IAS Exam

Indian Administrative Service Exam

What is IAS Exam?

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service (ICS) is the Civil Services Examination and one of the toughest competitive exams in India. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of officers for the All India Administrative Civil Service.


  • 1858 (as Imperial Civil Service)
  • January 26, 1950 (as Indian Administrative Service)

The Indian Administrative Service is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India. Hierarchy-wise, IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc.

Popularly known as the IAS exam, officially it is called as Civil Services Examination (CSE), which is conducted every year by the central recruiting agency, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

IAS is the permanent bureaucracy in India and forms a part of the executive branch. It is one of the three All India Services, its cadre can be employed by both the Union Government, the State Governments and public-sector undertakings.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has been termed as one of the prestigious services among the 24 government services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IFS (Forest), IP & TAFS, IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CMSE, IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, ITS, CAPF-AF to name a few.

All these examinations are conducted by UPSC in the form of Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the appropriate candidates for the jobs. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for this examination, testing their lucks and hard work to get through one of these prestigious posts.

It is important to mention that any officer selected into the IAS can be employed by Union government, state governments and/or public-sector undertakings and gets exposure in numerous job roles like the collector, head of public sector units, commissioner, chief secretary, cabinet secretary to name a few.

When on deputation outside India, the IAS officer can be engaged in inter-governmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the United Nations (UN), or its agencies and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to name a few.

It is very important for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the examination such as the UPSC  IAS syllabus, pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the registrations.

IAS Exam Highlights

Annually, the UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to shortlist the candidates for more than 20 services, such as IAS, IPS and IFS. On average, more than eight lakh candidates register for the IAS exam and around five lakh candidates appear for the examination. 

The selection of the candidates will be made through the preliminary exam, main examination and an interview/personality test. This year-long selection process will begin in the month of June and conclude in April. The final merit list for the CSE will be released in May.

Exam Civil Services Examination
Exam level National
Organising body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam type  Pen and paper-based (offline)
Number of services  24
Number of attempts  6 attempts
Number of Vacancies  Approximately 900
Admit card  online
Expected registrations More than 8 lakh

IAS Prelims 2021: No Extra Attempt For Aspirants Who Missed Exam Due To COVID

Big news for Civil Services aspirants! The Central Government has decided not to grant an extra attempt to Civil Services' aspirants, who could not appear for the Preliminary exam held in October last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju said, "This is not the exam where you prepare at the last minutes. People prepare for years together."

The SC bench comprises of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said, "We appreciate your stand."

IAS Prelims 2021 COVID-19 Guidelines 

The UPSC has released the important instructions for candidates while appearing for IAS Preliminary 2020 examination amid Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The sources suggest that the Commission is likely to continue the same guidelines to appear for the exam. Candidates should wear a face mask or cover, carry their own hand sanitiser and following the social distancing norms at the exam centre. Aspirants can download UPSC IAS Prelims 2021 (COVID-19) exam guidelines here.  

Civil Services Prelims 2021 Exam Date 

The UPSC will be conducting the IAS Prelims 2021 exam in pen and paper mode on June 27. Candidates should note that the UPSC Civil Services 2021 exam date is based on the calendar issued in August.

UPSC IAS Notification 2021

The UPSC will be releasing the Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2021 notification on February 10, 2021. Candidates who are aiming for the All India Services along with other services can apply online between February 10 and March 2, 2021. The CSE notification is likely to be released for more than 800 vacancies which include 24 vacancies for persons with benchmark disability category. Aspirants are advised to check the official notification for all the details. 

Click here to download UPSC IAS notification 2021

UPSC IAS Exam 2021 Important Dates  

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification will be released on February 10, 2021. Candidates can apply online until March 2, 2021. The preliminary exam will be held on May 31 and Main exam in the month of September.

Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification  February 10, 2021
IAS online application form February 10 to March 2, 2021
IAS Preliminary admit card  2nd week of May 
IAS Prelims exam date  June 27, 2021 
IAS Preliminary result  August 2021 
IAS Main exam date  September 17, 2021 (5 days)
IAS Main exam result  November/ December 2021
IAS personality test/ interview  February/ March 2022
IAS final result  April 2022

IAS 2021 Number Of Vacancies (tentative)

The total number of vacancies announced in the official notification is approximately 896, out of which 39 vacancies are reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability Category. Aspirants should note that the list was prepared based on the previous year. The vacancies will be updated after the official notification. 

Total number of vacancies  796 (including 24 reserved vacancies)
Total reserved vacancies  24
Blindness and low vision 3
Deaf and hard of hearing 9
Locomotor disability 8
Multiple disabilities 4

Candidates have to note that the final number of vacancies may change after getting the firm number of vacancies from the Cadre Controlling Authorities. 

IAS Application Form 2021

The UPSC will be activating the IAS application form 2021 window on February 10. Interested candidates who meet all the eligibility conditions set by the Commission can register for IAS exam until March 2, 2021. 

Aspirants need to complete the application form of IAS with great attention. A single mistake in IAS application form 2021 would lead aspirants to wait for one more year. Hence, we suggest candidates refer our UPSC online application form 2021 page for detailed steps. 

IAS Online Application Form 2021 Steps 

  • Visit the official site of UPSC – www.upsc.gov.in 
  • Go to ''Apply Online'' tab. 
  • Click on ''Online Application for Various Examinations'' 
  • Find the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 
  • Start IAS registration with Part-I. 
  • Fill-up the personal details, educational qualification and address. 
  • Pay the prescribed application fee (Rs 100)
  • Choose the exam centre 
  • Upload the photo, sign and photo identity card. 
  • Accept the declaration. 
  • Check the complete details and submit. 
  • Take a printout of IAS application form for future reference. 

UPSC IAS Main Exam Dates 2021 (Tentative)

The UPSC will release the Civil Services Main Exam dates on its official website. Aspirants who have passed with flying colours in Preliminary Exam are only eligible to appear for the Main Examination. The Commission conducts the Main Examination for a total of five days in the month of September. Candidates are advised to explore the Civil Services Main Exam dates 2021. 


Forenoon Session

(9.00 AM to 12.00 Noon)

Afternoon Session

(2.00 PM to 5.00 PM)

September 17, 2021




No Paper 

September 18, 2021



General Studies‐I


General Studies‐II

January 19, 2021



General Studies‐III


General Studies‐IV

January 25, 2021



Indian Language



January 26, 2021



Optional Paper-I


Optional Paper-II

Being an IAS Officer

An IAS officer is given administrative command of an entire district as a District Collector. IAS officers also represent the Government of India at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

Given below is the detailed scenario like eligibility criteria, roles & responsibilities, etc. for the upcoming Civil Services Examination 2020:

  • Main Syllabus

  • Prelims Syllabus


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Nationality:

    • Candidate must be a citizen of India
    • Candidate must be a citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
    • Candidate must be a Tibetan Refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to be settled permanently in India
    • Candidate must be person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India
  2. Educational Qualification:

    Candidate applying for the Civil Services 2021 exam is required to fulfil the following criteria:

    • Candidate must hold a Bachelor's Degree from any of the recognized universities
    • Candidates who have appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to appear for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination. Such candidates have to produce proof of passing the said examination along with the application for the Main Examination
    • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government or its equivalent are also eligible to apply
    • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned University that they have passed the final professional medical examination
  3. Age Limit :

    A candidate should be a minimum of 21 years and maximum 32 years old as on August 01, 2020. But he/she must have been born not earlier than August 02, 1988 and not later than August 01, 1999. Necessary action will take to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to various services.

    The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxable for the following candidates:

    • 5 Years - Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST)
    • 3 Years - Other Backward Classes (OBC)
    • 3 Years - Defence Services personnel
    • 5 Years - ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least 5 years Military Service as on August 01, 2020.
    • 5 Years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs
    • 10 Years - Blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons
    • 5 Years -  In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1st August, 2019 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
  4. Number of attempts:

    Restriction on the maximum number of attempts is effective since 1984:

    • For General Candidates: 6 attempts (Up to 32 Years)
    • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates (SC/ST): No Limits (Up to 37 Years)
    • Other Backward Classes (OBC): 9 attempts (Up to 35 Years)
    • Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST

Roles and Responsibilities

The role of IAS officers is very venerable, demands a great deal of responsibility and reverence. It is also important that an officer is physically and mentally fit and healthy to handle the work pressure without giving in. The following are the roles and responsibilities that an IAS officer is deputed:

  • Handling affairs of government that involve framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the concerned Minister
  • Implementing policies through supervision and also traveling to the places where the approved policies will be implemented
  • Implementing policies comprises disbursement of funds through personal supervision
  • Answerable to the Parliament and State Legislatures for any violation of rules while on duty
  • Functions and responsibilities differ at different levels of career.
  • Initially, IAS officers join the state administration at the sub-divisional level, resuming their services as sub-divisional magistrates, and look after law and order, general administration and development work in the area assigned to them
  • The post of the District Officer also known as District Magistrate, District Collector or Deputy Commissioner is the highly respected and responsible post the IAS officers enjoy
  • At the district level, an IAS officer deals with district affairs, including implementation of developmental programs
  • The officers may also be appointed in the State Secretariat or they may serve as Heads of Departments or in Public Sector Undertakings
  • They may serve in different positions from the State to the Centre and vice versa. This happens through deputation.
  • At the Centre, IAS officers serve at the highest position as the Cabinet Secretaries, Secretaries/Additional Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Directors, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries. They are appointed to these posts based on seniority.
  • At the Centre, the IAS officers play a key role in formulation and implementation of policies related to a particular area; for instance, finance, commerce, etc.
  • During formulation of a policy and decision making, IAS officers serving at different levels i.e. joint secretary, deputy secretary give their valuable inputs
  • The policy takes its final shape through a final decision the minister concerned or the cabinet, depending on the seriousness of the situation
IAS 2021 Notification To Be Held On Declared Schedule

The UPSC has ended the rumours regarding the postponement of the IAS 2021 Prelims exam. The Commission is likely to release the Civil Services notification 2021 soon.

The official site reads, "CS(P)E-2021 (including IFoS(P)E-2021) shall be conducted as per already declared schedule on 27.06.2021. Detailed Notifications for CSE-2021 and IFoSE-2021 shall be published in due course."

IAS Prelims 2021 exam will be held on June 27. The admit cards will be released at least 10 days before the exam. 

11 February 2021
No Extra Attempt For Aspirants: Centre Tells Supreme Court

The Central Government has decided to not give an extra attempt to those candidates who missed the IAS Prelims exam 2020 held in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, who appeared on behalf of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has announced.  IAS Preliminary exam 2021 will be held on June 27. The notification will be released on February 10, 2021. 

9 February 2021
IAS 2019: Reserved List And Marks of Recommended Candidates Released

The UPSC has released the marks of candidates recommended in the reserve list in IAS Main examination 2019. Candidates can check the marks list on the official website at upsc.gov.in.

Earlier, the UPSC has released IAS reserve list 2019 on January 5 and recommended a total of 89 candidates for the Civil Services taking it to the total number of recommended candidates to 918.

The Commission is all set to release the IAS 2021 notification on February 10.

3 February 2021
No Extra Attempt For IAS Aspirants: Centre Tells Supreme Court

The Central Government has decided to not give an extra attempt to those candidates who missed the IAS Prelims exam 2020 held in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing on behalf of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said, "We are not ready to give one more chance. Last night I received instruction that we are not agreeable"

IAS Preliminary exam 2021 will be held on June 27. The notification will be released on February 10, 2021. 

23 January 2021
IAS 2019 Revised Result Declared

The UPSC has released the IAS 2019 reserve list. Candidates can check the list on the official site of UPSC on upsc.gov.in. A total of 829 candidates were shortlisted for the exam. A total of 89 candidates have been recommended in the IAS 2019 merit list which includes 73 General, 14 OBC, 01 EWS, and 01 SC.

The official notice reads, "The result of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2019 was declared vide Press  Note dated 04.08.2020 recommending 829 candidates in order of merit for appointment to IAS, IFS, IPS and Central Services Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ against 927 vacancies."

As per the sources, four candidates are provisional and the result of one candidate has been kept withheld. 

5 January 2021
IAS Mains 2020 Admit Card Released
IAS Mains 2020 To Be Held From January 8 To 17
IAS Mains 2020 DAF-I Application Form Released
IAS Prelims 2020 Result Declared
IAS Upper Age Limit Not Reduced: PIB Fact Check
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