How to become SDM after 12th | Most Detailed Guide

Want to become SDM after 12th? This most detailed guide can help you to fulfill your dream as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

Read till the end for better understanding.

Who is an SDM?

SDM is an acronym for the Sub-Divisional Magistrate who is considered to be the Chief Civil Officer of a district’s Sub-division.

Just like a state has various districts, a district is also further divided into various Sub-Divisions.

As in charge of a Sub-division, He is basically responsible to ensure Harmony, Proper synchronization, and Coordination in all the activities and tasks taking place in his particular Sub-division.

After clearing the UPSC Civil Services Exam, SDM  is the first designation offered to an IAS officer at the time of posting. 

In other words, we can simply say that he is just like a Mini Deputy Commissioner of his particular Subdivision in a district.

He is empowered enough to communicate directly with the government and other related departments on any matter which He/She thinks to be important and he has direct authority over the tehsildars and their staff.

Definition of SDM as per section 20(4) of the code of criminal procedure, 1973 

“The state government may place an executive magistrate in charge of a Sub-division and may relieve him of the charge as occasion requires, and the magistrate so placed in charge of a Sub-division shall be called as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate”.

-Definition of SDM

What are the steps to become an SDM?

  • TO Become an SDM, The candidate has to first clear 12th and then obtain a graduation degree form an recognize educational institute .
  • The next step is to appear for the civil services examination conducted every year by a highly reputed organization union public service commission (UPSC). UPSC civil services examination is considered to be one of the most difficult exam to crack.
  • When a candidate clears the UPSC CS examination, the first position given to him is that of a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) .

Brief introduction of the Civil Services Examination organized by UPSC

The civil services examination is divided into 2 stages:

Civil Services (PRELIMINARY) Examination:

It includes objective type or multiple choice-based questions. This examination is conducted to selected the candidates who will appear in the “MAINS” examination.

Civil Services (MAIN) Examination:

It includes a written examination and a personal interview. This is the final stage for the selection of candidates.

First the concerned authority i.e. UPSC invites online applications for the civil services (PRELIMINARY) exam. Only the candidates who qualify for this first stage will have to apply again for the UPSC civil services (MAIN) examination.


  1. There will be 2 compulsory papers of 200 marks each and the duration of both the exam will be 2 hours each. Questions will be objective type based.
  2. In papers 2, the minimum qualifying marks are the fixed at 33% and this paper is qualifying in nature.

PAPER 1 (200 Marks- 2 Hours)

SYLLABUS: General Science 

  • Economical and social development: Sustainable development, inclusion, poverty, demographics, social sector initatives, etc.
  • History of India: National movements, Current events of national and international importance.
  • Indian and world geography: physical, social, economic geography of india and the world.
  • Indian polity and governance: constitution, panchayti raj, public police, political system, rights issues, etc.
  • General issues on environmental: ecology, cimate change, ad bio-diversity – (That don’t require subject specialization)

PAPER 2 (200 Marks- 2 Hours)

SYLLABUS: General Mental Ability

  • Basic Numeracy (class X level):
    • Number and their relations
    • Orderds of magnitude etc.
    • Data interpretation (graphs, tables, charts, data sufficiency, etc.)
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills 

What is the Eiigibilty criteria to become an SDM?

All the candidates are required to meet the below-mentioned eligibility criteria for sitting in the UPSC Civil services Examination :

  • Nationality: The candidates must be a citizen of india.

Age limit

The candidates must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years as of 1st august 2021. For example, He/she must have been born not earlier than 2nd august 1989, and not younger than 1st august 2000.

Relaxation in the upper age limit is also applicable for the below–mentioned candidates:

  • Maximum of 5 years if a candidates belongs to scheduled caste (SC) or scheduled tribes (ST).
  • Maximum of 3 years if a candidate bolongs to other backword classes (OBCs).
  • Maximum of 3 years in case of defence services personal disebled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence there of.
  • Up to a maximum of 5 years in case of Ex – serviceman including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have delivered at least 5 yeasr of military service as on august 01,2020, and have been released.

Up to a maximum of 10 years In case of…

  • Blindness and low vision
  • Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Locomotor disability including cerebral palsy , leprosy cured , dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy
  • Autism , intellectual disability , specific learning disability , and mental lllness
  • Multiplie disabilities listed above including deaf – blindness.

Minimum edicational qualification

The candidate must possess or hold the degree of:

  • Any of the universities incorporated under the act of central or state legislature in india.
  • Or, any of the other educational institutions established under the act of parliament.
  • Declared to be deemed as unicersity as per section 3 of the university grants Commission (UGC) act, 1956.

Possess any other equivalent qualification:

1. Physical Fitness Standards

Only the candidates who are physically fit as per the prescribed physical standards for admission to Civil Examination, 2021 shall be eligible to apply for the Civil Services Examination.

(All the detailed guidelines related to physical fitness will be given in the pules for the examination which is published on the official website of UPSC).

2. Number of Attempts

Every candidate who is eligible for giving the Civil Services Examination shall be allowed 6 attempts at this examination.

What is the Role of an SDM?

As rightly said, the role or job of a Sub-Divisional Magistrate in his/her particular sub-divisional is identical to that of a deputy commissioner within his/her district.

In all the functional or administrative proceedings, SDM acts as the deputy commissioner’s principal agent. However .in the case of some crucial and key policy matters, SDM is required to consult and inform the deputy commissioner.

He is supposed to inspect his subdivision regularly to act as a watchdog and to keep his /her eyes on all the development activities that are going on in his/her subdivision.

The duties/role of an SDM can be easily divided into 3 categories:

Judicial functions

SDM  of a subdivision may be appointed as the returning officer for a constituency during the time of Vidhan-sabha/Lok-sabha Elections.

Development function

  • SDM plays a crucial role in the execution and implementation of the rural development programs in his /her particular sub division , launched by the government for the development and growth of the rural population.
  • To ensure the proper functioning a particular subdivision he/she as SDM is required to strike a healthy balance among the local people , other department pfficials ,;ocal producers ,market authorities , etc.

Revenue function

Under the revenue-related  functions, it is the SDM’s  duty to supervise and inspect all the matters in connection to :

  1. Assessment of land revenue
  2. Collection of land revenue
  3. Ensuring systematic coordination with in officials belonging to the subdivision in the departments likes public health , agriculture , revenue animal husbandry ,etc.

Excutive functions

SDM is empowered to :

  1. See , analyse and ask for any records and registers , kept in the police station which is related to crime
  2. Ask the station house officer of a particular police station to visit to him/her to clear his/her confusion in any related matter or to explain any situation .
  3. Tie –down or bind any objectionable , offensive , or unacceptable element which is not in favour the peace and hormony o his/her  subdivision.

Magisterial function

SDM is supposed to fulfill the bellow mentioned magisterial functions:

  1. Ensuring cooperation and harmonization with the police in the subdivision.
  2. To keep a check on the relations among the people from various classes and communities residing in the sub-division.
  3. To take necessary actions or measures in case of any emergency in the subdivision especially on the auspicious festivals.
  4. Wherever required , giving, recommendations and suggestions to the district magistrate.

An SDM is empowered with enough powers under the criminal procedure code to ensure effective supervision and governance over the aw and order situation in his subdivision.

How is SDM as a Career?

An IAS officer starts his career by working as an SDM for a particular subdivision and then with seniority and experience, he/she moves up the hierarchical ladder and works for districts, capitals, and national capital.

Once selected, the candidate has to undergo training at LABSNAA (Lal Bahadur Shastri national academy of administration), and then they are sent to various IAS cadres regions on a probation period. The probation period ends after giving an examination.

Some Highlighted related to being an SDM

  • To crack the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil services Examination, the candidates requires a dedeicatedmindset, lots of hard work and strong will power.
  • Subdivisional magistrate SDM is one of the most coveted posts for which every year lakhs of candidates appear but only a very few of them could crack the exam.
  • This post offers both the power and status to the selected candidates.
  • After becoming SDM, A person enjoys huge respect in the society with the monetary benefits (salary and allowances) are highly lucrative, he/she will get losts of privileges and perks being an SDM .

The salary of an IAS officer working as an SDM includes Basic Pay+ Dearness Allowance (DA)+ House Rent Allowance + Transport Allowances.

The basic pay of SDM at pay level 10 with 1-4 years of service is INR 56,100.

  • On the contrery, being an SDM require the candidate to stand strong against the ongoing corruption at every stage, a lot of work pressure, and political pressure. However, the candidate can get a chance to service the society at large by working diliginty a this post.

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