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What is UPSC? | History, Functions, Exams conducted, Eligibility Criteria, Different Roles and Responsibilities

Updated: Feb 19

The UPSC, established as a Constitutional Body in accordance with Article 315-323, Part XIV, Chapter II of the Constitution of India, is tasked with fulfilling its duties, functions, and obligations outlined in Article 320. It administers a range of examinations following the examination rules notified by the Government of India. The objective is to conduct these examinations in a just, fair, and impartial manner, facilitating a merit-based selection and recommendation of candidates for diverse Group A and Group B Services within the Government of India.


Union Public Service Commission
Union Public Service Commission

Full Form of UPSC


The full form of UPSC is the Union Public Service Commission. Each year, numerous UPSC exam notifications are issued, attracting lakhs of aspirants vying for thousands of vacancies. Regarded as one of the most challenging examinations in India, it is responsible for recruiting candidates for central government posts.


History Of UPSC


In this section we will briefly see how UPSC came into existence


Civil Servants for the East India Company were initially nominated by the Directors and trained at Haileybury College in London before being sent to India. In 1854, Lord Macaulay's Report recommended the shift to a merit-based Civil Service, leading to the establishment of a Civil Service Commission in London in the same year. The first Indian, Shri Satyendranath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindranath Tagore succeeded in 1864 and despite petitions, simultaneous exams in India were only introduced after World War I and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms in 1922.


In India the Public Service Commission was set up on October 1, 1926 for the first time. It consisted of four Members in addition to the Chairman. Sir Ross Barker, a member of the Home Civil Service of the United Kingdom was the first Chairman of the Commission. The Federal Public Service Commission became the Union Public Service Commission on January 26, 1950, the day the Indian Constitution went into effect.


Functions of UPSC


The responsibilities of the Commission, as outlined in Article 320 of the Constitution, include:

  1. Organizing examinations for the recruitment to Union services.

  2. Conducting direct recruitment through selection processes involving interviews.

  3. Appointing officers through promotion, deputation, or absorption.

  4. Formulating and revising Recruitment Rules for diverse government services and positions.

  5. Addressing disciplinary matters concerning various Civil Services.

  6. Providing advice to the Government on issues referred to the Commission by the President of India.


Exams Conducted by UPSC


The UPSC administers a range of examinations related to Civil Services, Defence Services, Engineering Services, and Medical Services. , with the Civil Services Examination (CSE) standing out as one of the most esteemed in India. Conducted annually, the CSE serves as a pathway to prestigious services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and various other central services.

  1. Civil Services Examination (CSE): This is one of the most well-known UPSC exams and is conducted to recruit candidates for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and other central services.

  2. Indian Forest Service (IFS) Examination: This examination is conducted in conjunction with the Civil Services Examination for recruitment to the Indian Forest Service.

  3. Engineering Services Examination (ESE): Also known as the Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam, it recruits engineers for various services such as the Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Central Engineering Service, etc.

  4. Combined Medical Services Examination (CMS): This exam is for the recruitment of medical officers in various organizations of the Central Government.

  5. Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS): Conducted for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers' Training Academy.

  6. National Defence Academy (NDA) Examination: For admission to the Army, Navy, and Air Force wings of the NDA.

  7. Naval Academy Examination: Conducted for admission to the Indian Naval Academy through the NDA & NA Examination.

  8. Special Class Railway Apprentices (SCRA) Examination: For recruitment of officers in the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers.

  9. Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Examination (CGSE): For recruitment of Geologist, Geophysicist and Chemist Group 'A' in GSI and Junior Hydro-geologist (Scientist 'B'), Group 'A' for Central Ground Water Board.

  10. Indian Economic Service Examination (IES): To recruit candidates for various specialized positions in the Union Government departments. The IES is a Central Civil Service and the candidates can be posted anywhere across the nation.

  11. Central Armed Police Forces (ACs) Examination: To recruit aspiring candidates for the position of Assistant Commandant in armed police forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)


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UPSC Posts


There are total of 24 posts filled through Civil Service Examination (CSE) conducted by Union Public Service Commission. These are divided into 3 categories.

List of UPSC Civil Services Post
List of UPSC Civil Services Post

  1. All India Civil Services

    1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

    2. Indian Police Service (IPS)

    3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

  2. Group ‘A’ Civil Services

    1. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

    2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)

    3. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

    4. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)

    5. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

    6. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

    7. Indian Information Service (IIS)

    8. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

    9. Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)

    10. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)

    11. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)

    12. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

    13. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)

    14. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

    15. Indian Trade Service (ITS)

    16. Railway Protection Force (RPF)

  3. Group ‘B’ Civil Services

    1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service

    2. DANICS

    3. DANIPS

    4. Pondicherry Civil Service

    5. Pondicherry Police Service


Brief details on the UPSC posts that we listed above are given below.

Service
Responsibilities
Eligibility Criteria
Salary Range

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Formulating and executing policies, overseeing governance at different levels, spearheading public service and development endeavors, managing crises and disaster responses, representing the government in district and state capacities, and steering administrative functions within government departments.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Prescribed age limit must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,50,000

Indian Police Service (IPS)

Enforcing laws and preventing crime, ensuring public order and safety, conducting investigations into criminal activities, providing leadership within the police department, engaging in counter-terrorism efforts and gathering intelligence, and effectively managing law and order situations.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India

  • Minimum age of 21 years, maximum age varies, depending on category and benchmark physical disability

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

  • Officers already appointed to the IAS or IFS aren’t eligible.

  • Women must have a minimum height of 150cm, while men must meet a minimum height requirement of 165cm. The minimum chest girth for women is 84cm, and for men, it is 79cm. Myopia should not exceed minus 4.00D, and hypermetropia should not exceed plus 4.00D.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

Conserving and managing forests, safeguarding biodiversity, overseeing wildlife management, preserving ecosystems, promoting afforestation, conducting wildlife enforcement and anti-poaching operations, fostering environmental sustainability, contributing to rural development, and engaging in research and planning for optimal utilization of forest resources.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Prescribed age limit must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

Conducting diplomacy and managing international relations, serving as India's representative in foreign nations, engaging in negotiations for treaties and agreements, addressing political, economic, and cultural matters, advocating for Indian interests on a global scale, and providing consular services to Indian citizens residing abroad.


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,50,000

Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)

Conducting audits and managing the accounting processes for government departments and agencies, ensuring financial integrity, propriety, and transparency.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

Designing processes, systems, and documentation for government accounts at both the Union of India and state levels. Formulating and streamlining manuals, rules, and procedures in alignment with the Government Accounting Rules of 1990 for the accounting of receipts and payments. Generating monthly and annual account statements, conducting regular audits of revenue, deficits, and borrowings. Overseeing the monitoring and reconciliation of cash balances between the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56100 - INR 2,50,000

Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)

Offering legal counsel to government departments and public sector undertakings, drafting legal documents, and representing them in court proceedings.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University, preferably in the fields of Law, Accounts or Finance.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,24,100

Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

Overseeing the financial management of the defense forces, ensuring adherence to rules and regulations, and maintaining financial discipline.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

Overseeing the management of defense lands and administering Cantonment Boards, which involves the development of Cantonments to ensure healthcare, quality education, and social welfare for all residents, including the elderly, differently-abled, and underprivileged sections of society. Responsibilities encompass conducting regular surveys and audits of defense lands, acquiring properties for defense purposes, maintaining digitized land records, preventing encroachments, disposing of defense land, addressing litigation on ownership, and providing advice to the Defense Ministry on Cantonments and defense land matters.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Information Service (IIS)

Overseeing and coordinating the Press Information Bureau's functions, managing government publicity efforts, and supervising news service units like DD News and All India Radio. Directing press advertising and visual campaigns to disseminate government policies and activities. Monitoring legal aspects of newspaper titles, registration, and circulation. Planning and executing government media strategies. Facilitating international postings, particularly in collaboration with Prasar Bharati. IIS officers may undertake deputation to other departments or ministries, and they can also serve as co-terminus Personal Secretaries in the Central Government.


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University, preferably in the fields of journalism, mass communication, or public relations.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

IOFS officers at ordnance factories play pivotal roles in product research, development, production planning, quality control, project and supply management, materials management, labor welfare, personnel management, industrial relations, and safety. They extend their expertise to managerial positions in PSUs and SEZs. Additionally, these officers serve as secretaries and advisors to Union Cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister, and the President of India. They may transition into roles as scientists for DRDO and can be commissioned as officers in the armed forces for a four-year term.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold bachelor's degree in Engineering/Technology from a recognized university for IOFS. It would be great if you also have a specialization in Industrial Management or Production Management in IOFS.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)

Assessing and collecting License Fees and Spectrum usage charges, overseeing spectrum auctions, formulating policies, managing finances, conducting internal audits, and handling accounting and pensions in the telecom and postal departments, including MTNL and BSNL.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Postal Service (IPoS)

Supervising and administering divisional postal services, overseeing Mail and Post offices, optimizing and expanding the postal network, managing technology, finances, and materials. Marketing India Post services, including Banking and Insurance, handling Public Grievance Redressal System, and managing customer relations. Coordinating with government agencies like Police and District Administration. Additionally, overseeing personnel management within the division.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)

Overseeing Indian Railways' financial accounts, providing financial counsel to the executive, scrutinizing investment and expenditure proposals, preparing budgets, conducting periodic financial reviews, fundraising, and funds management. Managing accounts, bookkeeping, stock inventory control, settling claims, recovering dues, and engaging in management accounting for railways. IRAS officers are also deputed to various PSUs for finance portfolios.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 1,82,200

Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

The roles of IRPS officers encompass Personnel Management, covering aspects such as manpower planning, recruitment, training, seniority, promotions, transfers, postings, reservations, payments, wages, salary administration, and final settlements. Additionally, they are tasked with managing Industrial Relations, ensuring harmonious workplace dynamics, fostering workers' participation in management, overseeing welfare initiatives, and addressing grievances. Moreover, their responsibilities extend to legal and court matters, involving legal tasks, the enforcement of labor laws, and regulation of working hours.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

  • Applicants are required to adhere to the physical criteria established by the Indian Railways, encompassing aspects such as height, weight, and eyesight. For precise information, refer to the official recruitment notifications.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,24,400

Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)

As an IRTS officer, your duties involve orchestrating and overseeing train operations for optimal efficiency, including resource allocation and coordination among departments. You'll be responsible for ensuring punctuality through monitoring and corrective measures, enforcing safety protocols, collaborating with various entities for smooth operations, and conducting inspections to ensure regulatory compliance.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

  • Male candidates should have a minimum height of 152 cm. Female candidates should have a minimum height of 145 cm. Male candidates must also have a chest expansion of 5 cm.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,18,200

Indian Revenue Service (IRS)


The IRS consists of two services: IRS (IT) and IRS (C&IT). IRS (IT) responsibilities encompass policy formulation for tax reforms, addressing issues related to the investigation of tax evasion, and administering direct tax policies. On the other hand, IRS (C&IT) focuses on formulating and enforcing policies related to GST, overseeing matters pertaining to Customs and Narcotics, and preventing smuggling activities.


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Indian Trade Service (ITS)

Indian Trade Service (ITS) officers in Group 'A' play crucial roles in formulating and executing trade policies, participating in international trade negotiations, conducting market research, and resolving trade disputes. They actively promote Indian exports through various initiatives, provide market intelligence, and engage in commercial diplomacy to strengthen international trade relationships and facilitate global expansion for Indian companies.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,18,200

Railway Protection Force (RPF) Constable

Ensure passenger peace and protection throughout railway journeys, taking prompt action in response to any crimes or incidents. Prioritize passenger comfort, safeguard railway properties, and proactively collect vital information while addressing security concerns.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • The age limit of RPF Constable candidates is a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 25 years.

  • Candidates applying for the Constable post in the RPF must have a minimum educational qualification of Class 10.

  • There will be age relaxation for all the candidates who are applying for RPF Constable and Sub Inspector for reserved categories.

  • The commission establishes the RPF Physical Eligibility criteria for candidates appearing in the Constable and SI exams. This includes specific physical standards such as height and chest expansion (applicable to male candidates) for RPF Constable and SI positions.

INR 26, 200 – INR 32, 030

Railway Protection Force (RPF) Sub Inspector

They conduct investigations into railway-related crimes, apprehend offenders, interrogate individuals involved, obtain statements from witnesses, and compile evidence and case files for court proceedings. Additionally, they safeguard railway tracks and signaling equipment.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • The age limit of RPF SI candidates should be a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 years.

  • The educational qualification eligibility for candidates applying for the RPF Sub Inspector post requires a graduation-level qualification.

  • There will be age relaxation for all the candidates who are applying for RPF Constable and Sub Inspector for reserved categories.

INR 43, 300 – INR 52, 030

Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service

Supporting higher authorities in administrative and operational functions for the armed forces' seamless operation. Managing correspondence, reports, and data to uphold accurate records and facilitate efficient communication. Conducting research and analysis to offer insights for decision-making. Coordinating with various armed forces units for cohesive efforts and efficient operations. Contributing expertise to policy formulation, actively participating in meetings, and liaising with external agencies for effective partnerships.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 30years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 44,900 - INR 1,42,400

DANICS

This service serves as a precursor to the Indian Administrative Service and operates under the Government of India with the full name Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services. The primary responsibility of officers initially assigned to this cadre is the role of Assistant Collector (District Administration, Delhi). These officers oversee administrative functions in Delhi and other Union Territories.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,18,200

DANIPS

Officers play a pivotal role in policymaking across sectors like education, health, and infrastructure. They actively implement government schemes and programs, ensuring effective delivery to the public. Additionally, officers are crucial in maintaining law and order, overseeing revenue administration, and managing disasters within their respective regions.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Pondicherry Civil Service

Group 'B' officers actively contribute to the successful implementation of government policies and programs, supporting various development schemes. They play a crucial role in maintaining law and order, collaborating with law enforcement to prevent disturbances. Additionally, these officers investigate and enforce regulations, ensuring the effective delivery of public services by working with different government departments. Managing administrative tasks and resources, they oversee day-to-day operations, public resources, and transparent utilization of funds. Furthermore, Group 'B' officers actively participate in decision-making processes, providing valuable insights for the development of effective strategies in the Union Territory.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,25,000

Pondicherry Police Service

The Pondicherry Police Service, Group 'B,' is integral to our safety, preserving law and order for our well-being. Their core responsibility involves upholding regulations to create a secure environment. Group 'B' officers prevent and investigate crimes, manage traffic for safety, oversee public gatherings, conduct regular patrols, and assist the public in resolving disputes. Additionally, they diligently collect evidence and prepare accurate reports for legal proceedings.

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  • Candidate age must be between 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

  • Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

INR 56,100 - INR 2,09,200

Note : Applicants should note that the information provided above regarding salary is an approximate value and may undergo revisions over time due to changes in officers' experience, seniority, and assigned work locations.


Conclusion


In summary, the UPSC, with its rich history, multifaceted functions, and diverse range of exams, stands as a key institution in India's administrative framework. The stringent eligibility criteria ensure a pool of competent individuals, ready to take on varied roles and responsibilities in shaping the nation's governance. As a beacon of meritocracy, the UPSC continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future leadership of India.


This article has delved into the historical perspective of the UPSC, elucidating the diverse range of positions within the organization, along with their corresponding eligibility criteria and salary brackets. Subsequent articles in this series will comprehensively cover additional topics pertinent to UPSC preparation, offering valuable insights and guidance for aspirants.


Note: Ready to tackle the UPSC exam? Try UPSC Unlimited, the best app out there! It's got all the NCERT syllabus and book questions you need to succeed. With simple study materials and fun quizzes, it's perfect for everyone, whether you're just starting or you've been studying for a while. Download UPSC Unlimited now and get ready to ace your UPSC exam!


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