Life of an IFS Officer: Ranks, Facilities, Roles & Training

By K Balaji|Updated : September 14th, 2022

An IFS officer is responsible to represent the country on the international platform and dealing with India’s external affairs like cultural relations, diplomacy and trade. Every year, the UPSC exam is conducted to recruit IFS officers which is one of the Group A services and sought-after jobs in the Central Government. Candidates who clear the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC get a chance to become Indian Foreign Service officers as per their rank. After the post allocation and mandatory training at LBSNAA, the selected candidates get admitted to the service training at the Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi.

In this article, we are sharing all about the life of an IFS officer, their roles and responsibilities, everyday work, facilities provided to them, etc. So, read it till the end if you are aspiring to become an IFS officer and are preparing for the same.

What is IFS Officer?

The IFS officer full form is an Indian Foreign Service officer which comes under Group A services and the eligible personnel for this post are recruited by the UPSC. Those who aspire to become an Indian Foreign Service officer must read this article to know about the lifestyle and roles and responsibilities of an IFS officer.

An IFS officer is one who is responsible to frame international policies, representing India on an international level and fulfilling the missions with the help of required collaboration and support from prospective allies.

Life of an IFS Officer

The life of an IFS officer is considered the most lavishing among other services. Generally, a candidate has to be at the top of the ranking to get selected for the Indian Foreign Service officer. Approximately 2/3rd of the life of an IFS officer spends in abroad, and only 1/3rd of the career at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi.

After the final selection is done through the UPSC exam, candidates are sent for a 3 months training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussorie where she/he is called a Foreign Service Officer/Probationer Trainee. Here, they are trained for a variety of skills and tasks such as horse riding, foreign language, and trekking to the mountains.

After these 3 months of training, a Foreign Service Officer trainee moves to the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi, situated on Baba Gangnath Marg near Jawaharlal University (JNU) campus for the next phase of training. Here, an IFS officer undergoes a 1-year training programme in modules of Indian Foreign Service Pay, International Relations, Leave and Compensatory Allowances rules and Foreign Trade. Candidates also visit nearby South Asian countries or the United Nations to understand the functioning of an Indian mission. A trainee officer undergoes attachments with the Navy, Army, and the Air Force, with the district and the state administration as well as the corporate sector.

At the end of this training at the Foreign Service Institute, the IFS officer undergoes a 6 month in-service or on-the-job training by getting associated with the Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. After its completion, they are given a Compulsory Foreign Language (CFL) such as Chinese, German, French, Russian, Spanish or any other language as per the requirements of the Ministry. After that, the IFS officer is posted on a national mission as a Third Secretary (Language Trainee) where she/he learns the allocated foreign language.

After the successful completion of the CFL training, a proficiency test is conducted by the School of Foreign Languages (SFL), Ministry of Defence, India to examine the candidate’s learning. Only after successfully clearing the language proficiency test in the allocated foreign language, a trainee officer is confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service.

What is the Work of IFS Officer?

If you want to serve the nation by protecting its national interests and maintaining international relations and cooperation, then you can choose to become an IFS officer. Serving the nation does not always mean going to the border, fighting the enemies in a war, etc, it can be done by other means as well such as representing your country on an international forum as an Indian Foreign Service officer. Let us know more about the work of IFS officers by reading the points listed in the next section.

Role of IFS Officer

Aspirants can go through the pointers below to understand the role of the IFS officer in the All India Services:

  • Protecting the national interests of India in the country where he/she is posted.
  • Representing India in high commissions, embassies, consulates and permanent missions to organisations such as United Nations.
  • Encouraging friendly relations with the international country and PIOs/NRIs.
  • Negotiating on issues whenever needed on the behalf of India.
  • Sharing the matters of concern from the country in which he/she is posted, which are likely to influence India.
  • Extending consular facilities to Indian nationals abroad and foreigners.

IFS Officer Ranks

Check the ranks of IFS officers including the Grade, and Designation in India and Overseas from the following table:

Grade

Designation in India

Designation (Overseas)

Junior time scale

Under Secretary

Attaché / Third Secretary

Senior time scale

Under Secretary

Second / First Secretary

Junior administrative grade

Deputy Secretary

First Secretary

Selection grade IV

Counsellor Director

Director

Senior administrative grade

Joint Secretary

Minister/DCM Ambassador

Additional Secretary

Ambassador/High Commissioner

Secretary

Ambassador/High Commissioner

IFS Officer Facilities

In this section, let us talk about the facilities received by an IFS officer in the form of salary and other benefits. The basic IFS salary depends on the Grade and rank of the IFS officer.

Grade

Rank

Basic Pay

Grade Pay

Junior Time Scale

Under Secretary

Rs.8000

Rs.5400

Senior Time Scale

Under Secretary

Rs.10700

Rs.6600

Junior Administrative Scale

Deputy Secretary

Rs.12750

Rs.7600

Selection Grade

Counselor Director

Rs.15100

Rs.8700

Senior Administrative Scale

Joint Secretary

Rs.18400

Rs.10000

High Commissioner / Ambassador

Foreign Secretary

Rs.26000 (Fixed)

In addition to the salary, the other facilities given to an IFS officer includes the following:

  • IFS Officer House: Wonderful accommodation (2 or 3 BHK) in cheap rates
  • Household helpers and security guards
  • Medical Treatment expenses
  • Official vehicles
  • IFS Officer Car for commuting
  • Free electricity and water facility
  • Freephone telephone facility
  • Study options in Abroad
  • Retirement benefits and Pension

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FAQs on Life of an IFS Officer

  • The life of an IFS officer is filled with international travel and diplomatic meetings. So, if are one who aspires to represent the country on an international level, then becoming an IFS officer is the right choice for you.

  • Yes, IFS officers get a house to live in alone or with their families depending on the marital status of the candidates. The IFS officer house is given with all the facilities including helpers and security guards. Additionally, officers get other benefits too such as a car, free electricity, water, and telephone facilities, abroad study options, etc.

  • The life of an IFS officer is like a dream come true for many. It is a dream job for aspirants and the position is given to the top rankers of UPSC. There is no normal 9 to 5 job life for IFS officers. They have to travel and attend various meetings. In normal working life, they get an opportunity to know about different cultures, countries, etc.

  • There are very few vacancies for IFS officers every year. Only the top rank holders get a chance to join the Indian Foreign Services. Generally, around 35 officers are selected to get the mandatory training and get recruited as officers.

  • Becoming an IFS officer is a prestigious career option. Many aspirants study hard to be among top rank holders in the UPSC exam. The only disadvantage comes if you have issues with travelling, or personal or family issues. An officer is expected to attend several diplomatic meetings abroad on a regular basis in the county in which he/she is posted. Approx two-thirds of the life of an IFS officer is spent abroad, and only one-third in India.

  • IFS officer Sneha Dubey became famous after her courageous remark on the Pakistan PM’s comment on Article 370 in the UN General Assembly. Dubey, a young officer, hit the comment by pointing out Pakistan's policies to nurture terrorists in its backyard.

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