IAS and PCS - Similar Services, Different Exams
UPSC Civil Services and State Civil Services – The Difference
UPSC Civil Services Examination 2017 (Prelims), held on 18th of June, surprised many aspirants who expected the paper to conform to the patterns of previous years. UPSC, maintaining its reputation of being Un-Predictable Self-preparation Commission, asked questions so tricky that this year's paper was considered to be the toughest of the last five years, testing not only the candidate’s conceptual understanding but also factual information.
Owing to this fast changing and unpredictable style of questioning along with intense competition in every possible dimension, it is of utter prudence that one has a back up option in the guise of State Civil Services exam. With similar job profile, largely overlapping syllabus and similar 'three-step exam' pattern, the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) becomes a winsome alternative. However, there are certain differences between the two services which include-
The Exam Conducting Authority
UPSC recruits the administrators through the Civil Services Examination for All India Services. The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) established by central government exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matter of public servants. Whereas, it is through the State Civil Service Exam (SCSE) that the provincial civil servants are recruited. State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) of concerned state government exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matter of state government employees.
The Process of Selection
- Eligibility: For both CSE and SCSE, all graduates are eligible to take the examination. Minimum age required is 21 years but the upper limit of CSE is 6 attempts or 32 years for general candidates but in state services, it may range between 28 to 35 years, varying from State to State, with no bar on the maximum number of attempts.
- Examination Pattern: Most of the states follow the same steps as CSE:
Stage 1 – Preliminary Test: This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only.
Stage 2 – Main Exam: Score of this exam is counted and proves decisive for selection. However, the smaller states with relatively lesser number of vacancies and lesser candidates skip the preliminary examination and start with mains itself.
Stage 3 – Personality Test/Interview: For PCS, during the interview, it is desirable for the candidates to know the language, culture, customs etc. of the concerned state.
Syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Vs PCS
- SCSE differs from CSE in the sense of the questions asked. In CSE, the questions asked are concept based. While in SCSE, the questions are factual in nature.
- While the states may or may not have an aptitude test at the preliminary stage, the CSE consists of a compulsory qualifying aptitude test (CSAT) to test the reasoning skills of a candidate.
- Some states may have compulsory Regional Language paper while CSE has two qualifying language papers, one for English and other for any Indian Regional Language.
- For CSE, candidate has to choose one optional subjects but this varies in state services, for instance- Uttar Pradesh PCS asks for two optional subjects whereas Madhya Pradesh PCS and Rajasthan PCS have no optional subject in the mains examination.
- Importance to General Studies and Current affairs, governmental schemes, international happenings is given in both- CSE & SCSE.
Offices will be appointed as
Upon clearing the UPSC CSE, according to the rank and cadre of the candidate, the posts allotted to the candidates are:
- Indian Administrative Service
- Indian Foreign Service
- Indian Police Service
- Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
- Indian Defense Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
- Indian Postal Service
- Indian Civil Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Traffic Service
- Indian Railway Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Personnel Service
- Indian Railway Protection Force (Assistant Security Commissioner)
- Indian Defense Estates Service
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
- Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III)
- Indian Corporate Law Service
While, the services to which candidates are selected through the SCS examination are:
- State Civil Services, Class-I (SCS)
- State Police Service, Class-I (SPS)
- Block Development Officer
- Tehsildar/Talukadar/Asstt. Collector
- Excise and Taxation Officer
- Distt. Employment Officer
- Distt. Treasury Officer
- Distt. Welfare Officer
- Asstt. Registrar Cooperative Societies
- Distt. Food and Supplies Controller/Officer
- Any other Class-I/Class-II service notified as per rules by the concerned State.
Remuneration – Pay Scale
The civil servants recruited through CSE, 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 salary structure consists of: Junior scale, Senior time scale, Junior administrative grade, Selection grade, Super time scale, Above Super time scale. With the lowest salary being for Junior scale: Pay scale: ₹ 15,600-39,100 + Grade pay: ₹ 5,400, on approximately 4 years of service on the Post: SDM ( Sub Divisional Magistrate ), SDO or Sub-Collector. And highest salary is awarded to Above Super Time Scale: Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 along with grade pay of Rs. 30,000.
The salaries and pensions of those recruited through SCSE are totally in the hands of state government. Their pay scale may vary with respect to the state they are employed under.
Also Read Article: UPSC guide for beginners – Preparation for ‘The Preparation’
An IAS officer starts as a SDM 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 Magistrate or Collector. The Central Civil Services follow a very systematic method of promotion.
An officer in state civil service starts his/her career depending on their rank and state service rules. A PCS officer’s promotion process has slower rate than that of an IAS officer's. A State service officer could take as much as 15-17 years to reach a post as high as District Magistrate or Collector. Furthermore, he/she might also retire before that.
IAS officers are eligible for inter-cadre transfers and can be appointed on deputation in different states as per the requirements. Whereas the PCS officers may be appointed on deputation on various departments but within the state itself.
Though there is a difference in the decision making powers, perks and facilities enjoyed, the responsibilities and powers, and the jurisdictional areas of IAS and PCS officers, tilting in the favour of former, both were created with the same intention of institutionalizing undisturbed administrative governance in the country. Hence, PCS can be considered as an alternative to UPSC CSE.
Author: Anushka Mishra