The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is India’s most well-known and coveted civil service. It was created in 1946, following India’s liberation from British social domination, to offer an all-encompassing and effective administrative structure that would foster socioeconomic development and maintain law and order. The IAS officers are responsible for overseeing national public and state issues as well as putting policies that promote welfare generally into action.
In a republic, the civil services play a vital role in administration, policy formulation and implementation, and public development.
The designation of the “Best IAS Officer in India” is entirely arbitrary and subject to many interpretations. The prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has produced several exceptional officers who have had a profound effect on society. These officers are very good in a variety of capacities, such as social development, governance, and policy execution. Many people are honored for their creative thinking, commitment to public service, and adept leadership. King, the greatest IAS officer, is still a private individual, and things could change if new officers emerge and establish themselves.
Introduction to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
In India, there are always fresh tasks and obligations for an IAS officer to handle every day. Because they must manage multiple duties and priorities daily, IAS officers work in a dynamic environment that requires flexibility. Check out some of the everyday tasks listed below, while an IAS Officer’s workload in India varies based on priorities.
- Going over Correspondence and Reports.
- Getting Together with Department Heads.
- Field Visits and Exams.
- Observing Public Grievances Counseling Sessions.
- Creation and Analysis of Policies.
- Assisting Law Enforcement Organizations.
- Organizing Assessment Sessions.
- Get-together with Elected Officials.
- Communicating with the Press Putting Central Government Programs into Action Managing Personal Affairs.
- The Distribution of Budgets and Financial Administration.
- Going to Workshops and Training Sessions.
- Solving Environmental and Social Problems.
These are the roles, responsibilities, and duties of an IAS officer.
The service provides efficient coordination between numerous departments, bodies, and other entities as well as between the many institutions of governance. It provides leadership and service provision at various administrative levels.
A vital part of the nation’s governance is played by IAS officers. They have to make decisions, handle government issues at different levels, and formulate and implement policies. They can work on a variety of initiatives and in fields like law and order, revenue, finance, and development.
Criteria for Selection
The Civil Services Examination (CSE) administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the selection process for IAS officers. The Preliminary Examination, Main Examination, and Interview (Personality Test) are the three phases of the examination.
To choose qualified applicants to become IAS, IPS, and IFS officers, UPSC holds the Civil Services Examination (CSE) each year. There are three phases to the CSE: the Personal Interview, the Main Examination, and the Preliminary Exam. Two general studies and a civil services aptitude test are included in the preliminary examination. Nine papers total—two essays, two General Studies, two optional subjects, and two languages—make up the Main Examination. Calls for in-person interviews are made of candidates who pass the main exam. The total score obtained from the Main Exam and the Personal Interview determines the final decision. Successful applicants are placed on a merit list by the UPSC and assigned to different services according to their choices and rank.
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Top 15 Famous IAS Officers in India
Each year, the government hires 180 IAS officers to fill positions in the civil service. Nearly all applicants state that their goal, should they be chosen, is to work for the Indian Administrative Service office, serving the nation and its citizens. However, only a small number of IAS officers can significantly improve people’s lives. The biographies of the most senior Indian Administrative Services officers are featured on this page.
There is a substantial list of IAS Officers. This article does not, however, list all of the top IAS officers in India.
- Armstrong Pame
- Santha Sheela Nair
- Aruna Sundararajan
- Hari Chandana Dasari
- Durga Shakti Nagpal
- Smita Sabharwal
- Krishna Gopal Tiwari
- Rajni Sekhri Sibal
- U. Sagayam
- Ashok Khemka
- D Subbarao
- IAS Vinod Rai
- Raj Yadav
- Awanish Sharan
- Jitendra Kumar Soni
1 Armstrong Pame
Armstrong Pame is an Indian government servant from the northeastern state of Manipur. Throughout his career, he has constantly strived to make a positive impact on the lives of people, especially those who live in isolated and impoverished places.
- Born in the northern state of Manipur, Armstrong Pame is a highly distinguished IAS officer.
- In Tousem, a remote tribal community in Manipur, on November 8, 1982, he was born.
- Because of his hard work and dedication to his studies, Pame placed 14th in the 2009 UPSC Civil Services Examination.
- His commitment to community development and enhancing the lives of marginalized populations persisted although he held different administrative positions after entering the IAS.
- One of his most well-known accomplishments is building a 100-kilometer road that links Tousem, his hometown, to the surrounding areas. Along with much-needed improvements, this project greatly increased the villagers’ accessibility.
- Pame received honors and acclaim for his outstanding endeavor, including CNN-IBN’s 2012 People of the Year award.
- Advocating for sustainable development, he has highlighted the importance of preserving the region’s natural beauty and resources.
- Aside from his administrative duties, Armstrong Pame inspires young people to seek jobs in community development and civil service by giving motivational speeches.
- He remains an example figure, showing how commitment, diligence, and a strong sense of social duty can enable people to have a significant impact on their communities.
2 U. Sagayam
- Tamil Nadu-born U Sagayam has worked as a civil servant for 20 years and has experienced roughly 20 transfers.
- His efforts to combat corruption have made him notable.
- He disclosed his assets to the public first among IAS officers.
- Charges against several politicians and businessmen resulted from his probe into illegal stone mining in Madurai. Moreover, he found more than five thousand government-subsidized gas cylinders that restaurants were using unlawfully, despite their intended household use.
- He spoke out against the purchase of votes as well.
- After he was promoted from the position of Madurai Collector to that of MDCo-optic, a large number of people publicly disagreed with the government’s choice.
3 Smita Sabharwal
A Hyderabad, India native, Smita Sabharwal made history on June 19, 1977, when, at the age of 23, she was recruited as the youngest IAS officer to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. Remarkably, she has transformed the Karimnagar district of Telangana, which is one of her most noteworthy accomplishments. Education, health care, and women’s empowerment all saw notable advancements in the district during her tenure. Her creative programs, such as “Smart Village, Smart Ward,” were designed to improve the overall quality of life in rural communities and promote holistic development.
- She got a Master’s degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics.
- She held numerous important administrative roles throughout the years, such as Joint Collector and Additional Collector for multiple districts.
- It is well known that Smita Sabharwal has worked nonstop to increase access to and the quality of education in the communities she has worked.
- To further women’s empowerment and gender equality, she unveiled several creative projects.
- She started initiatives to improve the standard of living for underprivileged areas and to solve environmental problems while serving as a district collector.
- Significant advancements in public welfare and healthcare services were made while Smita Sabharwal was the Collector of Telangana’s Karimnagar district.
- For her whole professional life, she has been a steadfast supporter of accountability, openness, and effective governance.
- With her commitment to public service, Smita Sabharwal has received many honors and recognitions, including the President of India’s “Nari Shakti Puraskar” for her services to women’s empowerment.
- Numerous aspirant civil servants are still motivated by her incredible journey from a young IAS officer to a well-known emblem of committed and revolutionary public service.
4 Aruna Sundararajan
- IAS official from Kerala cadre: “an IAS officer who thinks like a businesswoman,” according to Forbes magazine.
- She made a major contribution to the growth of e-governance in Kerala in her capacity as IT secretary.
- Additionally, under her leadership, the Kudumbashree project created long-term job opportunities for working-class women and is now a shining example of women’s empowerment.
5 Hari Chandana Dasari
- Telangana-born Hari Chandana Dasari, an IAS officer, is renowned for starting Hyderabad’s “green revolution” by introducing multiple plastic recycling programs that won the city numerous awards.
- Having served in a variety of high-profile positions, including Pet Parks, She Toilets, She Marts, Feed The Need (which installs refrigerators throughout the city for food donors to leave food for the less fortunate to pick up), Durgam Cheruvu Rejuvenation, Give and Share, etc., Dasari is currently employed as the Collector and DM of Telangana’s Narayanpet District.
- Drones that spray disinfectants to kill mosquitoes were another tool Dasari helped to get used in the fight against dengue.
6 Durga Shakti Nagpal
- In the 2009 UPSC civil services examination, this female officer achieved an outstanding score of 20.
- She unearthed a land scam in Mohali even as a trainee IAS officer, having begun her career in the Punjab cadre.
- In 2011, she became the SDM of Sadar, Noida, and joined the UP cadre. Here, she confronted the sand mafia engaged in sand mining on the banks of the Yamuna and Hindon rivers without authorization.
- Because of her courageous battle against the sand mafia, she was suspended by the state government on tenuous grounds.
- The government later withdrew the suspension in the face of strong popular backlash.
- Nagpal is currently India’s Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare’s OSD (Officer on Special Duty).
7 Krishna Gopal Tiwari
- Numerous thousands of differently-abled people in the nation find inspiration and role models in this IAS officer.
- The district collector of Umaria in Madhya Pradesh and the country’s first collector with visual impairment is Krishna Gopal Tiwari.
8 Rajni Sekhri Sibal
- This 1986 Haryana cadre batch officer is the Secretary of the Government of India’s Department of Fisheries at the moment.
- Sibal disclosed the JBT recruiting scam while serving as the state’s director of primary education despite opposition from the administration.
- The selection lists for the teachers were manipulated in this scheme to award positions to applicants who had paid bribes.
- In front of her younger officers, Sibal shut and sealed the almirah holding the original list with thick cotton bandages when she was requested to participate in this deception.
- Along with taking pictures as evidence, she also requested everyone to sign the bandages in various locations.
- She was moved, but the Haryana chief minister was also found guilty in the CBI probe later on.
9 Ashok Khemka
- Khemka is well-known for having helped uncover the land scam involving the family of a prominent politician in India.
- In all the departments where he has worked, he has consistently spoken up against corruption and revealed wrongdoings.
- Consequently, in 23 years, he has been moved 45 times.
- Khemka is an IIT alumna and a 1991 batch IAS officer.
- Because of his unwavering stance against high-level corruption, he has faced charge sheets and threats of death.
10 D Subbarao
- Subbarao was the 22nd Governor of the RBI, having joined the Andhra Pradesh cadre as an IAS officer in 1972.
- He implemented changes for financial inclusion and literacy while serving as RBI Governor. He also planned outreach initiatives for rural areas.
- In opposition to Robert Mundell and Marcus Fleming’s “Impossible Trinity,” he even laid forth a theory on the “Holy Trinity,” or the New Trilemma of Central Bankers.
- Before making it through the civil services test, Subbarao completed his post-graduate studies in Physics at IIT Kanpur. He is not simply a skilled economist.
- Stephen Hawking’s well-known book, “A Brief History of Time,” was reviewed by him initially.
- For his thesis, “Fiscal Reforms at the Sub-national Level,” Dr. Subbarao was awarded a PhD in economics by Andhra University in 1998.
11 IAS Vinod Rai
- commenced his career as the sub-collector of the Thrissur District IAS Officer List – IAS Vinod Rai. He is a 1972 Batch IAS officer from Kerala cadre.
- His contribution to the growth of Thrissur City earned him the nickname “the second Sakthan Thampuran,” which was most widely used.
- Born in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, he came from a Bhumihar family. Birla Public School in Pilani, Rajasthan, was his school of choice. Hindu College, University of Delhi, is where he received his diploma.
- From 1977 until 1980, he held the position of MD for the Kerala State Co-operative Marketing Federation. After that, he was hired by the Kerala State Government as Principal Secretary (Finance).
- Rai was named chairman of the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) in February 2016. The BBB advises the government on appointment practices at the highest levels of public sector banks and strategies for dealing with non-performing loans.
12 Santha Sheela Nair
- Nair is a renowned administrator and was an IAS officer in the 1973 batch.
- Shortly before her resignation, she was designated as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Office Officer on Special Duty following her retirement.
- In July 2010, she announced her retirement.
- She has held several roles, including Secretary (Steel and Drinking Water Supply, Centre) and Secretary in the Tamil Nadu government (Rural Development, Municipal Administration and Water Supply). She was also Vice-Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission from 2011 to 2016.
13 Raj Yadav
- IAS officer Raj Yadav has spent the last twenty years employed at the Sikkim government. Throughout his professional life, he has ventured to improve some of Sikkim’s most isolated communities. He contributed to an effective scheme that gave northeastern Indian villages access to power. The settlements have experienced previously unheard-of levels of development thanks to these developments. All young people who wish to work in government or who want to be involved in development find inspiration in Raj Yadav.
- Raj instituted the District Administration’s Adopted Village (DAAV) program, which was one of his key initiatives. Thousands of people’s lives in northeastern India were changed in large part because of this program.
14 Jitendra Kumar Soni
- In addition to being a translator and novelist, Mr. Jitendra Kumar Soni works for the Indian Administrative Service. He has authored numerous well-known books. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2016 for his services to the literary world. In Rajasthan Cadre, he enlisted in the Indian Administrative Service. He is well-known for starting the “Abhiyaas Ujaas” program, which significantly raised living standards in the Nagaur district.
- Thanks to local donations and CSR money, the project successfully electrified approximately 1000 government schools that were not yet powered. It’s interesting to note that he was also awarded the Jeevan Raksha Padak civilian lifesaving award after saving eight lives.
15 Awanish Sharan
- Only 44% in his tenth grade, Awanish Sharan would go on to obtain tolerable ratings for the rest of his academic career. Sharan shows that one should not be evaluated based solely on their academic performance because everyone is capable of great things, grades notwithstanding.
Challenges Faced and Overcome
The major challenges faced by an IAS officer are the following:
- Political interference
- Frequent Transfers
- Lack of Recognition for Achievements
1 Political interference
To promote peace and development in society, an IAS officer’s district-level responsibilities include liaising with MPs and MLAs. On the other hand, disagreements over policy, claims of wrongdoing, abuse of authority, and political officials’ assistance to criminals are frequently the causes of conflict. Frequently, these disagreements lead to the transfer of IAS officers or their constant fear of dire consequences. Political meddling raising issues of inefficiency and possible institutional collapse has been brought to light in recent investigations by foreign think tanks.
2 Frequent Transfers
Suppose you had to relocate for work each month or annually. For numerous IAS officers who go for the honest route, such is their actual situation. An officer may experience many relocations within a year due to the problem of frequent transfers, which can occasionally be so severe. Personal connections and family life may suffer as a result of this frequent relocation, particularly if one partner is employed and unable to relocate as much. A career in the civil services so frequently requires one to be adaptable to change constantly.
3 Lack of Recognition for Achievements
It was Aristotle who said, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” You might not always get the credit you deserve for your efforts if you work in the public service. This line of employment frequently calls for cooperation and people’s goodwill. Concerns of suspension and shame are commonplace for brave and honest cops.
The temptation of wealth and power, regrettably, draws some people to the civil service. They think they can do the same because they hear tales of cops making large riches. They discover that reality is very different, though, after enlisting in the service. Even after leaving the service, the potential of being arrested for engaging in unlawful actions for financial gain never goes away. In the face of such temptations, the problem therefore becomes upholding honesty and integrity.
Impact on Society and Governance
Through putting numerous government policies and programs into action, encouraging social welfare and development, upholding law and order, making sure that money is used properly, and contributing innovation and creativity, an IAS officer can do a great deal for society. Making choices that could significantly affect the lives of residents in the territory they are responsible for overseeing is a duty and power of an IAS officer. In the sectors that they oversee, IAS officials must make a concerted effort to improve society and implement constructive improvements.
Recognition and Awards
- Anna Rajam Malhotra: Given the Padma Bhushan award when Rajaji subsequently appreciated her efforts.
- Ashok Khemka: Khemka has won multiple accolades for his efforts, most notably the 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emerging Leadership.
- T.N. Seshan: Many national and international honors, such as the Padma Bhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, have been given to Seshan in recognition of his contributions to the nation’s democratic process.
- D.R. Mehta: Numerous domestic and international honors, like the Padma Bhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, have been given in recognition of Mehta’s achievements.
- U.Sagayam: Many domestic and international honors, such as the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award, have been given to him in appreciation for his efforts.
Legacy and Inspirational Quotes
Civil Service Examinations are among the most difficult tests in the world, both in India and internationally. Here are some inspirational quotes for IAS candidates. Those who want to join the Indian Air Force should practice and improve their analytical and impartial skills. For a single attempt, the exam preparation process takes two full years. These are trying times, and it is easy to feel discouraged and lose hope. To pass the exam, IAS candidates need to be highly motivated during these critical periods. In times when IAS candidates feel like giving up, inspirational quotes will help them stay positive and inspired.
The most difficult thing in life is deciding which bridges to burn and which to cross By Bertrand Russell.
Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle By Benjamin Franklin
IPS officers only influence their department, however, IAS officers have control over every department in their district, making them perceived as being less powerful than IPS officers. Huge perks are provided to IAS officers.
Some of these include housing supplied by the government, cars and other forms of transportation, domestic help like housekeepers and security, bills that are partially paid for, and the chance to take time off to pursue additional education. An IAS officer’s primary responsibility is to maintain peace and order in their district.
They collaborate closely with the police force to keep the area they are assigned peaceful and harmonious. In addition to guaranteeing the public’s safety and security, their duties include stopping and managing criminal activity.