Ministers and people’s representatives (MLAs and MPs) are part of that structure of the government which decides ‘What needs to be done for the welfare of the people and the nation?’. But the working horse of the government is the bureaucracy variously called as babus, sarkaari naukar, ‘white elephants’ and so on. These government servants serve the government and are appointed for a life time i.e until they superannuate at the age of 60 presently. The employees are the government are divided into a strict hierarchy and various levels are called grades or class. You may have heard of a Class 1 officer who is from the apex of the hierarchy. Services like IAS, IPS, IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and many others form the Class 1 or Class A category. Only three services i.e IAS, IPS and IFoS are called All India Services. The members of these services are appointed by the Central Government but they work in a particular State which is called their State Cadre. They also are deputed to the Centre i.e Delhi or any other location where an institution directly administered by Centre is present.
Now, how can one become an officer of the Government? Appointing officers is a tricky job. If you give this power of appointment to the ruling government, then they will appoint their friends, relatives, well wishers to all the posts. Such a system is called the Spoils System. Our Constitution does not allow this. Hence our Constitution has created bodies like the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and all the States have their own Public Service Commission. For example, Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC). These bodies are not dependent on the ruling government and function independently of the ruling government. So, the government cannot interfere with these bodies as far as conduct of examination is concerned. Every year, these bodies conduct various examinations and send the list of successful candidates to the respective governments. The power of appointment vests with these governments. They usually accept the list sent by Public Service Commissions. If they do not accept, then they have to provide reasons in the legislature and as per my knowledge, such a thing has never happened with UPSC Civil Services Examination.
You can visit the site www.upsc.gov.in to know more about Union Public Service Commission. This Constitutional body (it’s structure and functions are mentioned in the constitution and thus it is constitutional body) conducts an examination every year regularly to fill the vacant posts in some 31 services of the Government of India. We will look at each of these services in a subsequent blog post. Based on the rank in the examination, you can choose the service that you want. If you get a first rank, then you have all the choices of services. As your rank gets ‘larger’, your choices reduce. There is also positive discrimination (cozy word for reservation) followed in these appointments. Usually, there are around 70 to 80 vacancies for IAS in the General Merit category.