Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Haileybury College in London and then sent to India. Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854.
The Report recommended that patronage based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit based system with entry through competitive examinations. For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855.
Initially, the examinations for Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London. Maximum age was 23 years and minimum age was 18 years. The syllabus was designed such that European Classics had a predominant share of marks. All this made it difficult for Indian candidates. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendranath Tagore (brother of Shri Rabindaranath Tagore) succeeded. Three years later 4 other Indians succeeded.
Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS. It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to. From 1922 onwards, the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
Similarly, prior to independence superior police officers belonged to the Indian (Imperial) Police appointed by the Secretary of State by competitive examination. The first open competition for the service was held in England in June, 1893, and 10 top candidates were appointed as Probationary Assistant Superintendents of Police. Entry into Imperial Police was thrown open to Indians only after 1920 and the following year examinations for the service were conducted both in England and India.
Till 1931, Indians were appointed against 20% of the total posts of Superintendents of Police. However, because of non availability of the suitable European candidates, more Indians were appointed to the Indian Police from the year 1939 onwards.
Regarding Forest Service, British India Government started the Imperial Forest Department in 1864 and to organise the affairs of the Imperial Forest Department, Imperial Forest Service was constituted in 1867. From 1867 to 1885, the officers appointed to Imperial Forest Service were trained in France and Germany. Till 1905, they were trained at Coopers Hill, London. In 1920, it was decided that further recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service would be made by direct recruitment in England and India and by promotion from the provincial service in India. After independence, the Indian Forest Service was created in 1966 under All India Service Act 1951.
Regarding Central Civil Services, the Civil Services in British India were classified as covenanted and uncovenanted services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority. In 1887, the Aitchinson Commission recommended the reorganisation of the services on a new pattern and divided the services into three groups - Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate.
The recruiting and controlling authority of Imperial services was the ‘Secretary of State’. Initially, mostly British candidates were recruited for these services. The appointing and controlling authority for Provincial services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for these services with the approval of the Government of India.
With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two-All India Services and Central Services. The central services were concerned with matters under the direct control of the Central Government. Apart from the Central Secretariat, the more important of these services were the Railway Services, the Indian Posts and Telegraph Service, and the Imperial Customs Service. To some of these, the Secretary of State used to make appointments, but in the great majority of cases their members were appointed and controlled by the Government of India.
The Public Service Commission was established in 1926 in accordance with the provisions of section 96(c) of the Government of India Act, 1919. It consisted of four Members in addition to the Chairman. Sir Ross Barker, a member of the Home Civil Service of the United Kingdom was the first Chairman of the Commission.
The Government of India Act, 1935 envisaged a Public Service Commission for the Federation and a Provincial Public Service Commission for each Province or group of Provinces. Therefore, the Public Service Commission came to be known as the Federal Public Service Commission.
With the inauguration of the Constitution of India in January 26, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission came to be known as the Union Public Service Commission, and the Chairman and Members of the Federal Public Service Commission became Chairman and Members of the Union Public Service Commission.