Public service is one that the government provides to people living within
its jurisdiction, either directly (via the public sector) or by financing the
private provision of services. It includes the services provided, the
interactions that occur as a result of those services, and the grievance
redressal that occurs as a result of those services. All aspects of daily life
that the government provides, such as health care, education, infrastructure,
and law and order, fall under the purview of public service.
Definition of Public Services
The state provides some specific services to its citizens under its
jurisdiction, either directly or indirectly. The main motto of public services
in India is to take care of whether the rules are properly implemented or not in
the state. They had to keep an eye on whether everyone was abiding by the rules
and regulations. If you are a member of public services and wish to become one,
then you will receive many perks. You get the opportunity to experience
top-class facilities. You will get the honor to serve this nation in the best
- The British government established civil services with the primary goal
of strengthening the British administration in India.
- During this time, the role of civil services was to expand British
interests and was entirely regulatory. They later took on developmental
roles as well.
- The Indian Civil Service (ICS) has a modern history that begins with the
East India Company.
- Lord Wellesley recognized the need for higher education, expertise, and
character in empire administrators as early as AD 1800.
- As a result, he established the College of Fort William, to which every
employee of the Company was to be sent for a three-year course of education
comparable to that of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
- While accepting the proposal, the directors decided that the college
should be located in England.
- Following that, for the next half-century or so, all civil servants were
educated and given special training at the East India College in Haileybury,
- The method of recruitment was through a competitive examination, but the
method of entry was through the Directors' nomination.
- The ICS examination was held in London, and the curriculum used to
determine the merit of the candidates was such that Indians had little
chance of competing successfully unless they were wealthy and attended a
school in England.
- The Indian National Congress's constant demand since its inception in
1885 has been to increase the number of Indians in the ICS.
- As a result, the curriculum was first broadened, and then, in 1922, a
parallel examination was introduced in India.
- As a result, at the time of the power transfer, half of the members of
the ICS were Indians.
Relationship Between the Government and Public Services
The art of governance and administration has been an integral feature of human
society. For governance, there has always been a government, whatever its form,
and for carrying out the objectives of the government, there have always been
public services. Public services have always been an important arm of the
government for the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of
Thus, the kind and the character of the public services would, no doubt, depend
on the type of government and the nature and the scale of the tasks to be
performed by it. As a consequence, whenever and wherever there is a change in
the government, public services also undergo a change to some extent.
Bureaucrats have more knowledge, experience, inter-governmental ties, and time
than politicians. Both ate actually dependent on each other.
The relationship between the government and public services has provided that
the dichotomy between policy formulation and implementation can never be
strictly maintained in practice. Experience has shown that this type of
compartmentalization between governmental and administrative activities is
partly, but not wholly true. It is very difficult for the government to be only
concerned with policy formulation whereas for the services to only deal with the
administration of these formulated policies.
Both in theory and practice, there is the frequent crossing of boundaries, as a
result, a relationship of complementarity, mutuality, and interdepend ability
has developed between the two. The government sets the goals for public
services, hence it is instrumental as a tool to achieving these goals
Types of Indian Public Services
Currently, you will find three main public services in India, which are named as
follows. Stay glued to this article for more information:
- All India Service (AIS)
- The Central Services
- The State Services
All India Service (AIS)
- All-India services are those that are shared by both the Central and
- Members of these services hold top positions (or key posts) in both the
Centre and the states, and they serve them alternately.
- There are currently three all-India services:
- Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
- Indian Police Service (IPS)
- Indian Forest Service (IFS)
- The Indian Civil Service (ICS) was replaced by IAS in 1947, and the Indian
Police (IP) was replaced by IPS, both of which were recognized as all-India
services by the Constitution.
- The Indian Forest Service was established in 1966 as the third all-India
- The All-India Services Act of 1951 empowered the Central Government to make
rules in consultation with the state governments to govern the recruitment and
service conditions of all-India service members.
- Members of these services are recruited and trained by the central government
before being assigned to different states for work.
- They are members of various state cadres, with the Centre lacking its own cadre
in this regard.
- They serve on deputation for the Central Government and then return to their
respective states when their term expires.
- The Central Government hires these officers on deputation through the well-known
- It should be noted that, regardless of how they are divided among different
states, each of these all-India services forms a single service with common
rights and status, as well as uniform pay scales across the country.
- The respective state government pays their salaries and pensions.
- The Central and state governments jointly control all-India services. The
central government has ultimate control, while the state governments have
- Only the Central government can take disciplinary action (impose penalties)
against these officers.
- In the Constituent Assembly, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the main proponent of
all-India services. As a result, he became known as the "Father of All-India
The people who work under this category work directly under the umbrella of the
Central government. The people are assigned to various positions under this
category. When India was ruled by the Britishers, the central services were
divided into class-A, class B, inferior class, and subordinate class. After
India got its independence in 1947, the central services were revised as
group-A, group-B, group-C, and group-D. There are various positions under
group-A in central services.
As the name suggests, the state servants work under the guidance of the state
government. There are further bifurcations under state services, which are
technical services, general services, and functional services. The topmost
position of public services in India is AIS and state services fall in the
lowermost category. There are various services of the state, but it also varies
with respect to the state.
The number of services in a state is different from state to state. The services
that are common to all the states are:
- Civil Service
- Police Service
- Forest Service
- Agricultural Service
- Medical Service
- Veterinary Service
- Fisheries Service
- Judicial Service
- Public Health Service
- Educational Service
- Co-operative Service
- Registration Service
- Sales Tax Services
- Jail Service
- Service of Engineers
Each of these services is named after the state, that is, the name of the state
is added as a prefix. For example, in Uttar Pradesh (UP), they are known as UP
Civil Services, UP Police Service, UP Forest Service, UP Agriculture Service, UP
Veterinary Services, UP Fisheries Services, and so on. Among all the state
services, civil services (also known as the administrative service) are the most
Like the Central services, the state services are also classified into four
categories: class I (group I or group A), class II (group II or group B), class
III (group III or group C), and class IV (group IV or group D).
Further, the state services are also classified into gazette class and
non-gazette class. Class I (Group-A) and Class -II (Group-B) Services are
gazette classes, while Class III (Group-C) and Class IV (Group-D) services are
The names of the members of the gazette class are published in the Government
Gazette for appointment, transfer, promotion, and retirement, while those of the
non-gazette class are not published. Further, members of the gazette class enjoy
some privileges which are denied to members of the non-gazette class are called
'officers' while those of the non-gazette class are called 'employees.
The All-India Services Act of 1951 specifies that senior posts not exceeding
thirty-three and one-third percent in the India Administrative Service (IAS),
and Indian Police Service (IPS) are required to be filled in by promotion of
officers employed in the state services. Such promotions are made on the
recommendations of the selection committee for this purpose in each state. Such
a committee is presided over by the Chairman or a member of UPSC.
- Part XIV of the Constitution (Articles 308 to 314) contains provisions for
all-India services, Central Services, and state services.
- Article 309 empowers the Parliament and state legislatures to regulate the
recruitment and conditions of service of individuals appointed to public
services and positions under the Centre and the states, respectively.
- Under this provision, the Parliament or state legislatures can impose
'reasonable' restrictions on public servants' Fundamental Rights in the
interests of integrity, honesty, efficiency, discipline, impartiality, secrecy,
neutrality, anonymity, devotion to duty, and so on.
- Such limitations are outlined in conduct rules such as the Central Services
(Conduct) Rules, Railway Services (Conduct) Rules, and so on.
- Article 310 states that members of the defense services, the civil services of
the Centre, and the all-India services, as well as those holding military or
civil posts under the Centre, hold office at the president's pleasure.
- Article 311 imposes two limitations on the aforementioned "doctrine of
pleasure." In other words, it protects civil servants from arbitrary dismissal
by providing two safeguards:
- A civil servant may not be dismissed or removed by an authority that is
subordinate to the one that appointed him.
- A civil servant may not be dismissed, removed, or reduced in rank unless he has
been informed of the charges against him and has been given a reasonable
opportunity to be heard on those charges.
- Article 312 specifies provisions for all-India services.
- Article 312 A (added by the 28th Amendment Act of 1972) empowers Parliament to
change or revoke the terms of service of persons appointed to the civil service
of the Crown in India prior to 1950.
- Article 313 deals with transitional provisions, stating that until otherwise
provided, all laws in force prior to 1950 and applicable to any public service
would continue to be in effect.
- The 28th Amendment Act of 1972 repealed Article 314, which provided for the
protection of existing officers of certain services.
- In developing societies, public services are an important tool for political
- Prior to electoral democracy, there must be a well-knit and well-organized
public bureaucratic structure.
- It ensures the stability and continuity of the government system.
- Civil servants, particularly All India Service officials, contribute to
fostering a sense of belonging to a single nation, India.
- Civil servants must commit to building an inclusive society in which the poor
and vulnerable are also beneficiaries of economic growth.
- It has a role to play in undoing years of colonial misrule. It promotes a
- It functions as an unbiased development agent in a heterogeneous, fissiparous,
pluralistic, and diverse society. It advocates for democratic socialism.
- It works to ensure the rule of law by balancing political direction and legal
provisions. It is useful for conflict resolution, change management, and crisis
- Public services consume a large portion of government budgets, but increased
spending is not always matched by improved outcomes.
- It has been observed on several occasions that corruption can disrupt public
services, resulting in money intended for books, teachers, dispensaries, medical
supplies, and infrastructure being siphoned off by officials or private
- The lack of improvements in provider agencies, as well as the limited 'exit'
options available to people, continue to make it difficult for the most
vulnerable members of society to access these services.
- Following independence, the Indian Civil Service or bureaucracy as a whole
gradually evolved into a corruption-ridden system characterized by nepotism and
- The system frequently suffers from excessive centralization issues, and policies
and action plans are far removed from the needs of citizens. As a result, there
is a mismatch between what is required and what is provided.
- It is reasonable to conclude that corruption and nepotism in Indian bureaucracy
have both political and administrative ramifications. It has become an integral
part of the system's structure.
- Red-tapism is a major impediment to India's socioeconomic development. Because
of these roadblocks, development-related projects are delayed, affecting the
- The mass transfer of bureaucrats that occurs with a change in government in the
modern era imposes certain tendencies on bureaucrats to seek the patronage and
favor of politicians.
- Given the increasing complexities of government tasks, future administrators
must gain knowledge in the fields of science and technology, social and
behavioral sciences, modern management tools, human relations in management, and
administrative research and development.
- To handle these massive responsibilities, the public sector must acquire and
develop appropriate and adequate capacities.
- Public servants must engage in capability development programs that are tailored
to their specific needs, specific environment, local culture, and ethos.
- With the increased involvement of public services in public sector enterprises
and other quasi-government ventures, they must become more flexible and
- The ultimate solution lies in recruitment reforms, transparency in
decision-making, behavioral changes among bureaucrats, and strict
The effectiveness of public services is critical to the proper operation of any
administrative system. Public servants are constantly involved in the
development, implementation, and evaluation of policies and programs. The
Welfare State concept has brought the government and public services closer to
the people; therefore, a cordial relationship between the public services, the
government, and the people must be established.
Written By: Shruti Gupta