(1) The first two years of service you are on probation. The officers are called probationers and this is their training period. They are assigned a particular department and given practical training. They are also given a designation which lasts till they finish their training. The probation period is quite sensitive. An officer is not permanent yet and if his character is found lacking he can be removed from the service. If the same problem is spotted later on when an officer is permanent, the government has to follow a strict set of rules and it is not an easy process. So this probation period should be taken seriously.
(2) After joining the service, an officer will work at a position of the same level for the next four years- he may be assigned various departments and have different designations though. You must keep in mind that an officer's level and his designation are separate. There can be many designations at the same level depending on the department and its work culture. For example, in the initial four years, an IAS officer will be an SDM and an ADM, but his level will be same.
(3) The first promotion in all services is known as 'timescale'. This means that when an officer completes four years in the service he is promoted. Generally, a promotion is given when there is a vacancy. After thetime-scale' all promotions are given whenever there is a vacancy. But 'time-scale' promotions have nothing to do with the availability of vacancies. It is concerned with the time only. Once you complete four years, you will get your first promotion. Sometimes a promotion can be given even before four years have been completed, in case there is a vacancy. It's true for many services.
(4) After nine years of service another promotion can be expected, an officer can be promoted to the rank of deputy secretary. This is also to be remembered that this job is at the centre-level, and not state. Usually, state secretary is appointed at the centre at a lower level of joint secretary.
(5) On completing 14 years of service, 'selection grade' is received and an officer is appointed as a 'director'.
(6) The promotion which is received after 18-19 years of service is known as senior administrative grade. The officers at this level are known as joint secretary at the centre. At state-level they are known as secretary or commissioner.
After this promotions are based on how many higher posts are in the service and how many are vacant. Who gets the promotion and when depends on-
(a) The officer's age when he entered the service.
(b) His rank in his batch.
(c) The age of officers in the senior batch, who must all be his superiors.
(d) The number of higher-ranking jobs.
Generally, young people who give a lot of importance to their careers, keep two things in mind during their preparation. First, they try to join the service at an early age. If they join early, they will get more years of service, and if they work for longer they have better chances of getting higher-ranking jobs.
Another thing is about rank. These students try that their rank in their batch is very good. Generally, the rank in all civil services is decided by the marks scored in the UPSC exam. A higher score will ensure a higher rank. If a student scores 1054 marks, he is ranked higher than the student who scored 1053. Let's imagine that 20 candidates were selected in the IPS. Obviously their ranks will not be in continuous order. So ifthe first student to enter IPS has 48th rank, it's not necessary that students ranking 49, 50, 51, 52 will also join IPS. Since everyone has its own preference so rank is not chronological. It is possible that in these 20 IPS officers, the topper is ranked 48th and the 20th student may rank 1OOth.Anything can happen here, except two students having the same rank. If two students have the same number of marks then UPSC will decide the rank based on the marks obtained in general knowledge.
There is a principle followed for promotions according to which a subordinate will only be promoted after his superior.
It can be evident right after 'time-scale' promotions. The first promotion is given to the entire batch. But the future promotions depend on how many posts are lying vacant. When there is a vacancy due procedure is followed and the senior-most officer is promoted.
Later on the officers of the same batch get promoted at different times depending on their rank in the UPSC exam. So, prudent students are cautious about this fromthe beginning. If you dream of becoming cabinet secretary or state chief secretary it would only be possible if you fulfil two conditions- you should become an IAS officer at a young age and top your batch.
There is one more thing. Except for the time-scale, none ofthe promotions are in your hands. It is not that you complete a particular number of years in service and get a promotion. A process is followed and a committee is appointed which discusses an individual's confidential report (CR) for the past few years. If something negative were to come up at this point the committee can recommend that the individual should not be promoted. In case this happens, a subordinate might get the promotion and this situation will last throughout an officer's career. Thus, civil service expects its officers not to engage in any questionable activities.
(7) As far as becoming a secretary/chief secretary in the state government and secretary in the central government is concerned, these posts are mostly held by IAS officers. This is not mandatory though and some posts are filled up by officers from other services as well, but this is rare. These posts are the top jobs in administrative services and all policies are formulated and implemented by them. IAS officers are given preference for these posts because the government believes that though the IAS officers are known as generalists, they are specialists when it comes to administration.
To sum it up you, as a civil servant, can be rest assured that even in the worst situation, at the time of retirement, your rank would be that of a joint secretary at the centre or statesecretary. At least this much can be guaranteed. How long an officer would want to work as ajoint secretary would, however, depend on the possibilities of further promotions seen by him.
Although it is not a good idea to start worrying about this right now, it is not foolish to do so. I have noticed that IAS aspirants have a great desire to know about all this. This is why I decided to discuss about this here. While this discussion is not related to the exam preparation it is related to mental preparation. I think the information in this chapter will motivate students to study harder so they can not only get a job they want but also a good rank. This will help them reach the pinnacle of their career.