The UPSC exams, known for their rigorous selection process, serve as the gateway to some of the most coveted positions in the Indian bureaucracy, including the esteemed Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Each year, thousands of hopeful candidates from diverse academic backgrounds and regions across the country take these exams in pursuit of their dreams of serving the nation.
However, despite the overwhelming number of applicants, the limited number of seats available (180 seats only) for the IAS has sparked debates and discussions regarding the reasons behind this disparity. Several factors are believed to contribute to the low number of successful candidates each year but the main reason behind the same has been explored below.
A few months ago, the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha that a total of 3,393 posts of Civil Services Officers are currently vacant across the country. This includes 1,472 posts in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), 864 posts in the Indian Police Service (IPS) and 1,057 posts in the Indian Forest Service (IFS). However, he revealed that at present 6,789 posts of IAS officers, 4,984 posts of IPS officers and 3,191 posts of IFS officers have been approved. Whereas, at present, the number of existing IAS officers across the country is 5,317, the number of IPS officers is 4,120 and the number of IFS officers is 2,134.
Despite a large number of vacancies, the number of vacancies approved for IAS every year remains at 180 for one reason- the Baswan Committee (2016 report) thinks that the quality of administrative service might be compromised. Moreover, the selection of more than 180 candidates will also be more than the capacity of Lal Bahadur Shastri Administrative Academy (LBSNAA), Mussoorie. The Union Minister had earlier informed that if more candidates are selected then the career pyramid of IAS officers will also deteriorate, and the biggest impact will be on the officers holding senior positions in the Government of India.