The Indian Administrative Service (abbreviated as IAS) is the administrative civil service of the Government of India. IAS officers hold key positions in the Union Government, State governments and public-sector undertakings. Along with the police and forest services, the IAS is one of the three All India Services—its cadre can be employed both by the union government and the states.

IAS officers are recruited by the Union government on the recommendation of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and posted under various State governments. The officers carry high respect and stature in the society coupled with the significant task of administering public offices, making it one of the most desirable jobs in India. While the respective State Governments have control over them, they can not censure or take disciplinary action against an IAS officer or an All-India service officer, without consulting the Union Government.

The Civil Services Examination for getting into IAS is conducted by the UPSC. It has three stages (Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam, Personality Test/Interview) and is considered to be extremely challenging. Entry into the IAS is considered very difficult. Almost all of the applicants rank IAS as their top choice because of the high prestige and diversity of career it offers. For example, in the 2011 batch, of the 425 selected candidates, 370 indicated IAS as their first preference, 25 chose IFS and 15 IRS, and 15 chose IPS. But when it came to second preference, 246 candidates marked IRS as their choice, while only 120 marked IPS as their second choice and 49 as IFS.