How to Become District Magistrate in India?

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How to become District Magistrate? It is a question of many, especially for the ones who are passionate and have made the decision for their life. However, one should not forget that in order to get the position, one also needs many things apart from passion and willingness. Well, this position is one which is acquired by an IAS officer and if you have plans to pursue this course, make sure to read this article to know more.

DM or District Magistrate is the head of a given district. They not just get a good salary but also have a better reputation and many more benefits which come along with the basic pay. In order to become DM, one will be required for clearing all rounds of UPSC examination, which comprises 3 stages including,

  • Prelims
  • Mains and
  • Interview

Keep reading ahead to know more about DM, including how to become DM, their salary, eligibility criteria and much more.

 DM- Who Are They?

There are many people out there who aren’t aware of the question, who a DM is? Well, if you are that one, let us tell you that a DM is the IAS officer. They are the district’s administrative officers and are also known as the district’s chief executive magistrate or District Collector. They are the Indian Administrative Service Officers who have the responsibility of administering the entire district.

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As of now, India has a total of 718 districts and to assure smooth running of it; every district has its own DM who gets assisted by varied officers, including BDO, SDO and SDM.

Coming to another question of how to become District Magistrate, well, you will be first required to qualify for the UPSC-CSE examination and get to the position of IAS officer and serve as the same for 6 years. The given years include 2 years of training, too, and if you wish to be the DM, you will be required to remain on to the top of the IAS officer’s rank list.

Full Form of DM

District Magistrate is the full form of DM. Herein, DM is the chief administrative officer of the given district who has the responsibility for the district revenue.

How To Become a District Magistrate?

In order to become the district magistrate, one will be required to pass the UPSC exam and, therein, secure the rank which is within the top 100. After the exam is cleared, one can get the position of India Administrative Service Officer, and after 2-3 promotions, the IAS officers can become DM.

As to become DM, one needs to be an IAS officer first; note that in order to become an IAS officer, you will be required to qualify Civil Service Exam conducted by UPSC. For application to UPSC, there are certain eligibility criteria that have been discussed below.

 DM- Eligibility criteria

  • The candidate should be an Indian citizen.
  • The minimum age for becoming a district magistrate is 21 years, and the Maximum age for the general category is 32, for OBC is 35 and for SC/ST is 37.
  • The maximum age for Defence Service Personnel is 35, Ex-servicemen is 37, Handicapped person is 42 and ECO’s, SSCO’s who were in military service for 5 years is 37 years.
  • The number of attempts for the exam for the general category is 6 (handicapped is 9), for OBC is 9, and for SC/ST, no limit exists until the age of 37 years (no limit for handicapped).
  • The number of attempts for the exam for handicapped and disabled candidates belonging to the general category is 9, for OBC is 9, and for SC/ST, no limit exists.
  • Candidates are required to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized University in any field. It is only after obtaining the degree that the candidate will be eligible for filling the UPSC form and preparing for the examination. Here, candidates who completed their education from correspondence or distance education are eligible. 
  • Candidates can make an application in their graduation final year.
  • Candidates awaiting results are eligible for prelims of the UPSC-CSE examination. However, for the mains, proof of examination clearance is required.
  • Candidates having technical degrees or professional qualifications are also eligible.
  • Who are medical students and have completed their degree while they undergo their internship program are eligible for application to the post.
  • Candidates who passed either of CWA, ICSI or CWA exams are eligible too.

 IAS Exam Form- How To Fill It?

The candidates who wish to apply for the UPSC exam are required to fill the IAS form. In order to know how to fill, just follow the below-mentioned steps.

  • Visit UPSC’s official website (
  • Then click on the online application for various examinations.
  • Next, click on the service and go to Civil Service exams- prelim exam.
  • Make sure to register there with the IAS part 1.
  • Fill in all the personal details as asked and make the payment for the fees, i.e., INR 100.
  • Next, choose the exam center as per convenience.
  • Be very particular while uploading passport size photographs, ID cards and signatures. 
  • Once done, accept the declaration and once all the details are rechecked, click on the option submit.
  • Lastly, get the printout and keep the same with you.

 UPSC- What Is It?

In order to become a DM, one is required to clear the UPSC exams and become an IAS officer. However, before applying the mixture to collect all the information about the exams by reading this article.

  • This exam is known as the UPSC-CSE exam, and it is conducted by the Authorized body of the Union Public Services Commission.
  • It is a national-level examination.
  • The exam has 3 stages, including- preliminary, mains and interview.

UPSC, it stands for Union Service Public Commission and is a central agency that is known for conducting the IAS exams. This exam is also known as the civil services examination that gets conducted by UPSC. It is a pen-paper exam, the attempts detail of which has been specified above. This exam is taken for becoming DM, SDM, IPS, IFS, IAS and also the collector.

After you qualify for this exam, note that there exist 800 and above vacancies approximately and more than 8 lakhs candidates make an application for the exam every year. The online application of it starts in February and continues till March. In general cases, this exam is conducted only once a year and mostly in the month of October, the result of which is declared in November.

There are 3 stages,

Preliminary Examination

It has 2 papers, each of which is of 200 marks and is to be completed in 2 hours (each). The given question paper is available in Hindi and English. The exam also has a negative marking or penalty, i.e., for every wrong answer, candidates are given 0.33 negative marks. 

This exam is conducted in October and has 2 papers (paper-1 and paper-2). Both these papers are of 200 marks and have objective questions. The only difference is that paper 100 questions and paper 2 has 80.

Paper 1- Current Affairs Paper- for this, one is required to have good GK or General Knowledge as well as great general studies idea about current events that are occurring nationally and internationally. For prep, all one needs to do is read newspapers. The syllabus of this paper requires one to concentrate on,

  • General science and issues
  • Indian history, geography and politics
  • Current events
  • World geography
  • Economic development and social development

Paper 2- Civil Service Aptitude Test- The paper comprises the competencies regarding comprehension, communication skills and interpersonal skills. Herein, logical reasoning, mental ability and analytical ability all of it are all tested. Furthermore, questions on also asked regarding problem-solving and decision making. The syllabus of this paper requires one to concentrate on,

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • English skills and comprehension
  • Language skill (as chosen by candidate)
  • Decision making skill and problem solving ability
  • Basic numeracy
  • Mental ability

Mains Examination

After one qualifies preliminary exam, candidates get eligible for 2nd round, i.e., mains exams. This exam is conducted in January, and after clearing it, the candidates get eligible for the interview process. The exam has 9 papers in which 7 are taken on merit ranking. For the other 2 papers, candidates are required to get minimum marks according to UPSC. The total examination for the marks in 1750. Every paper is of 250 marks apart from papers 1 and 2, and the duration of the paper is 3 hours each for all papers. The syllabus of it has been discussed below.


One can choose any topic provided to write an essay on it.

General Studies 1- Indian Heritage & Culture

  • Indian culture
  • Modern Indian history
  • World history
  • Society
  • Geography
  • Culture and
  • Events, forms and the effects on society.

General Studies 2- Indian Constitution & Indian Politics

  • Constitution of Indian
  • Amendment procedure
  • Central government and administration
  • Political system
  • Electoral process
  • Central government and administration
  • Administrative law
  • Central and state government privileges
  • Social welfare and social legislation
  • Public services
  • Control over public expenditure
  • Social justice and governance.

General Studies 3- Science & Technology

  • Computer and Information Tech
  • Energy
  • Nuclear Policy of India
  • Economy and Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Disaster Management 
  • Biotechnology
  • Space Technology
  • Security

General Studies 4- Ethics & Human Interface

  • Ethics & Human interface
  • Aptitude
  • Public Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration 
  • Integrity
  • Probity in Governance
  • Attitude
  • Emotional Intelligence 

Optional Subject 1 and Optional Subject 2

The candidates have to make a choice for 1 optional subject in 48 of options carefully. One must know which of the subjects would work best for them. The 2 papers combined carry 500 marks in total. The choices provided for choosing from are,

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Paper 1 Indian Language-any and Paper 2- English Language 

Patterns for both papers are almost similar. English is compulsory, and other languages can be chosen from the languages list provided. The pattern of the papers is- Essay having 100 marks, comprehension 60, precis writing 60, English translation 20, chosen language translation 20 and grammar 40 marks.

Note that the candidates, they are free to make a choice for writing language that includes English, or Hindi, or any other of the Indian Constitution listed language.


After completing mains examination, one gets qualified for the interview process. Around 400-500 candidates qualify for this round, and after the interview, the candidates get a chance to become DM.

The candidates in this round get tested for the subject knowledge, mental ability and personal skills. Apart from academics, one also gets tested for the personality in regards to the alertness of the candidate and their awareness of the outside environment happenings. After the candidates crack the final interview round, they are qualified for becoming an IAS officer who, after promotions, get the designation of DM. Furthermore, the candidates are then given training and posted based on requirements.

In order to prepare the syllabus for the interview cum personality test, note that it is all about having knowledge about the current affairs and the general knowledge questions which get asked herein. The session consists of questions and answers, and the exam is of a total of 275 marks.

 UPSC Examination- Books & Study Material

To crack exams and to become an IAS officer, one needs to have general knowledge and for this, reading newspapers daily without fail is necessary. One can go for Hindu or Jagran Josh or Indian Express or Economic Times for enhancement of the current affairs and general knowledge. Some other recommendable materials are the list of books mentioned below,

  • A Brief History of Modern India
  • Fundamentals of Geography (NCERT)
  • The Constitution of India by P.M Bakshi
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Indian Year book
  • Polity for Civil Service Examination- Indian Polity by Laxminath, etc.

DM Roles & Responsibilities

After the article ensured to answer the question of how to become DM, let us know about the responsibilities and roles of the DM. Some of them are,

  • To take care of the district administration in a proper manner.
  • To maintain District’s law and order.
  • To supervise police and to ensure conducting of the magisterial inquiries.
  • To be the arbitrator when required.
  • To collect district land revenue and ensure land acquisition.
  • To play the role within disaster management as well as crisis management if required.
  • To supervise magistrates’ activities.
  • To ensure the district’s land revenue maintenance.
  • To take necessary actions for preventing any crime in the district and ensuring public safety and protection.
  • To submit to government annual crime report.
  • To ensure the smooth ongoing of the election process while working within the district boundary.
  • To implement the transfer of government officials and ensure granting leaves to officers when required.
  • To submit the district’s annual budget to the government.

DM in India- Salary

The IAS officer generally becomes DM after around 8-10 years. The DM salary, it is paid according to the new pay structure, and all of the IAS officers, which includes DM, they are paid according to the 7th pay commission, called the civil services to pay grades. IAS officer’s salary structure changed after recommendation implementation of 7th pay commission.

According to the rules, per month basic salary of an IAS officer is INR 56100 (including DM). The amount is excluding Dearness Allowance (DA), House Rent Allowance (HRA) and Travelling Allowance (TA) and the amount increases with every promotion. In short, the salary and the promotion of the DM are it related to one another. With the increasing promotion, there is a salary hike, and once the candidate reaches the designation of cabinet secretary, their salary becomes INR 250000.

The DM salary also differs on the basis of experience and designation that comes with the promotion. The DM is paid a basic salary, including HRA, TA & DA. The ones excluding it are mentioned below,

  • Sub-divisional officer who served for 1-4 years gets basic pay of INR 56100 (State secretariat- undersecretary and central secretariat- assistant secretary)
  • Additional district magistrate who served for 5-8 years gets basic pay of INR 67700 (State secretariat- deputy secretary and central secretariat- undersecretary)
  • District magistrate who served for 9-12 years gets basic pay of INR 78800 (State secretariat- joint secretary and central secretariat- Deputy secretary)
  • District magistrate who served for 13-16 years gets basic pay of INR 118500 (State secretariat- special secretary & director and central secretariat- director)

Apart from the above, DM’s dearness allowance gets revised on a half-yearly basis, and it also gets affected by the inflation rate, but it definitely it increases every single year.

 Perks and Benefits- DM

  • Dearness Allowance- DM salary increases after regular intervals by the government. The dearness allowance provided to IAS officers gets revised on a ½ yearly basis. Gets affected by the inflation rate and increases every year.
  • House rent allowance- it differs from City to city; the payment of it ranges in between IAS Officer’s basic pay 18-24%.
  • Medical allowance- the district magistrate, they can reimburse their medical allowance during medical treatment time.
  • Travelling allowance- DM gets a vehicle. In rural areas, they are generally provided ambassador cars, but in the city, they get luxury cars, including Inova, etc.
  • Security- bodyguards are allotted from the end of the government to the DMs and their families.
  • Bills- the officer gets water, electricity, phone, has billed for free. In case it isn’t free, the officers are provided the same at subsidized rates. 
  • Vacation- the DM is allotted with guest house or bungalow while they are out on business or non-business trips.
  • Pension- handful of pension is provided to the DM after retirement.

IAS Preparation- Tips

Together with passion, one requires hard work will they continue to remain focused on the course. Remember that the UPSC is one of the top first examinations for cracking, and one will be required to do a lot of work for the achievement of the goal. Some of the tips which will be useful for the candidates are,

  • Start with early preparation and apply for vacancies. Do not wait for last moment studies and begin just after class 12th and use the graduation period too.
  • Pay equal attention to all the subjects and focus on subjects which are difficult for you, including technical subjects.
  • Make a call to solve the doubts just as with the same arise. Not keep any doubt make a call to have solutions for all the doubts and the issues on time.
  • Maintain constant reading to crack the MPSC examination as this is necessary. Also start reading newspapers which will help enhance general knowledge and also the current affairs.
  • Have proper time management unfollow the scheduled timetable. Remember, to balance the time in respect to every subject and to distribute the time evenly is necessary.
  • Study smart and follow the guidance. Make sure to understand the pattern of the exam and also the syllabus.
  • Solve previous year UPSC exam papers; this will help in revision and will help understand the examination pattern and also for preparing for the examination.

District Magistrate and District Commissioner- Differences

  • The DM responsibility is looking after revenue collection and collection of arrears and taxes, while the responsibility of the District Commissioner is to ensure coordination in between the working of the other departments and the local bodies.
  • DM should be involved in land dues collection while the District Commissioner is responsible for reporting all of the details in regards to the report to the Divisional commissioner.
  • DM plays a vital role in the administration of revenue while the District Commissioner plays a vital role during various department coordination.

FAQs- How to become District Magistrate?

DM- How to become one after the 12th?

Start with completing graduation and clearing UPSC-CSE exams. Candidates after their 12th cannot directly appear for the UPSC exams. However, no one stopped to start the prep. Just note that this exam is highly competitive, and one will be required to work really hard and bring in a lot of dedication for clearing the exams.

How does an IAS officer become the DM?

To become DM, the candidates are required to pass the UPSC exam and secure their rank within the top 100. After the exams are cleared, candidates will become IAS officers, and after 2-3 promotions, these officers get the position of DM. In simple words, it will take around 8-10 years to become DM, and this definitely needs a lot of patience and hard work.

Can the IAS officers choose a district for DM posting?

The DM gets posted by the state government to respective districts. Talking about the selection of district, IAS officers don’t have much choice, and neither can they get posted within their own hometown. The SG also has the responsibility of transferring the DM from one district to another.

Final words

Hope the above article about how to become DM was worth your read and was able to clear all of your doubts and queries. In case you still have any, either reach out to the authorities or make sure to leave a comment below and leave a question for us. We will try out best to clear the doubts from your end. Till then, all the best for the preparation. Go on.

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