Civil Services

Civil Servants are bureaucrats who often significantly influence decision making of the government. Though you may not be as highly paid as a private sector executive, but the power and status associated with this filed more than makes up for it. In fact, civil servants are often called the real power behind the government.

Just imagine being the District Magistrate of a district or the Secretary of a Ministry. If you want to have the power to influence people this is it. The number of officers inducted every year varies. For instance, total number of officers taken in the 1998 batch was 238.

The officers of the Indian Civil Services are general managers who have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities ranging from maintenance of law and order, collection of taxes, to developmental work within State and Central areas of jurisdiction, implementation of social welfare activities, etc. They head the Union and the State Secretariats as well as the district administrations throughout the country. The broad areas of work for a civil servant are:

Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
An IAS officer manages the general administration of the state including the development function. Policy formulation, implementation and control at different levels are your main responsibilities. At the district level your responsibilities also include overseeing law and order situations and collecting taxes.

Apart from these functions at the Central and State government levels, you will actually act as the pillars of governance. You'll formulate policies, devise strategies, allocate resources and implement plans. You are the controlling authority of all plan implementation.

IAS officers also serve as top level managers of Public Sector Enterprises like companies, Metropolitan Development Authorities, Trade Promotion Councils, different development authorities, etc.

Indian Police Service (IPS)
Here lies the excitement for all you budding Kiran Bedis. As an IPS officer you'll be the brain behind not just the police force but also the CRPF, BSF, CISF, etc. Your main task will be to maintain law and order at all times. Planning pro-active strategies and implementing and controlling the police force are also your responsibilities. The ones craving for some adventure will have ample in the form of tackling crime and law and order emergencies.

Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
You'll work in the Ministry of External Affairs and manage Indian offices like Indian High Commission, Indian Consulates, Indian Embassies abroad. Work related to Passport services, Visa services, Consular services, etc. will be routed through you. Of course you'll also promote trade and cultural relations with foreign countries.

Indian Railway Service (IRS)
If employed here, you'll look after different divisions of the Railways like the Traffic Service (again this is divided into Commercial and Operations.), Accounts Services, Police Services, Personnel Services, etc.

The operations division is in charge of the movements of passenger and goods train and all the activities related to movement including passenger comfort and safety.
Commercial division looks after all the commercial functions associated with train movement like tickets sales, collecting revenue from advertisements on the stations, etc. Indian Railway Accounts Services Officers are in charge of all the accounts of the Indian Railways like income, expenditure, etc.

The Personnel officers are responsible for recruitment and selection of railway staffs, training and development and all other personnel functions. Railway Police Service officers are responsible for law and order situations on the stations and also with the movement of the trains.

Indian Postal Service (IPS)
This is one of the largest organisations in the world with numerous offices all over the country. They head different operational divisions of the Postal service and manage the entire operations.

Indian Audit and Accounts Services (IA & AS)
Accounting and auditing of different Central Government departments is the main responsibilities of these officers. They work with the Central Government.

Indian Civil Accounts Services (ICAS)
They work in the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Office of the Chief Controller of India, etc.

Indian Customs and General Excise Services (IC & GES)
Checking of all the goods entering India or going out of India, to ensure and enforce their compliance with Indian Laws is the prime duty of the customs officials. You'll have the power to siege goods that violate Indian laws, assess and levy duties on goods entering India or leaving India, collect excise taxes or indirect taxes on goods produced in India, etc.

Indian Defence Accounts Services (IDAS)
Here you'll look after the accounts of the Defence forces, Army, Air Force, Navy and other protective services. You main functions will be accounting and auditing.

Indian Revenue Service Officers (IRSO)
Revenue collection, i.e., tax collection will be your main concern. You'll be in the top administrative strata of the Income Tax offices in India. Overseeing the function of the Income Tax departments, assessment of taxes, collection of taxes and implementation of Indian Income Tax laws are your areas.

Indian Ordinance Factories Services
Ordinance factories manufacture arms and ammunitions required for requirements. IOFS officers serve in these establishments and manage the overall manufacturing functions.

Indian Information Service (IIS)
It's your responsibility is to ensure that only correct information reaches the media. Organising press conferences, controlling official media and organising festivals is your business.

So, now you know that it's the civil services in India that are responsible for the smooth functioning of the country.


But above all, you have to qualify through the Indian Civil Services examination. Very few manage to get through the ICS examination. Thereafter you can opt for different services based on your preference and ranking in the examination.

To be eligible to take the ICS test you need to a graduate in any stream with age around 21-30. Apart from direct recruitment through the Indian Civil Services Examination some posts in the junior scale are filled in by promotes from the Group 'B' of the Central Government or State Government Services.

Job Opportunities

As a Civil Servant you'll be working in one of the several services described below which collectively come under the ambit of the Indian Civil services jobs

Money & Other Benefits

Starting salary: About Rs 12,000-13,000 a month at the junior most level.
Your remuneration increases with promotion to higher scales and can be a maximum of Rs 30,000 a month at the present scale.

Of course the icing on the cake are the perks like subsidised accommodation, cars, furnishing allowance, etc. as per your rankings in the scale of officers.

Career Prospects

Indian Civil services fall under Group 'A' of Central Government jobs. The promotional grades are same for all the officers under Indian Civil Services, though the names of the posts differ across different services. The IAS, IPS officers are divided into 25 State cadres.

In the beginning of your service life, you'll be placed in the Junior Officer Scale and sent to the State cadre for a probation of two years. You are then elevated to the post of Senior Officer working as Under Secretary in the State or Central Government.

The next stopover is that of Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) as Deputy Secretary. And then comes the higher posting as Director of Public Sector Enterprises and other developmental and administrative organisations.

If you are in the Senior Administrative Cadre you could graduate to becoming the Joint Secretary in different ministries and departments of the Central and State Government.

The next position is the Additional Secretaries in Central and State Government. The highest rank is the Secretary/Cabinet Secretary of a Ministry or department of the Central Government or State Government or the Chief Secretary of a State Government.

Career Map

The road to becoming a ICS officer is indeed tough. You will have to first qualify in the Indian Civil Service examination.
There are two stages in the written examination - Preliminary and final exam. If you qualify in the Preliminary examination, then you will be called for the final examination.
After you clear the final examination you will be called for an interview and personality test (intended to judge your mental caliber) The interview will test your general awareness (just pick up the newspaper)
Then, get ready for training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Musorrie, India's premier research and training institute on administration and public policy

Customs Officer

The Customs Act was formulated in 1962 to control the imports through preventing illegal imports and exports of goods. Besides, all imports were subjected to an import duty aiming to protect the indigenous industries as well as to minimize the imports to secure stable exchange rate for Indian currency.

For the purpose of exercising proper surveillance over imports and exports, the Central Government established The Indian Customs and Central Excise Service (IC&CES). It is basically concerned with two main aspects, Customs and Excise. While Customs is concerned with the checking and levy of duty on taxable goods brought into the country, the Excise department is involved with the taxation of goods manufactured within the country.

This services falls Group A of the Central Services of the IAS. This means that you will be a Class I Officers. But unlike an IAS officer who belongs to a particular state, you will serve the central government wherever you may be posted.
As a customs officer you will be posted at international airports and ports. They will also serve at border and other coastal towns. You will be working in any of the following branches:

This branch is involved in the formulation of policies and procedures, their interpretation and application in the area of Customs. These have to be coordinated with the country's trade policy and other international regulations. In addition it controls and supervises all the field operations of the customs department.
Central Excise
This branch looks after the legislation, interpretation, policy and procedures relating to collection of Central Excise duties and tax on services. The operations of all Central Excise officials is supervised and controlled from here.
Personnel and Vigilance
Here the emphasis is on personnel management, which includes career planning, recruitment, transfer, promotion and training. Surveillance operations also form part of this branch.

This branch supervises and controls the anti-smuggling departments and formulates policies and procedures relating to anti-smuggling.

Customs and Excise cadres are not exclusive departments. Officers can be transferred from one to another, depending upon their experience and demands of work.


You need to be:
· Alert
· Diplomatic and discreet
· Fluent in English and local languages
· Above average at organising
· Excellent at communicating
· Extrovert, dynamic, meticulous
· A strong leader
· Aware about national and international affairs.
· Interested in human affairs
· Physically fit
But above all, you have to qualify through the Indian Civil Services examination. Very few manage to get through the ICS examination. Thereafter you can opt for different services based on your preference and ranking in the examination.
To be eligible to take the ICS test you need to a graduate in any stream with age around 21-30. Apart from direct recruitment through the Indian Civil Services Examination some posts in the junior scale are filled in by promotes from the Group 'B' of the Central Government or State Government Services.
You will then have over 24 services to choose from. You will be expected to list your options and placed according to your grades. Customs are much soft after so you need to score really well.
Once appointed, all probationary officers of the All India and Central Services undergo a compulsory foundation training course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.
Training begins in the last week of August with a foundation training course of 4 months duration for probationers of all civil services. The foundation course is followed up by specific job-oriented training, conducted separately by each service in different parts of the country. This training is partly institutional and partly hands-on. For most cadres, the training is of 12 months' duration. Customs probationers are trained at Chennai.

Job Opportunities

After probation, customs officers get posted as Assistant Commissioners (customs) at any one of the eleven Zonal offices located in major cities in India.
They are promoted in due course to
Deputy Commissioners (customs)
Additional Commissioners (customs)
Commissioners (customs)
Member (Central Board of Excise and Customs)
Chairman (Central Board of Excise and Customs)

Money & Other Benefits

Junior Officer Scale - (8000-13500)
Senior Officer Scale - (10650-15850)
Junior Administrative Grade (after nine years of services) - (12750-16500);
Selection Grade (after 14th year) - (15100-18300)
Senior Administrative Grade (15th-18th year) - (18400-22400)

Career Prospects

The best part about the government services is that on becoming full-fledged officers you will continue service until retirement. The stability in the government services is unparallel in India. Jobs in the Civil Services involve a great deal of power and authority, which is another high. Even after retirement you have numerous options working for firms involved in the import-export business where your knowledge of customs procedure and contacts will come in handy. Freelancing as a consultant is also a good option.

Income Tax Officer

Career Overview

The Apex body of the Income Tax Department is the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is manned by the officers of the Indian Revenue Service. This body is the administrative head of the Income Tax Department and functions under the Finance Ministry of India.

The Income tax department operates out of various geographical regions, which are a collection of states. For e.g. the North West region comprises of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh; the Western region consists of the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. You will be working in any of the following directorates:
Directorate of Taxes
Your immediate work will involve assessment and collection of taxes like Income Tax Act, Wealth Tax, etc. You will verify that the accounts for private individuals, companies, industries, educational institutions, etc have been audited accurately. You have to see to it that all the proper taxes as applicable have been levied and also grant exemptions wherever required by law.

Directorate of Appeals
Here you will look at all the appeals filed for a refund or reassessment. You will have to decide if the case merits an appeal. You will have to redo the entire auditing procedure. In the event that the government has deducted more tax than it is entitled to, you will have to ensure that the extra amount is refunded as soon as possible.

Directorate of Investigation
In this department you will be snooping around to find all elusive 'black money'- the term commonly associated with undeclared wealth. You will identify individuals and organisations withholding money or owning assets like cars, bungalows, etc. which are above and beyond the reach of their declared income. You will then conduct surprise raids to recover the wealth, which could be in the form of cash, jewellery or immovable property such as a house.
At the senior level, you will be working in the Central Board of Direct Taxes. Here you will plan tax legislations as per the directive of the government and over see their implementation. You will also need to come up with new and innovative schemes like VDIS (Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme) to encourage more people to pay their taxes and disclose their hidden wealth.


You need:
Above average organising abilities
Excellent communication skills
Extrovert and dynamic personality
Sound mathematical and logical skills
Strong leadership qualities
Willingness to travel and work in new places
Awareness about national and international affairs
Interest in human affairs
The Income Tax Department recruits at two levels. Direct recruitment is made to the Indian Revenue Service at the level of Assistant Commissioners of Income Tax, through an open examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Recruitment at the level of Income Tax Inspectors and below is done by the Staff Selection Commission.

To join in as an assistant commissioner of Income tax, you have to qualify through the Indian Civil Services examination.
There are two stages in the written examination - Preliminary and final exam. If you qualify in the Preliminary examination, then you will be called for the final examination.
After you clear the final examination you will be called for an interview and personality test. If you are among the select few who manage to get through the ICS examination, then on the basis of your position in the merit list and your preference you will be allotted the various services like the IAS, IPS, IFS or the IRS.
You can also join in directly as an income tax inspector. For this you need to be a graduate in any discipline and between the age group of 20-25 years

The examination for this grade consists of two parts:
The written exam consist of an objective type question paper on the topics of General Intelligence, General English, Numerical Ability and General Awareness.
This is followed by a personal interview after which the final merit list is put up.

Job Opportunities

The main training centre for Income tax officers is The National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) located at Nagpur. Officers of the IRS (Indian Revenue Service) join here after completing their initial training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Musorrie.

Here you will be provided in depth training in direct tax laws, accountancy, administrative rules and procedures and basic understanding of other relevant laws. Training will also be provided on software packages such as Lotus Smart Suite, MS-Office, Visual Fox Pro, Tally etc.
You will also be exposed to modern managerial concepts as well as skills and techniques of effective investigation.

You will then be posted in any of the different directorates in the various regions. Along with your work you will be provided refresher and advanced courses at The Direct Taxes Regional Training Institute (DTRTI) in your region. The programme here is conducted in the form of workshops, case studies, group discussion, seminars and panel discussions to encourage field officers to come up with ideas and solutions.

Money & Other Benefits

For officers recruited by staff selection commission


Income Tax Inspector /Rs 6,500-10,500

Income Tax Officer II /Rs 6,500-10,500

Income Tax Officer I /Rs 8,000-13,500

For officers recruited by union Public Service Commission (Indian Civil Service)


Asstt / Deputy Income Tax Commissioner /Rs 10,000 - 15,200

Joint/ Additional Commissioner of Income Tax /Rs 12,000 - 16,500

Commissioner of Income Tax /Rs 18,400 - 22,400

Joint/ Deputy Director of Income Tax /Rs 22,400 - 24,500

Director of Income Tax /Rs 22,400 - 26,000

The pay structure in civil services is embellished by handsome allowances. One not only enjoys the bureaucratic powers to an extent but also many privileges like free accommodation, conveyance, telephone facility, retirement benefits etc.

Career Prospects

If you join in as an Income tax inspector, you can rise up to the level of an income tax officer grade II and then to grade I.

If you join in as Assistant commissioner of Income tax, your career growth is as follows:
Joint/ Additional Commissioner of Income Tax: after 9 years of service
Commissioner of Income Tax: after 14 years of service

Joint/ Deputy Director of Income Tax: between 15 to 18 years of service

Director/Chief Commissioner of Income Tax: after 18 years of service
At the level of chief commissioner of income tax, you can get the opportunity to serve as a member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. Here you can scale up to be the chairman of this board, which is a very prestigious post.

After retirement at any level, you will be well sought-after by various industries as a consultant.

Police Officer

One thing's for sure: As a police officer you will never be short of excitement or adventure. Each day is different. The job profile of a Police Officer is rewarding, challenging, and very unpredictable. You can be sitting at your desk one moment, then a bank robbery occurs and you leap into action.
A police officer's basic tasks are keeping public order and protecting lives and property. This covers investigating crimes, patrolling streets, regulating traffic, etc. You will also be called to help in times of natural calamity like floods, cyclone, aircraft, rail accidents, etc. Let's go into the specifics of your job profile:
Maintenance of law and order.
This is the core function of a police officer. You are responsible for maintaining law and order in your area. Basically you will keep the peace during crises such as riots, bandhs, etc.

Controlling Crime
This is also one of the most important tasks of a police officer. Looking at the crime rate it seems the police force has had their hands full. You have to tackle the crimes in your area through law enforcement. Apart from that you have to investigate various crimes. You have to make sure that the criminal never goes scot-free and that they are punished.

Traffic Officers
You will mainly monitor traffic movement on streets and ensure that the traffic flows smoothly. Traffic officers prevent the violation of applied regulation and enforce traffic laws.

Detective Services
This is the most challenging part and perhaps the most dangerous as well. You will investigate crimes, by visiting the scene of crime, retrieving fingerprints, photographing, speaking to witnesses, and tracing the criminal. You will work hand in hand with the forensic department for testing evidence.


As a police officer you must be alert for any type of threat, human or otherwise. Once a crime has been committed, you will seize the reigns and engage in sleuthing that ranges from routine questioning to DNA analysis. As is evident this is not a nine to five job.

Because of the responsibilities and prerogatives that come with police work, the pressure on officers can be enormous. As a police officer, you're called upon to do everything. You need to be a social worker, a psychologist, an officer of the peace and a soldier. Being the first line of defense between criminals and their victims can be very stressful.

Police officers are expected to be in good physical shape. A candidate's insufficient height, weight, strength, or vision can lead to disqualification.
Entry into Police Force:
If you are 18 years-old and not too keen on education you can straight away become a constable. That is only if you have passed your SSC. Of course you have to clear all the physical requirements of a certain height-weight ratio.

To be eligible for the post of assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors you need a degree in any discipline and you should be between the age group of 20-25 years. There are certain concessions for women candidates when it comes to physical requirements. Rest of the parameters remain the same.

Fifty per cent of the vacancies are filled in by direct recruitment and the other half is filled in by promotions from the chief constable level. Woman officers are recruited directly to the rank of sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspectors of police.

In case of non-gazetted officers in the police service, recruitment of officers up to the rank of sub-inspectors, are carried out by the state governments, through selection tests and interviews.

The state public services commission, on the basis of combined service examinations, followed by interviews by the selection board, fill posts of gazetted officers.

IPS officers selected by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) are assigned to respective state cadres as assistant superintendents of police and at higher posts.

Job Opportunities

Of course you will work in the police department of the state. You will join as a trainee and attend the police training colleges to get intensive training in police rules, criminal law, local and special acts, as well as dealing with emergencies such as riots, fires and accidents. This will keep you busy for the first 12 months. Outdoor training includes activities such as physical training, drill, parade, riot control, cane drill, unarmed combat, obstacle course, musketry, rifle and revolver shooting, driving motor vehicles and study of elementary motor mechanisms.

After all that training you will be posted at a police station. You could start as an assistant sub-inspector and rise to the post of an inspector. In this field, promotions depend on experience and dedication to the job.

Money & Other Benefits

The pay scales for the police force are not very glamorous but enough to make ends meet. The general scales excluding additional allowances and perks approximately are:
Assistant sub-inspector: Rs 2,500 per month
Sub-inspector: Rs 3,000 per month
Inspector: Rs 3,500 per month
Assistant commissioner of police: Rs 4,000 per month

Additional perks include living quarters and a vehicle.

Career Prospects

Agreed, money is one of the biggest motivators. But if that's what you are looking at then you are looking at the wrong profession. But if you are one of those who finds great satisfaction out of serving the country and upholding the law, then your prospects are good.

There are many law enforcement tasks that the police leave to civilian personnel. Psychologists, chemists, biologists, photographers, and many other specialists can find employment with larger police departments. Although none of these specialties is essential to police work all the time, in some situations, expertise can be the key to cracking a case. Since police officers can and often do retire at an early age, many former police officers find good work providing private security for corporations or individuals.

Railway Officer

The Indian railway system spanning a length of over 62.3 thousand kilometres is the largest in Asia and ranks second in the world. It made a modest beginning in April 1853, with the first train from Bombay to Thane.
The range of operations of the Indian Railways is quite diverse and wide. The Indian Railway network comprises of nine zones, directly controlled by the Railway Board, which is at the helm of all operations. Each zone is headed by a General Manager.

The nine zones are:
* Central Zone with headquarters in Mumbai
* Eastern Zone with headquarters in Calcutta
* Northern Zone with headquarters in New Delhi
* North Eastern Zone with headquarters in Gorakhpur
* North-East frontier Zone with headquarters in Guwahati
* Southern Zone with headquarters in Chennai
* South-Central Zone with headquarters in Secundrabad
* South-Eastern Zone with headquarters in Calcutta
* Western Zone with headquarters in Mumbai

Nature of work in the Indian Railway Services (Officer Cadre Class I & II)
The Indian Railway Traffic Service
This branch of the Indian Railways looks after transportation and commercial matters pertaining to transportation. The branch is further divided into two divisions:

a) The commercial division: This division deals with all commercial responsibilities like ticket checking, catering, administration and management of stations, reservation, announcements on the platforms, etc.

b) The operations division: This division deals with controlling movement of the trains. Keeping a check on incoming and outgoing trains, detachment or attachment of wagons, etc., are the responsibilities of this division. The job requires travelling to inspect, supervise and direct the work at stations and control offices.
A career with the IRTS begins with 3 years of probationary training. The training is carried out for 2 years at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration in Mussourie, zonal training centres and incorporates on the job training. The final year of the training period is a regular appointment posting. On completion of this tenure and passing the departmental examinations the officers get a confirmed position. This is either as Assistant Commercial Superintendent (ACS) or Assistant Operations Superintendent (AOS) at the Divisional Headquarters. After 4 years of service, they are promoted to the position of Divisional Co mmercial Managers and Divisional Operations Managers.
The next promotion is again at the divisional level as Senior Divisional Commercial/Operations Managers. From here, they take charge at the Zonal level as Deputy Chief Managers (Commercial/Operations). The senior most position at the Zonal level is that of Chief Managers (Commercial/Operations). In the Railway board, there is an appointment of Member (Traffic) which is filled by a senior official from this branch.

Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
As the name suggests this branch of the Railways deals with the accounting and finance operations of the Indian Railways. Working in this branch would entail dealing with financial transactions and hence a thorough knowledge of accounting procedures and related practices would prove an asset for officers who opt for this branch of the Indian Railways.
Appointed officers of the IRAS begin their careers with two years of probationary service. This is a training phase, during which they receive training at Railway Staff College, Vadodara and National Institute of Financial Management. On completion of training and qualifying the required examinations, they are inducted at the Divisional Headquarters as Assistant Accounts Officers. The subsequent promotions are as Divisional Accounts Officers and then as Senior Divisional Accounts Officers. At the zonal level, they move up as Chief Accounts Officers/Fin ancial Advisors. The senior most position is of Member (Finance) in the Railway Board.

Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
As the name indicates, officers in this division handle all matters relating to recruitment, promotions, Training and even staff welfare, staff welfare activities, transfers, informing the finance department about the increments due to individuals, disciplinary actions and so on.
The officers of the personnel department also undergo a 3 year probationary period. Following confirmation, they go through the promotional ladder very much like the officers in other Railway cadres.
Railway Protection Service/ Railway Protection Force
This branch of the Indian Railway Services operate as other para-military forces. They are responsible for the maintenance of law and order on trains and on premises owned and used by the Indian Railways.
On recruitment as a RPF officer you will undergo training for 3 year at Baroda, Lucknow and Police training establishments. On successf ul completion of the training period you will then be appointed as Assistant Security Officers at the Divisional Level. The next promotion as Divisional Security Officer is due after 5 years of service and then as Senior Divisional Security Officer. At the zonal level, you are appointment as Deputy Inspector General and later as Inspector General. The senior most position in RPF is the appointment as Director General, who is a member of the Railway Board.
Railway Engineering Services
This is the technical side of the Indian Railways and is engaged in activities like installation, maintenance, construction and planning of railway tracks, bridges and buildings.

Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) - Officers of this branch comprise the Civil Engineers of the Indian Railways. They plan the track routes, construct railway stations, bridges, tunnels and housing colonies. Officers of this branch also work on projects undertaken in India or abroad under the consultancy organisations of the Railways (Rail India Technical and Economic Services Ltd - RITES and IRCON).
On recruitment, the officers go through 3 years of probation, very much like the officers inducted into IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, RPF. The training period is divided into eight weeks of foundation course and six weeks of induction course at the Railway Staff College at Vadodra.

Technical training is imparted at the Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) in Pune. The third year of probation is a virtual posting for on-the-job training. The recruited officer is given training in maintaining the railway segment under his charge. On confirmation, the officer is posted as Assistant Engineer in a Division. The next promotion is after two years to the post of Divisional Engineer and then to the post of Senior Divisional Engineer takes in another 5-6 years. Promotion to Zonal level comes next.
Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) - These Mechanical engineers maintain Diesel Locomotives and rolling stock of the railways. They ensure that the locomotives, wagons and carriages are in proper order for day to day running. They look after the periodic overhauling of the engines, carry out maintenance and repair of engines, wagons and carriages. In the case of an accident they are required to be present at the site to advise and supervise the recovery and removal of the damaged locomotives, carriages and wagons.
Mechanical Engineers recruitments are of two types. Graduate engineers are recruited through the Combined Engineering Services Examination and school leavers through the Special Class Railway Apprentices examination, both exams being conducted by the UPSC.
The Graduate Mechanical Engineers on recruitment go through 3 years of probation. The training during the probationary period is given at the Railway Staff College at Vadodra and Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and
Electrical Engineers (IRIMEE) at Jamalpur in Bihar. The Special Class Railway Apprentices get four years of training. The training period is divided into 6 month periods of hands on workshop training followed by 6 months of training at IRIMEE. Apprentices have to clear examinations every year for moving ahead with the training. On completion they are appointed as Assistant Mechanical Engineers in a divisi on. Future promotions are the same as in other branches.
Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE) - They look after the functioning of this very massive network and technical expertise and updating of technology for ensuring efficient functioning.
Engineers in this branch after recruitment are put on probation cum training at Railway Staff College at Vadodra and at the Railway Institute of Signal Telecommunication (IRISET) at Secunderabad. On successfully completing the probation they are trained at the Railway Staff College at Vadodra and at the Railway Institute of Signal and Telecommunication (IRISET) at Secunderabad. On successfully completing the probation they are posted as Assistant Signal and Telecommunication Engineers. Further promotions are very much the same as for other branches. The engineers form this branch are constantly updated on the latest technology through inhouse training as well as sent on courses for learning the latest technological advancem ents to institutes of technology.
Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) - Railways has a Electrification Headquarters at Allahabad for ongoing planning and coordination of developmental activities for electrification. Electrical engineers are responsible for carrying on the work taken up as part of the electrification projects as well as the maintenance and repair of Electrical Locomotives and coaches. They are responsible for power distribution networks, power generation, electrical distribution systems and for monitoring continuity of supply.
The electrical engineers on recruitment are on probation during which they receive training at the Railway Staff College in Vadodara and Railway Institute of Electrical Engineering at (IRIEEN) at Nasik. On successful completion of training they are posted as Assistant Electrical Engineers in a Division in one of the departments mentioned above. Further promotions are as in other departments.

Indian Railway Stores Service - Plan expenditure of the Indian Railways for each five year plan. This branch is responsible for bulk expenditure for procurement of materials required for maintenance, day to day functioning, developmental projects, etc. They take charge of the discarded and scrapped materials which is either recycled or disposed.
Recruitment to this department is also followed by a probationary term. The training is given at the Railway Staff College at Vadodara followed by training in various Depots, in the Headquarters of Supply and Disposal, and workshops/locosheds where materials have to be supplied or recovered for disposal.
The career profile of a Stores Controller is different from the other branches. Stores Depots are not in the administrative domain of a Division while locoshed come within the control of the Divisional Manager. Stores officers on confirmation become Assistant Controller of stores and take c harge of a depot, workshop, or locoshed. The next promotion is as Divisional Controller of Stores. At the zonal level the complete power rests with the Controller of Store.


Direct recruitment to posts and services in Class I and Class II for non-technical services - the Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS), the Indian Railway Personnel Services (IRPS), the Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS), and the Railway Police Service is made through Union Public Service Commission. To be considered for employment in the Railways, a candidate needs to pass the Combined Civil Services Examination and an allied examination for the Railways. The eligibility for UPSC exams is a graduation in any subject.

For employees who are recruited though the Combined Civil Services Examination, no particular discipline is specified at the graduate level. However for the Railway Engineering Services an engineering degree or its equivalent is a must.

Training for recruits for the Railway Engineering Services is provided at five centralised training institutes. For the selection of mechanical engineers, a Special Class Railway Apprenticeship Examination is held. The chosen candidates are given a four-year probationary training. The minimum eligibility is HSC with PCM.
On the personal front there are certain qualities and traits essential for a government employee. The one that tops the list is a willingness to work in a predetermined hierarchy. Unlike the private sector, hierarchy is adhered to quite closely in the government sector.

As the railways are always on the move so are many of its employees. So be prepared to spend time away from home and family. The railways carry an innumerable number of passengers every day. As a railway employee you will be responsible for their safety.

Other qualities required are preparedness to do monotonous and routine jobs everyday, penchant for structured and rule based activities, organising skills and an ability to keep cool head during crisis. Officers in engineering services need the aptitude of an engineer.

Job Opportunities

The Indian Railways has openings as officers in various departments discussed in the career overview section.
Apart from officers in various departments RRBs also recruit teachers, physical instructors, nurses and para-medical personnel through written tests. The pay scales are based on the requirement of posts.

Money & Other Benefits

Remuneration for group 'A' officers ranges from Rs 9,000-13,500 per month at entry level. Group 'B' employees are paid between Rs 5,500-9,000 per month.
Despite so many divisions, cadres, etc., the prospects, promotions and remuneration are at par in all the divisions. Remuneration for railway officers is fixed by the government of India and follows the pattern of all other civil services. Other benefits attached to the railways are facilities like travel allowances, educational facilities, housing facilities, pension, health care, free railway passes and so on.

Career Prospects

A job in the Indian Railways is considered quite cushy and prestigious. The Indian railways have made a remarkable progress in attaining self-sufficiency in equipment. At the beginning of the planning era, the railways were importing 23 per cent of their equipment. Imports of railway equipment have now been brought down considerably.
And for any operation of this magnitude to be performing well, continuous development is essential. In order to have an effective, economic and optimum usage of the rolling stock and other assets of the railways, many steps have been taken. Some of them are - computer based freight operation and control systems, technological improvements through World Bank assistance etc.



CIVIL SERVICES – Work, Entry & Exam

The Civil Services - once described as the Steel frame" of the government, provides  openings in the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian  Police Service and Central Services-Group A and Group B.


The Group A Services include

l  Indian Post and Telegraph Service

l  Accounts and Finance Service

l  Indian Customs and Central Excise Service

l  Indian Revenue Service

l  Indian Ordinance Factory Service

l  Indian Postal Service

l  Indian Civil Accounts Service

l  Indian Railway Traffic Service

l  Indian Railway Accounts Service

l  Indian Railway Personnel Service

l  Railway Protection Force

l  Indian Defence Estates Service

l  Indian Information Service

l  Central Trade Service

l  Central Industrial Security Force

Group B Services include

Ø  Central Secretariat Service

Ø  Railway Board Secretarial Service

Ø  Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service

Ø  Customs Appraisers Service

Ø  Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service

Ø  Posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Central Bureau of Investigation and Pondicherry


Getting into the Civil Services takes almost 20 months from the day you fill the  application forms to the day you actually  report  for the foundation course at  the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, Mussoorie. The selection for these services is made through an entrance examination conducted by the Union Public Service

Commission (UPSC) which publishes the notice of the examination every year in December. This is printed in a special supplement of the Employment News which contains all the details including the syllabus of the examination. The examination is also notified in the Gazette of India.

Every year  over 1.5 lakh candidates appear for the Preliminary Examination and finally about 700 (about 0.47%) get into one of the Civil Services depending on their merit.



Much of the work is administrative in nature and involves planning , resource management, policy formulation, implementation of policies and programmes, supervision and monitoring. There is considerable interaction with people at all levels. Responsible decision making is a vital aspect of the job as your action impacts the lives of lakhs of people. Perhaps the most appealing factor is that at a young age you are given tremendous responsibility. What is more you are exposed to a wide spectrum of issues from law and order to poverty alleviation.



           Ability to organise time and resources effectively

          Ability to communicate and interact with all kinds of people.

          Communicate clearly, orally and in writing

          Empathise with the under privileged.

          Hold and delegate authority

          Enjoy responsibility

          Great personal  integrity



Eligibility       Indian citizen Graduate in any subject.

Age              21 years to 28 years

The holder of a degree from a recognised University.

Citizens of Nepal and Bhutan can apply for all the Central Services.

The upper age limit is relaxed by the five years for certain specified categories such as SC and ST candidates.

You can take a maximim of four attempts.


This is the first stage and the objective is to select candidates for the main examination. Thus the number of candidates admitted to the main examination is twelve to thirteen times the total approximate vacancies to be filled in a year to the various services.


Pattern of Examination 


Preliminary Examination

Two papers of objective type-multiple choice questions (450 marks)  

Paper 1 General  Studies (150 marks)

Paper 2 One optional subject (300 marks)  

The candidates can select the optional subject from the following :

Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Veternary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science,  Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.

The question papers are set both in Hindi and in English . Each paper is of two hours duration.       

This Examination is generally held in the second week of June


Main  Examination

The written examination will consist of the following papers

Paper I One of the Indian Languages to be selected  from the languages  included in the Eighth schedule to the Constitution (300 marks)

Paper II English (300 marks)

Paper III Essay  (200 marks)

Paper IV & V General Studies (300  marks for each paper)

Paper VI, VII Any two optional Subjects (300 marks for each paper)



You have to opt for two subjects. The list of optional subjects for the mains exam includes more subjects than Prelims. Therefore, in addition to the subjects mentioned in the latter, the following ones are also included :

Anthropology, Commerce & Accountancy, Management, Political Science & International Relations, Literature of any one of the languages mentioned in the 8th Schedule, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Pali, Persian & Russian.

Each subject is divided into two papers of 300 marks each. Thus the total number of marks for the written examination is 2000. Each paper is of 3 hours duration. Though the papers are set in English and Hindi, the candidates have the option to answer the question papers in any one of the languages included in the 8th Schedule or in English.

Papers on Indian language and English will be of qualifying nature; the marks obtained in these papers will be not counted for ranking.

Papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional subjects are evaluated provided candidates pass in the qualifying papers.


The Main examination is generally held in November/December



Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in the main examination as may be fixed by UPSC, are called for a personality test. The number of candidates interviewed is about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview carries 300 marks with no  minimum qualifying marks. The final ranking is determined by marks obtained by the candidates in the main examination and interview.

Interview (300 marks)

Number of Attempts 4



Once you are allocated a service following your selection to the Civil Services, you begin your career as a probationer in that service for a two year training period. However, you are regarded as a full-fledged officer from the time you register at one of the service academies. Probationers get above Rs. 7500 plus in hand. Formerly, probationers of course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy at Mussoorie but now it is held at the various services institutes located in Hyderabad (Police), Nagpur (Revenue), Vadodara (Railways), Simla (Audits and Accounts) and so on. Probationers of the All India Services ie. I.A.S., I.F.S. I.P.S. are sent on a Bharat Darshan tour comprising sightseeing and field visits to facilitate a better understanding of the country. The second year of probation consists of on the job training after the successful completion of which you are confirmed as an officer of your service.


The Junior Scale is Rs. 8000-275-13500 for almost all group A services.

After completing four years of service you are promoted to the Senior Scale of your service. At this stage, the I.A.S. / I.F.S. officers have an edge of about over the central service officers. The senior scale is 10650-325-15850 for the I.A.S. / I.F.S and 10000-325-15200 for the central services. After completing nine years of service you will be promoted to the Junior Administrative Grade which is 12750-375-16500 for the I.A.S / I.F.S and Rs. 12000-375-16500 for the other services. You will be considered for the coveted Selection grade in the fourteenth year of your service. The selection grade is Rs. 15100-400-18300 for the I.A.S / I.F.S and Rs 14300-400-18300 for the others.

The best officers are eligible for the next promotion ie. the Senior Administrative Grade. This is Rs. 18400-500-22400 for almost all the services. Following this your promotion to the Higher Administrative grade will depend on your performance which is reflected in the Annual Confidential Report (ARC). However, the mandatory eligibility is a minimum of 25 years of service. About two out of ten IAS officers became Additional Secretaries with a basic scale of RS. 22400-525-24500. The next promotion is Secretary to Government of India who having put in about 30 years of service has a basic salary of Rs. 26,000 (fixed). A large number of Secretaries from the other services has risen considerably in recent years.

There are alternative avenues of promotion as well. In the State cadres and in the Central Services there are several officers who draw the salary of Secretary to the Government of India, for example the Chief Secretaries to state governments, the Members of the Railway Board, the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs, the Chief Economic Advisor, the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force, the Financial Advisor in Ministry of Defence and the Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General. The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Railway Board have higher salaries.

The highest rank is that of the Union Cabinet Secretary and he is the head of all the Civil Services. He is India’s seniormost government servant and so far only ICS / IAS officers have held this post. The Cabinet Secretary has a basic salary of Rs. 30,000/- (fixed).

It is essential to make a realistic assessment of your potential otherwise the optimal years of your life are lost in chasing an elusive target. If you have had a consistently good academic record and desire to appear you must start preparing during your graduation years by identifying the optional subjects you feel most comfortable with and familiarising yourself with the syllabus and pattern of examination. It is best to take these examinations as soon as you are eligible. Once you decide to opt for this career it is essential to consider alternative careers as a safety net and avoid the dilemma of being 28 years old and taking your fourth attempt without any other job in hand.




Parveen Talha, Competent Authority and Administrator for Forfeiture of property points out there is “job variety” in this service. You could be dealing with customs, excise or narcotics related matters. What is more “ being a uniformed service there is glamour attached to it”. She comments “the service has given me confidence and tremendous opportunities for growth”.

Custom Officers are not only posted in important coastal and border towns or in towns with international airports, they can be posted anywhere.

Your probation will be either in Chennai, Mumbai, Calcutta or Delhi and in the Junior and Senior scales you will be designated Assistant Commissioner of Customs. As Deputy Commissioner in the JAG you will move to much bigger towns. In this grade of JAG you could later become Additional Commissioner of Customs.


Your probation will be in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai or Chennai and you will be posted in industrial townships to begin with and then in big cities. In the Junior Scale you could serve as Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise. You can hold the latter rank in the Senior scale also. In the JAG you could be a Deputy or additional Commissioner of Central Excise.

Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise are officers in the Senior Administrative Grade. They wield enormous power and the jurisdiction of each normally extends over several states.

Chief Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise are placed in the next higher grade which is similar to that of Additional Secretaries.

After that you can aspire to become a member of the Central Board of Excise and Customs and later even its Chairman.

While both IRS and IC and CES Officers upto the rank of Assistant Commissioner are officially entitled to a substantial share of all the concealed wealth they locate and seize during their raids, the latter have traditionally received much bigger awards of this kind from the government.

The Central Bureau of Narcotics is located in Gwalior and headed by a Commissioner. Senior positions in the narcotics department are held by officers of the IC and CES.