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Public Service Commission in India

Union Public Service Commission

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier central recruiting agency. It is responsible for appointments to and examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services. While Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India.

The agency’s charter is granted by Part XIV of the Constitution of India, titled as Services Under the Union and the States. The commission is mandated by the Constitution for appointments to the services of the Union and All India Services. It is also required to be consulted by the Government in matters relating to the appointment, transfer, promotion and disciplinary matters.

The commission reports directly to the President and can advise the Government through him. Although, such advice is not binding on the Government. Being a constitutional authority, UPSC is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary and lately the Election Commission.

The commission is headquartered at Dholpur House, in New Delhi and functions through its own secretariat. Arvind Saxena is its current Chairman of UPSC. Established on 1 October 1926 as Public Service Commission, it was later reconstituted as Federal Public Service Commission by the Government of India Act, 1935; only to be renamed as today’s Union Public Service Commission after the independence.

Organisational Structure

The Commission consists of a chairman and other members appointed by The President of India. Usually, the Commission consists of 9 to 11 members including the chairman. Every member holds office for a term of six years or until he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

The terms and conditions of service of chairman and members of the Commission are governed by the Union Public Service Commission (Members) Regulations, 1969.

The chairman and any other member of the Commission can submit his resignation at any time to the President of India. He may be removed from his office by the President of India on the ground of misbehaviour (only if an inquiry of such misbehaviour is made and upheld by Supreme Court) or if he is adjudged insolvent, or engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office, or in the opinion of the President unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body.


The Commission is serviced by a Secretariat headed by a Secretary with four Additional Secretaries, a number of Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and other supporting staff. The secretariat, for administrative purpose, is further divided into divisions, each undertaking a specific responsibility:

  • Administration: Administers the Secretariat as well as looks after personal matters of Chairman/Members and other Officers/Staff of the Commission.
  • All India Services: Recruitment to All India Services is done either by direct recruitment (through Competitive Examinations) or by promotion from the State Service. The AIS Branch handles the promotions of State Service officers to the IAS, IPS and IFS. It also handles policy matters relating to All India Services and amendments in the ‘Promotion Regulations’ of respective services.
  • Appointments: It carry out appointments to central services based on Promotion(based on proposals from various Ministries/Departments/Union Territories and from certain local bodies) and by the means of Deputation and Absorption.
  • Examination: It carries out merit-based selection and recommendation of candidates, through various examinations, to Group A and Group B Services of the Government of India.
  • General: Primarily deals with day-to-day housekeeping works for Commission, like, arrangements and facilitation for conduction of Examinations by the UPSC, printing Annual Report etc.
  • Recruitment: This branch carries out Direct Recruitment(out of the 3 possible mechanisms of: ‘direct recruitment’, ‘recruitment by promotion’ and ‘recruitment by transfer and permanent absorption’) by selection to all Group `A’ and certain Group `B’ posts of the services of the Union (including some Union Territories). These recruitment are done either by selection(interview) or through competitive examination.
  • Recruitment Rules: The Commission is mandated under Art. 320 of the Constitution of India, read along the UPSC (Exemption from Consultation) Regulations, 1958, to advise on framing and amending of Recruitment and Service Rules for various Group A and Group B posts in the Government of India, and certain autonomous organizations like EPFO, ESIC, DJB, NDMC & Municipal Corporations(s) of Delhi. This Branch carries out this responsibility by facilitating the Ministries / Departments / UT Administrations / Autonomous Organisations in this regard.
  • Services I: Handles disciplinary cases received from various Ministries/Departments and State Governments for advice of the Commission, as required under Article 320 (3)(c).
  • Services II: Handles all other cases that ‘Services I’ branch doesn’t. It compiles the Annual Report. Also, it coordinates visits of foreign delegations, correspondence with foreign countries and hosting of international events concerning Public Service Commissions, including the SAARC Member States.

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