The development and role of the Indian Civil Service was one of the dominant features of the period of the East India Company, and later, British rule in India. It is extraordinary how people employed by a trading company in a foreign land transformed into the most powerful civil service in the world. It was also the first civil service in the modern world where recruitment was on the basis of open competition and not through patronage. Though much criticized, it developed its own character and traditions. It is really unusual that such a service – defined as the ‘steel frame’, on which depended the fortunes and the survival of a huge empire – continued essentially with the same structure and traditions, along with the administrative systems developed over a century, into Independent democratic India. Although much has changed, even today the Indian Administrative Service retains some basic characteristics from the past. This system of governance as it evolved in India is indeed fascinating story. Well researched and detailed in its presentation, Deepak Gupta looks at changes from the past, its present, and also the future of the IAS. He also suggests some measures so that it could re-invent itself to play the important role envisaged by the makers of our Costitution.