Background on All India Civil Service

  • The All India Services have their origin in the conception of ‘Civil servant’used in the British East India Company’s official records in 1765 and it was Governor General Cornwallis who introduced Covenant Civil services (Higher Civil Services) and the Un-Covenanted Civil services (Lower Civil Services).
  • Originally opened to only the British, Indians were allowed to compete for these services after 1870 when the Indian Civil Services Act of 1870 was passed. After India became independent, the founding fathers debated the need to have All India Services and decided that it was necessary to have a civil service that will foster national integration.
  • The credit for establishing the All India civil services in independent India goes to Sri Sardar Patel, the first Home Minister of the country and the great architectof political integration of the entire nation.
  • In post-Independent India, the civil services had to be transformed.
  • From serving foreign masters, the administrators were expected to serve the people in a democratic framework of governance based on the Constitutional provisions. 
  • This required a shift in emphasis from merely administering or carrying out the tasks efficiently to whole heartedly serving the country.
  • As Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel put it so beautifully in his stirring address to civil service probationers at Metcalf House in New Delhi on 21 April 1947.


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