Indian Foreign Service – IFS Officer | Full Form & Exam
Indian Foreign Service is an incredible element of the central services in India. Indian Foreign Service officer position is highly coveted due to several reasons. A good lifestyle and challenging tasks in work remain at the top of the list. This article discusses the IAS officers’ roles, responsibilities, salary, and the skills a candidate should possess for becoming an IFS officer. Read all the information mentioned below before you start preparing for one of the prestigious positions in the Indian government.
Responsibilities of IFS Officers
The IFS officer will represent the country abroad, embassies, consulates, commissions, and more. It is the duty of IFS officers to secure our country’s issues and current affairs.
It is very important for the officials to negotiate on diverse matters with respective bureaucrats. Moreover, the IFS Officers will also offer consular access to the people in India and other countries. You will find two divisions in the Ministry of External Affairs, which is responsible for every matter regarding foreign relations with India. The first division is Territorial that manages several departments like economic, bilateral, political, and other important matters with a few countries. The next division is functional, where are several issues like the legal, press, and publicity are taken care of.
These are the main responsibilities that every IFS Officer should take care but the duties are not bound to what is mentioned above. There is more added to the list and candidates have to stay prepared for whatever responsibility is assigned when they become an IFS officer. If you are interested in becoming an incredible part of Indian Government, then IFS will be the right place to join where you have several job to follow.
If you want to be an IFS officer, then it is essential for you to score more marks in the UPSC exams. While preparing for the exam, you don’t have to learn a new language. However, it is essential for you to start learning any one foreign language as prescribed before. You will be asked to learn one language while you start the training before selection. Nearly one thousand officers have acquired posts in the country and foreign countries to serve as IFS officers for our country.
How is training for Indian Foreign Services (IFS)?
When you finish the UPSC exams and get selected for one of the positions, the candidates will be trained for a considerable amount of time after which they will become a bureaucrat. The training differs for each civil service, and we’ll discuss the training provided for IFS officers in particular. Let’s get to know the training for probationary Officers before the posting.
The first training will be at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, where candidates will undergo a few months of training. This is a common training to improve the basic skills like discipline, diplomacy, and more. It is essential for the candidates to learn everything that’s taught in the training Academy as they will be taking up an important post in the Government of India.
Once you complete the training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the candidates will be in Foreign Service Institute situated in New Delhi, where they will undergo a concentrated training for various departments that is essential for a career diplomat. The courses offered in the institute include regular lectures, links with diverse wings of the Government, and tours across the country. As the IFS officers will be working in relations with other countries, they will be taking tours to neighboring countries as well. The IFS officers will get one-year training to learn Indian Foreign Service pay, leave, allowances, International relations, rules, trade, taking responsibilities of Indian missions in neighboring countries, coordinating with the Navy, Army, and Air Force. o
Suppose the candidates successfully complete one year of training. In that case, the training will continue for six months, and the officers will be working under the External Affairs Ministry. Once they are done with the training, Compulsory Foreign Language training is essential for every IFS Officers. Candidates choose any one language such as Arabic, German, Russian, French and more options are there. However, it is mandatory for the officers to learn any one language without fail.
Once the above training is completed, the IFS officers will take a position as Secretary, also known as Language Trainee, in any mission that takes place in foreign. The School o Foreign Language will conduct a proficiency test, which the IFS officers should clear for becoming an IFS Officer. It takes at least a year to complete the training and become an IFS officer.
Indian Foreign Service post-training
Once everything is confirmed, candidates will be taking the position as Second Secretary in the Economic, Consular, Cultural, or Political department. The IFS officers take a role in any wing at Indian Embassy or Indian Consulate. The time duration is for three years, and the IFS officer should again learn about any one of the branches.
IFS officers will be offered positions as first, second, or Third secretary at an Indian Mission Abroad. There are other opportunities as Counsellor, Minister, and Ambassador. In the Ministry of External Affairs Headquarters, there are numerous positions like joint secretary, director, Attache, Under Secretary, Secretary, Additional Secretary, and Deputy Secretary. The foreign secretary is the top position that an IFS Officer can take up.
IFS officer salary
The salary for every Civil services officer changes widely, but the perks are astounding. The IFS Officers will get foreign allowance along with salary, and it varies based on the country they get posting. It clears the fact that all the Civil services, including IAS officers, earn the same. The special allowance for IFS Officers are more, and it also heaves as per the grade. Hardly ten candidates are selected for IFS, and they take up training for at least three years before confirming the post as an IFS officer.
The salary is based on the rank and grade pay.
- For the Junior Time scale grade, the pay is Rs.5400, and the senior Time scale is Rs.6600
- The Junior Administrative Scale will have a grade pay of Rs.7600, whereas the senior administrative scale is Rs.10000.
- Selection grade IV will have a grade pay of Rs.8700
The Under Secretary will have a basic pay of Rs.8000, and it increases up to 10,650 along with the grade pay. The Deputy Secretary will have a basic salary of Rs.12750, and Joint Secretary is Rs.10000. The Foreign Secretary will earn a fixed basic income of Rs.26000 as this is the highest grade, there are no grade pays mentioned.
In a nutshell, the salary of an IAS officer is around 60000, inclusive of all the benefits. However, the salary will vary as per the country the IFS officer acquires the post. So the special allowance is what heaves the salary of an IFS officer. For instance, the IFS officer working at the Indian Embassy situated in the United States will get more than two lakhs as Special Foreign Allowance. This is the basic, and it increases based on the grade level also.
Other perks offered for IFS Officers
Apart from the salary, the IFS Officers will also receive several benefits, which is addressed under the 7th pay commission. This commission declared the IFS officer’s salary would be incremented thrice, which is twice in two years. This is for officers who advance to the senior level, and there are also other benefits availed by the IFS Officers. First off, accommodation is provided with two or three-bedroom spaces at an affordable price. Car is also provided for the IFS Officers to commute easily, and the household staff, along with security guards, are also included. Medical expenses will be taken care of by the Government. IFS Officers will have official vehicles, and studying abroad is also encouraged. Free electricity and water facility is also provided for the IFS officers.
What are the basic skills that every IFS Officer should have?
If you are trying to become an IFS officer, then you should check out the below skills and improve if you lag behind in any of the skills. It is very important for the candidates to develop their skills accordingly so that they can do their job right. With further ado, let us check out the important skills that every IFS bureaucrat should have.
- The IFS Officers are expected to have exceptional communication skills, and it is essential to connect with foreign officials as most of the job responsibilities is related to international affairs.
- It is important to have analytical skills, interpersonal, and decision-making skills, which play a crucial role in your position as an IFS officer.
- Leadership quality is also very important as the IFS Officers need to develop this quantity when they move higher the order in the job.
- The IFS Officers should be versatile so that (s)he could adapt to diverse environments and cultures. Moreover, it is essential to respect the traditions and cultures followed in foreign countries as well.
- Candidates who want to become an IFS officer should have an interest in knowing international relations.
Eligibility to become an IFS Officer
To become an IFS officer, you have to comply with the guidelines provided by the UPSC board. Here are the eligibility criteria for becoming an IFS Officer.
When it comes to education, the IFS aspirant should have any degree from the recognized university or any qualification equivalent to a graduate degree. The age criteria is also essential for the candidates to check on. The minimum age limit is 21 years, and the maximum age limit is thirty years. However, it will change as per the category candidates belong to.
How to become an IFS Officer?
Initially, you have to fill in the application form and information brochure. You will get the forms in post offices and make use of the relevant information to add in the documents and send the document. The UPSC board will announce regarding the UPSC examination and start preparing for the exams even before the notification arrives so that you can learn well. It is essential for the candidates to utilize the time for better learning and prepare exceptionally well. If you qualify in Prelims, Mains and the final interview, you will be given training for three years before acquiring a position as IFS Officer.
We hope you have got an idea of how to become an IFS officer. It is essential for the candidates to take learning very seriously and prepare well since the beginning. You shouldn’t take the preparations lightly as the competition is way too high. It demands a top notch performance for acquiring a position in the Civil Services department. If you are all geared up to completely dedicate your time for UPSC exam preparations, then start now and learn the syllabus efficiently. Preparing for the UPSC exam has never been easier due to the competition but it is not impossible to clear the exams. All you need is a little bit of motivation and the right guidance. The below given coaching institutes can be of great help and aspirants can try taking up a course in the best IAS coaching centers that are specified below.