., list the powers of IAS officers to enforce regulations in various situations.
  2. The National Disaster Management Act lists the powers of Chief Secretaries and Magistrates in directing operations for disaster relief.

The laws referred above are only the major ones that list the powers enjoyed by the IAS officers. You will also find a summary of all the rules in the All India Service Manuals that are regularly updated by the Department of Personnel and Training.

It should be noted that apart from the powers enjoyed by the IAS officers, the Services Manuals also specify the rules that govern the performance of the IAS officers. Thus, all of the Civil Servants may be held answerable to the legislatures of the State and the Central Governments.

The Career Path of an IAS Officer

The career of most of the IAS officers follows a path as given below. However, it may diverge after the completion of probation on grounds of the allotted cadre.

  • Phase I: Training at LBSNAA
  • Training at district level as per the allotted cadre
  • Phase II:  Training at LBSNAA. There is a foreign attachment for a week on a diplomatic mission
  • Functioning for three months at the nominal position of an Assistant Secretary  for a Central Government attachment
  • As Joint Magistrate /SDM/ /Sub Collector
  • As Municipal Commissioner, CDO/DDO
  • As Collector /DM
  • Posting at the State Secretariats at the Director/Joint Secretary level.
  • An IAS officer can opt for being deputed to the Central Government after he has served for a few years.
  • Additional Secretary in the State Secretariat/Central Secretariat
  • Chief Secretary for a state
  • Cabinet Secretary

The highest position an IAS officer can aspire to is that of an Indian Cabinet Secretary. As far as the state bureaucracy is concerned, Chief State Secretary is the highest designation you can rise up to.

The Salary of an IAS officer

The 7th Central Pay Commission provided for the basic salary of Rs 56100 for the newly inducted Indian Administrative Services officers. It’s the Union Cabinet Secretary who receives the highest salary of Rs. 250000. However, you would find a total of the 18 Pay Levels for the Indian Administrative Services officers.

The Additional Benefits

An IAS officer receives the benefits listed below (while he is on duty, of course) apart from the salary that he receives:

  • Subsidized accommodation.  The postings at the District Level will see an IAS officer staying at the best of the houses you may ever find across India.
  • Household assistance including gardeners, cooks etc. , is also provided depending on the requirements.
  • Security cover is also provided as per the requirement.
  • Government transportation is provided for most of the posts at the State and District level.
  • IAS officers are entitled to a monthly pension after retirement. However, it depends on their service duration and the rank.

An IAS officer lives a life that is highly rewarding as well as challenging. However, with an honest and sincere intent to serve the country, he can really contribute a great deal to the development of the nation. And you would easily come across a number of the examples who have earned a great respect of the people of India for doing so.

TN Seshan, one of the IAS toppers in the year 1955 is known for having cleaned up the Indian elections. E Sreedharan, known as the “Metro Man” is another example. And with a keen and honest intent to serve the country, you too can become exemplary for others.

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