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Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

IAS Exam Information

  • The Civil Services Mains examination is in written format and aims to test the academic talent and the ability of the candidate to present the answers in a clear and coherent manner. The Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth and understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. Revised UPSC Exam Pattern 2016
  • The UPSC has revised the pattern of Civil Services Main examination.
  • Now there are 7 + 2 = 9 papers to be answered in the main examination. All of them are of descriptive type. There are two qualifying papers 1) any modern Indian language of 300 marks 2) English of 300 marks. The marks of these two papers will not be counted in the merit list of the main examination.
  • The candidate is allowed to pick any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium for writing the mains examination.
  • According to the new pattern there are "FOUR" General Studies paper each comprising of 250 Marks with a total of 1000 Marks are made compulsory. The scope of the syllabus of General Studies papers are of degree level.
  • There is only "ONE" optional subject to choose from the list of subjects. It comprises of two papers each of 300 marks. So the optional paper has total 600 marks. Candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject "without the condition of having the same at graduation level.” The scope of the syllabus of optional paper is higher than the bachelor's degree but lower than the master's level.
  • Interview/Personality Test is of 275 Marks. Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.
  • The total mark of the written examination is 1750 Marks.
  • The Interview/Personality Test will be of 275 marks.
  • The Grand Total 2025 Marks

IAS Exam Eligibility

  1. Academic Eligibility
    • The candidate must hold a PASS degree from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University, under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
    • Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the final examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to apply for the Preliminary Examination.
    • All such candidates who qualify the Prelims examination must produce a proof of Pass Bachelor Degree to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination. They have attack this Degree along with their application for the Main Examinations.
    • The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he / she have passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission. The criteria may apply to candidates having bachelor's degree from any reputed foreign university.
    • Candidates with professional and technical bachelor's degrees that are recognised by the Government are also eligible to apply eg MBBS, BE etc.
    • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However they must submit along with their Main Examination application, a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination. At the Interview stage they must then produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.
  2. Restrictions on applying for the Civil Services examination
    • A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on the results of an earlier examination is NOT eligible to take this examination again. In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall NOT be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Mains) Examination, notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination.
    • Also provided that if such a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall NOT be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination viz. Civil Services Examination.
  3. Restrictions relaxed on applying for the Civil Services examination
    • The candidates who are appointed to other services barring the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on the results of an earlier examination are eligible to take this examination again.
  4. Age limits

    A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years.

    The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxed

    • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST).
    • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates
    • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st December, 1989
    • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.
    • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service and have been released on completion of assignment otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or on invalidment.
    • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months' notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment
    • Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.

    UPSC not to relax upper age limit

    NOTE I:

    Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(ii) (b) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.

    NOTE II:

    The term ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

    NOTE III:

    The age concession under para 3(ii) (b) (v) and (vi) will not be admissible to Ex Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own request.

    NOTE IV:

    Notwithstanding the provision of age-relaxation under para 3 (ii) (b) (vii) above, a physically disabled candidate will be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/she (after such physical examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government.

  5. Nationality

    The candidate must be a citizen of India to be eligible for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), for other services, a candidate must be either:

    • a citizen of India,
    • or a subject of Nepal,
    • or a subject of Bhutan,
    • or a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India,
    • or a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

    Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (c), (d), (e) and (f) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

    Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (c), (d) (e) and (f) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service

    Note: A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary is eligible to take the examination but the offer of appointment may be given to only those candidates who have submitted the necessary eligibility certificate issued to him/her by the Government of India.

  6. Number of Attempts and Age Limit The UPSC has raised the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants of the Civil Service Examination with effect from 2015. The upper age limit will be 32 years for the unreserved (general) category with 6 attempts. It will be 35 years for OBC candidates with 9 attempts; and will be 37 years for SC/ST candidates with unlimited number of attempts. For physically handicapped candidates the age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively while the number of attempts is 9 for General and OBC and unlimited for SC/SC category.

IAS Prelims Exam Syllabus

There are 2 papers in Prelims exam: General Studies and Aptitude

General Studies

  1. Current events of national and international importance
  2. History of India and Indian national movement
  3. Indian and World Geography- physical, social, economic geography of India and the world
  4. Indian Polity and governance constitution, political system, panchayati raj, public policy, Rights issues, etc.
  5. Economic and social development sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.
  6. General issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity and climate change-that donot require subject specialization
  7. General science.

Aptitude Syllabus

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)

There are 80 questions carrying 200 marks. Each question carries 2.5 marks. There is a penalty of 33% marks or 0.83 marks for every wrong answer. Though decision making and problem solving section doesn’t have negative marking.

IAS Main Exam Syllabus

The written examination will consist of the following papers:

Paper A (Modern Indian language -300 Marks and Passing mandatory)

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essay
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of High School level and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for final ranking.

Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

Paper B ( English - 300 marks and Passing mandatory)

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates' ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essay.

Paper I

Essay(250 Marks):To be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice. Candidate is required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They are expected to keep their thoughts closely to the subject and arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and be concise. Credit will be given to effective and coherent expression.

Paper II

General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  • The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world's physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Paper III

    General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks

    • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
    • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
    • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
    • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
    • Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
    • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
    • Salient features of the Representation of People's Act.
    • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
    • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
    • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
    • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
    • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
    • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
    • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
    • Role of civil services in a democracy.
    • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
    • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
    • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
    • Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

    Paper IV

    General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250 Marks

    • Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
    • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
    • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
    • Government Budgeting.
    • Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
    • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
    • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
    • Land reforms in India.
    • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
    • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
    • Investment models.
    • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
    • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
    • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
    • Disaster and disaster management.
    • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
    • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
    • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
    • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
    • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

    Paper V

    General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250 Marks

    • This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
    • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
    • Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
    • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
    • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
    • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
    • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
    • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
    • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen's
    • Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
    • Case Studies on above issues.

        Paper VI

        Optional Subject - Paper I - 250 Marks

        Paper VII

        Optional Subject - Paper II - 250 Marks

        Note:Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

        • History
        • Geography
        • Economics
        • Sociology
        • Public Administration
        • Philosophy
        • Psychology
        • Political Science
        • Agriculture
        • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
        • Anthropology
        • Botany
        • Chemistry
        • Civil Engineering
        • Commerce
        • Electrical Engineering
        • Geology
        • Law
        • Mathematics
        • Management
        • Mechanical Engineering
        • Medical Science
        • Physics
        • Statistics
        • Zoology
        • Literature of any one of the following languages:
          1. Assamese
          2. Bengali
          3. Bodo
          4. Dogri
          5. Gujarati
          6. Hindi
          7. Kannada
          8. Kashmiri
          9. Konkani
          10. Maithili
          11. Malayalam
          12. Manipuri
          13. Marathi
          14. Nepali
          15. Oriya
          16. Punjabi
          17. Sanskrit
          18. Santhali
          19. Sindhi
          20. Tamil
          21. Telugu
          22. Urdu
          23. English.

IAS Interview Syllabus

  • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
  • The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.

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