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Before the Independence, the Indian Civil Service (ICS) probationers were given general training in four British Universities, of Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Dublin for a period of one to two years. During the Second World War, when it was not possible to do so, a temporary training camp was organized at Dehradun.

After the independence, the ICS was converted into the IAS, and IAS training school was set up in 1947 at the Metcalfe House in Delhi. It provided one-year multi-purpose training to the IAS probationers. In 1957, the IAS staff college was established at Shimla to provide a refresher training course for senior IAS officers of six to ten years’ service. Both these training institutions of Delhi and Shimla were merged in 1959 to set up the National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie. Since then, this academy has been imparting training to the IAS probationers.

The various components of the induction training programme for IAS are:

(i) Foundational training 4 Months
(ii) Professional training (first spell)) 5 Months
(i) (iii) District training in the state 12 Months
(i) (iv) Professional training (second spell) 3 Months

The foundational training course organized by the National Academy is a combined training course for the new entrants (called probationers) of All India Service, that is, IAS, IPS and IFS ( Indian Forest Service) and central Service Group A (including Indian Foreign Service), except the Central Secretariat Service. This combined course under a common roof is imparted within the following objectives.

(i) To develop a feeling of belongingness (esprit de corps) and a brand common outlook among the members of the higher civil services.

(ii) To provide an understanding of the constitutional economic, social, political, legal, administrative, historical and cultural context within which the administrators have to function and make their contributions.

(iii) To inculcate professional, administrative and human values among the probationers.

After the completion of the foundational course, the probationers of other services are sent to their respective training institute for professional training, while the IAS probationers continue to stay at the Academy for their professional training (also called institutional training). In 1969, professional training programme for the IAS probationers underwent a change with the introduction of a ‘sandwich’ course on the recommendation of the ARC. Since then, the IAS probationers are required to undergo two spells of professionals (institutional) training at the Academy with the gap of one year between them. This gap is utilized for district training (i.e. field training or practical training) in the states.

During the first spell of institutional training, the IAS probationers study in more detail the problems of Indian administration, district administration, Indian Penal code, Criminal Procedure Code, constitutional and legal system, economic planning and others. After this, they are sent to their allotted state for field training. The posting of an IAS probationer in the state is decide by the Chief Secretary of the state government. The components of this training are mentioned below.

  • (i) Institutional training at the state training school
  • (ii) Practical training in the district under the supervision of a collector
  • (iii) Training at the state Secretariat

At the end of this one year field training in the state, the probationers return to the National Academy to undergo a second spell of the professional training. At this stage, the probationers focus on the discussion of administrative problems and issue they were confronted with or they observed during the course of their practical training in the state. The training at this stage is more problem-oriented. At the end of this training the probationer has to pass an examination conducted by the UPSC. He now becomes an officer and is sent to the allotted state.