Difference Between UPSC and PCS

UPSC CSE is a very prestigious service, but not every candidate is lucky. That’s why many people try for the State Civil Services if their chances of getting selected in UPSC CSE’s are low.  Mostly, candidates are not even aware of the difference between the two administration services – UPSC and PCS.  In this article, we will explain the primary difference between the Civil Services and PCS, i.e., Provincial Civil Services and UPSC as IAS (Indian Administrative Services).

Service Scopes of UPSC and PCS

Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission, a central government organized, and a constitutional body of India means a description of this board is adequately mentioned in India’s Constitution. It is the leading recruitment board in India for higher and the highest post officers in India.

  • UPSC board conduct examination called Civil Services Exam, for the posts like- IAS, IPS, IFS, IFoS, IES, CDS, CPF-AC, SCRA, NDA, and ISS/IES/CMS/ Geologist, etc.  and these kinds of posts are the top in India, and as you know that UPSC IAS post is considered the prestigious job in India and if one work hard enough for this position then can also reach till the presidential post in India.
  • UPSC board provides promotion to the ideal candidates or officers who get selected through the various state PSCs for various posts means if you got chosen through MPPSC for Deputy Collector and if your profile of working is good then you may have posted to the Collector post – in that or any other state, but the UPSC board will also do this process only means there will not be any part of state public service commission organization.
  • UPSC board is more significant than all other states PSCs in power, authority and in the process of working and managing entire India through recruiting employees who manage the India that is why the field of working of UPSC board is unlimited and may work anywhere in India and no commission can denial the decision of this board during the recruitment process.
  • UPSC board selects ideal candidates on All India basis means if you get selected through UPSC CDS examination then you may be posted for a job anywhere in India means you may be published in any state or border of India and this decision may not be changed.

State Public Service Commission

There are many state public service commission boards in India to work on the state level as – MPPSC, MPSC, BPSC, GPSC, TPSC, TNPSC, UKPSC, RPSC, CGPSC, UPPSC, PPSC, HPSC, APPSC, KPSC, WBPSC, etc. and all these boards are formed to work on the state level, and the Central and the State government does formation.

  • State PCS boards only work in the limited area means only for a particular post or rank and cannot interrupt in the work of any other states PCSor the UPSC board means powers of state PSCs are very limited.
  • State PCSs conduct an exam for various posts in across all the states, such as – the DSP, Deputy Collector, Commercial Tax Officer, State Revenue Officer, etc. but these posts are limited into a particular state means if you got selected through state PCS, then you will be posted only in that state means you may not choose any other state for your job.
  • State PCSs are not responsible for providing a promotion to those who have been selected through State PCS, and this is the duty of the UPSC board.
  • State PCSs do not conduct defense sector examinations means state PCSs are only able to examine lower posts than all those posts selected by the UPSC board.

The Process of Selection

The process of selection is very different in both the services. Although a candidate is going to serve his/her country, eventually, getting appointed is not the same.

Selection in UPSC

Officers in UPSC are appointed and recruited by the central level authorities. An examination is conducted, which is called often UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). 

India’s central government has established a CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal), which is hugely responsible for exercising all the powers and authorities of public servants within the country.

Selection in PCS

Officers and aspirants in the state government administrative department are appointed and recruited by the state-level authorities. An examination is often conducted, which is called the SPSC (State Public Service Commission). 

For this, India’s state government has established the SAT (State Administrative Tribunal), which is very much responsible for exercising all the powers, authorities, and service-related matters of all public servants in the state. Each state has its own SAT.


The most fundamental difference between the PCS vs. UPSC is who appoints? The same authorities do not make the appointment of State and Union officers.

There are established through the procedures and protocols for the appointment of government officers for the state and central level. As they also give their services to the different government departments, their selection is also made accordingly.

Appointment of UPSC

UPSC – Indian central government officers work to betterment a particular state or a district or city was given to them. Still, the office of the president in India directly appoints them.

Appointment of PCS

PCS – The State government officers are under full control of state authorities and work following the state government’s policies and instructions. The Governor of the state appoints state officers.

Pattern and Syllabus for the Selection Examination

PCS vs. UPSC is also different in terms of exam pattern and syllabus. Let’s see how they differ:

Exam Pattern & Syllabus of UPSC

  • There are three levels that all the candidates go through to clear the exams. These are as follows – Prelims, Mains Exam, & final stage is an interview.
  • The questions asked in the exams are usually conceptual than based on the facts and statistics.
  • In UPSC, there is a mandatory subject called  CSAT, which is a qualifying paper in nature. This paper is added to check the reasoning ability of the candidates.
  • This examination also has one paper on the qualifying nature of any regional language. Candidates can choose their preferred language.

Exam Pattern & Syllabus of PCS

  • There are also three levels that all the candidates go through to clear the PCS exam. These are as follows – Prelims, Mains Exam, & the final one is the interview.
  • In PCS, most of the questions are based on facts rather than the conceptual nature.
  • There is no compulsory aptitude test conducted in PCS. It also depends on the nature and the level of an exam.
  • Some of the state exams place regional language paper while some states do not find it necessary.

Salary & Pay Scale

Of course, the salary and pay scale of IAS and PCS will differ because their level of – services, the roles, authorities, and the answerability also differ.

Salary, Pension & Pay Scale of UPSC IAS

  • For central employees, the salaries and pension are often given by the cadre state. The Cadre state is the state for which an employee is providing his services.
  • No matter which state candidates are posted, all the government officers will receive the same salary and pay scale based on their scores and rankings.
  • For meeting – the salary, services, pension, and all other relevant monetary funding, The Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension.

Salary, Pension & Pay Scale of PCS

  • The state government fully controls salaries and the pay scale of state-level officers. Unlike the Union officers, the salary and pay scale of state government employees will change according to the state’s economy.
  • The Personnel or the General Administration Department’s department is the personnel department of the state which manages, pays, and trains state officials.

Promotion and Designation

In the PCS vs. UPSC employment, the designation makes a significant difference. Undoubtedly the classification of central employees is always higher than state officials. Check out further details in this regard.

Promotion and Designations of UPSC

An IAS officer begins his journey as a Joint Magistrate. With the increase in rankings, the designation and pay scale also changes. The highest designation of IAS could be Secretary to the Government of India.

Promotion and Designations of PCS

The initial designation of a state officer is decided as per the state service rules. At the state level, the promotion is a bit slower than IAS levels. A state officer may take a minimum of 12 to 15 years to reach the designation corresponding to that of IAS officers.


The new generation of India is getting attracted by Government services. This is justified by the increasing figures of Civil Service Exams candidates (both PCS and UPSC) every year. In this article, we went through the difference between civil services with PCS, i.e., Provincial Civil Services and UPSC as IAS (Indian Administrative Services).

Areas covered in this article

  • The difference between UPSC Civil Services and State Civil Service
  • The process of selection
  • Appointment
  • Pattern and Syllabus
  • Salary
  • Their designations, etc.

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