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What is the difference between IAS and PCS Officer?

Mar 9, 2018 10:04 IST
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IAS vs PCS Differences
IAS vs PCS Differences

Despite the surge in the opportunities in the private sector, the popularity of administrative jobs among the Indian youth is still intact and rising every year. The trend is evident from the growing number of applications received by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Public Service Commissions of the respective States every year. The data suggest that the UPSC has received around 10 lakh applications, on an average, in the last three years for the Civil Services/IAS Exam alone. If we take the number of applicants to the State PCS exams into account, the count will definitely be in crores!

Now, let’s understand the basic differences in the recruitment, service conditions and salary of IAS and PCS officers.

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exam as suggested by IAS Toppers

1. Selection Process and Administration:


     (Indian Administrative Services)

They are recruited by an All India Civil Services examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission.


The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) established by central government exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matter of public servants.


           (Provincial Civil Services)

They are recruited by State Civil Services examination conducted by State Public Service Commission (SPSC).


 The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) established by central government on specific request of concerned state government exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matter of state government employees.

2. Exam Pattern and Syllabus


        (Indian Administrative Services)


            (Provincial Civil Services)

The exam is conducted in three phases of preliminary, mains and interview.

The basic nature of questions is more conceptual than factual.

 UPSC Civil Services Examination Consists of a compulsory qualifying aptitude test (CSAT) that easily tests the reasoning skills of a candidate.

It consists of only one qualifying regional language paper.

This is also conducted in three phases but emphasis is given on the factual aspect of questions rather than conceptual.


 State Civil Services Examination may or may not consist of CSAT paper.


 Some states may have compulsory regional Language paper or the statistics paper.

3. Appointment

IAS officers are appointed by the President of India but they work under the State Government whose cadre is allocated to them.PCS officers are appointed by the Governor of the State so they are under total control of the State Government.

4. Termination

Only Union Government (specifically President) has the right to terminate the services of an IAS officer.The State Government has all the right to transfer, suspend and terminate them.

5. Salary and Pay scale



Their salaries and pensions are met by the cadre state. They have uniform pay scale throughout the country irrespective of the states they are serving.

 The Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is the central personnel agency in India which is concerned with classification of services, pay, cadre management and training of the civil servants.

Their salaries and pensions are totally in the hands of state government to calculate. Their pay scale may vary respective of the state they are employed under.

 The Department of Personnel or General Administration Department is the central personnel agency in the state which is concerned with classification of services, pay, cadre management and training of the state civil servants.

 a . IAS Salary after 7th Pay Commission

                       7th Pay Commission


Pay Scale

Grade Pay

Years of Service Required


Junior Scale

50,000 - 1,50,000



Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), SDO, or Sub-Collector (after 2 years probation)

Senior Time Scale

50,000 - 1,50,001


5 years

District Magistrate (DM) or Collector or a Joint Secretary of a Government Ministry

Junior Administrative Grade

50,000 - 1,50,002


9 years

Special Secretary or the Head of Various Government Departments

Selection Grade

1,00,000 - 2,00,000


12 to 15  years

Secretary to a Ministry

Super Time Scale

1,00,000 - 2,00,000


17 to 20 years

Principal Secretary of a Very Important Department of the Government

Above Super Time Scale

1,00,000 - 2,00,000




Apex Scale

2,25,000 (Fixed)



Chief Secretary of States, Union Secretaries in charge of various ministries of Government of India

Cabinet Secretary Grade

2,50,000 (Fixed)



Cabinet Secretary of India

Compare the IAS Salary after 6th and 7th Pay Commission

b. PCS Salary

The Salary of PCS Officer varies from State to State and is nowhere close to the IAS Officer's Salary. For Example The RAS Officer has the following Salary Structure

Pay Band:        PB-3 (15600-39100)
Grade Pay:       5400
Basic Salary:    15600

6. Promotion and Post



An IAS officer may start his career from SDM [Independent office] and can reach up to Secretary to the Government of India.


After joining the services, it may take about 5-7 years for an IAS officer to become a District Collector.



They have a well known tenure system and all promotions dealt timely.


A PCS officer starts his career depending on the state service rules. A PCS officer’s promotion process is slower than the IAS officers they work with.


A State service person could take as much as 15-17 years to reach post as high as the IAS and he might also retire before that.


Although, All-India Services Act of 1951 specifies that senior posts not exceeding thirty-three and one third in the IAS, IPS and IFoS services are required to be filled in by promotion of officers employed in the state services.

7. Other opportunities

IAS officers serve the central government on deputation in various offices abroad as per direction. IAS officers are eligible for inter-cadre transfers and can be appointed on deputation in different states as per the requirements.

PCS officers may be appointed on deputation on various departments but within the state.

Although both the Indian Administrative Services and the Provincial Civil Services were created under the same agenda of institutionalizing smooth administrative governance in the country but a difference in service rules and regulations exists state wise.

There is a huge difference in the IAS and PCS. The difference is in the decisional powers, perks and facilities enjoyed, the responsibilites and powers and the other things which are beyond the scope of the objective of this article.

Hope this will make easier to understand the difference between IAS and PCS Officer.

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