Role of Civil Servants | IAS Officers, IPS Officers, IFS Officers - What Do They Do?

UPSC is one of the preferred career choices after graduation because of its perks and benefits and the kind of job role it entails. The roles and responsibilities of Civil Servants in India are very dynamic and interesting. In this article, we have discussed the roles and responsibilities of IAS Officers, IPS Officers and IFS Officers.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer

Typically, an IAS officer is involved in:

  • Hands-on involvement in the formulation of government policy in consultation with the minister in charge of the concerned ministry.

  • Supervising the implementation of the policy

  • Day to day running of the concerned ministry.

  • Travel is a necessary aspect of a civil servant’s life - both for policy formulation as well as for supervision of implementation.Once you become an IAS officer, you are assigned to a cadre and your career starts in the state administration as a sub divisional magistrate (SDM).

  • An SDM is responsible for virtually aspects of government services in of city/zone. The areas under an SDM include law and order, general administration, and developmental work.

  • There is a probationary period in the beginning of one’s career, and after that officers move on to the senior scale and can eventually reach the post of Under Secretary or Chief Secretary.

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Indian Police Service (IPS) officer

Typically, an IPS officer is involved in

  • Internal security

  • Public safety

  • Law and order

  • The first posting of an IPS officer is as the Deputy Superintendent of Police, and the officer can then rise through the ranks of the State Police to become Commissioner of Police. Alternatively, an IPS officer can also work in national government agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and can become the Inspector General of such a specialised force. Senior IPS officers also get placed in Cabinet Secretariat or at senior levels in other protective forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer

The IFS is among the most coveted posts for those with a flair for communication and diplomacy. An IFS officer is expected to represent India in a variety of fora in India as well as abroad. IFS officers man the embassies of the government of India all over the world. They are involved in bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison as well as a whole host of multilateral issues.

Typically, an IFS officer is expected to:

  • Represent India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN

  • Promote friendly relations with the receiving state and its people, including Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin

  • Report accurately on developments in the country of posting that are likely to influence the formulation of India’s policies

  • Negotiate agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state

  • Extend consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad

  • In India, the Ministry of External Affairs is where an IFS officer can expect to be posted where he will be responsible for all aspects of external relations of the country. The IFS imparts a very rigorous and thorough training to its officers starting with a probationary period with intensive training for.

These are largely the roles and responsibilities of IAS Officers, IPS Officers and IFS officers. You can read more about the life of a Civil Servant in the linked article. 

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