The Indian Administrative Services or IAS is country's premier civil servant category, and officers are recruited through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which is mandated to conduct examinations and interviews to select officers in Group A and Group B under civil and defence services cadres for the Central government.

One of the three functions of pan-India services, members of IAS serve the Government of India as well as the individual states, and are also be deployed to various firms and international organisations, and multinational agencies. In the parliamentary system of a government, the IAS officer is a part of the permanent bureaucracy of the nation with executive powers.

Following the East India Company period that began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, the civil services were classified into three broad divisions – covenanted, uncovenanted and special civil services.

In August 2017, the Union government unveiled a new cadre allocation policy for the All India Services in August 2017civil servants to facilitate national integration of the country's bureaucracy.

The existing cadres are divided into five zones by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and a candidate would require to first chose zones of preference in descending order, and then indicate a cadre preference from each preferred zone.

The work of administrative officers is assessed through a performance appraisal report that is crucial to evaluate the candidate's profile for postings and deputations at a Central level or a promotion. Such reports are sent to the accepting authority by a reviewing officer.