||If a responsible government is to be established in India, there will be a far greater need than is even dreamt of at present for persons to take part in public affairs in the legislative assemblies and elsewhere and for this reason the more Indians we can employ in the public service the better. Moreover, it would lessen the burden of Imperial responsibilities if a body of capable Indian administrators could be produced.
|— Regarding the importance of Indianising Civil Services, Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms
The present civil services of India are mainly based on the pattern of the former Indian Civil Service of British India. Warren Hastings laid the foundation of civil service and Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised, and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as 'the father of civil service in India'.
Cornwallis introduced two divisions of the Indian Civil service—covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil service consisted of only Europeans (i.e., British personnel) occupying the higher posts in the government. The uncovenanted civil service was solely introduced to facilitate the entry of Indians at the lower rung of the administration.
With the passing of the Government of India Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India were split into two—the All India Services and the Central Services.
The All India and Central Services (Group A) were designated as Central Superior Services as early as 1924. From 1924 to 1934, the administration of India consisted of 10 All India Services and 5 central departments, all under the control of the Secretary of State for India, and 3 central departments under joint Provincial and Imperial Control.
The present modern civil service was formed after the partition of India in 1947. It was Sardar Patel's vision that the civil service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. The values of integrity, impartiality, and merit remain the guiding principles of the Indian civil services.
By the early 21st century, especially in Indian media, Indian civil servants were regularly colloquially called 'babus' (as in 'the rule of babus'), while Indian bureaucracy is called 'babudom'.
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, located in New Delhi, is unofficially the 'Ministry of Civil Services'. The Ministry is responsible for training, reforms, and pensions for the civil service system in India.
Constitutional provision for All India Services
The constitution under Article 312 gives authority to the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament) to set up new branches of the All India Services with a two-thirds majority vote. The Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and Indian Forest Service have been established under this constitutional provision.