Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life in the Indian Foreign Service

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Becoming A Civil Servant by Abhay K

Life in the Indian Foreign Service
-Abhay K.



Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is unlike any other Civil Service such as Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or Indian Police Service (IPS). An Indian Foreign Service officer spends most of his/her time abroad ( two-third of his/her career) and only one third of career in India at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) in New Delhi.

After joining the Indian Foreign Service, for which one has to be generally at the top of the ranking order in Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) of India, one is sent to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussorie for training for a period of three months where he/she is known as Foreign Service Probationer/ Officer Trainee. 

After completing the three months training, which involves training in multiple disciplines including a foreign language, horse riding and trekking in high Himalayas, a Foreign Service Probationer moves to the Foreign Service Institute located in New Delhi for further training.

At the Foreign Service Institute, which is located on Baba Gangnath Marg near Jawaharlal University (JNU) campus, a Foreign Service Probationer undergoes training for a year which involves International Relations, Indian Foreign Service Pay, Leave and Compensatory Allowances (IFS-PLCA) Rules, Foreign Trade, functioning of Indian missions in neighbouring South Asian countries, attachments with the Army, Navy and the Air Force, attachment with the district and the state administration and attachment with the corporate sector. 



After the end of the training with the Foreign Service Institute a Foreign Service Probationer is attached with a Division of the Ministry of External Affairs for a period of six months for on-the-job training. After completing on-the -job training a probationer is allocated a Compulsory Foreign Language (CFL) such as Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish or others as deemed fit and then she is posted in an Indian mission as a Third Secretary (Language Trainee) where the probationer learns the allocated foreign language. 


After successful completion of the foreign language learning process, a proficiency test is administered by the School of Foreign Languages(SFL), Ministry of Defence, India. Only after successfully passing the proficiency test in a given foreign language, a Foreign Service Probationer is confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service. Usually it takes almost 3 years to become an Indian Foreign Service officer from the date of joining the Indian Foreign Service as a Probationer at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussorie.

After being confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service, an Indian Foreign Service Officer is posted as a Second Secretary in one of the wings (Political, Economic or Commerce, Consular, Administrative or Cultural) at an Indian Embassy or as Consul at an Indian Consulate for a period of 3 years. During this period the officer learns political, economic, commercial, cultural, consular or administrative works from his senior colleagues at the Embassy or the Consulate.

An IFS officer can take his/her parents abroad but the Government provides for medical facilities of only dependent parents- who have no body else to look after them and have abysmally low income. 

Let me clarify the difference between an Embassy and Consulate at this stage. An Embassy is located in the capital city of a country whereas a Consulate is located in some other important cities of the country which functions under the supervision of the Embassy. 


A Second Secretary in an Indian mission gets a decent accommodation of 110 sq meters but has to purchase his/her own car. He/She gets foreign allowance (which increases with promotion) and medical facilities besides government provided accommodation. Government provides for education fees for the children(up to 2 children only) above five years of age. Government also provides Representational Grant (RG) to entertain the guests. 

An average day of a Second Secretary starts at 9 a.m in the morning with driving to the office, reading e-mails/fax-messages, making phone calls, writing notes, replying letters, briefing senior officers, following up with the Ministry of External Affairs Headquarters, attending meetings and occasionally attending a reception hosted on the occasion of national day or welcome/farewell of a diplomat by another Embassy, driving back home, spending 2-3 hours with the family and watching news of the day before going to the bed.


After completing 3 years at an Indian Embassy or Consulate, an IFS officer is transferred to another Embassy or Consulate or to the MEA headquarters in New Delhi. In New Delhi the officer joins as Under Secretary and looks after a particular desk in a Division of the Ministry for the next 3 years. The average day of an Under Secretary is same as an average day of a Second Secretary mentioned above except he/she has to look after several Indian Embassies and Consulates, has to respond to their queries, follow up with them and speak to several people during an average working day. Generally he/she has to work extra hours beyond the office hours (i.e. 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. five days a week) and over the weekends to clear the extra workload.


After completion of 9 years in the service from the date of joining the Indian Foreign Service(including probation period), an IFS officer gets automatically promoted to the rank of Deputy Secretary. After spending approximately three years in New Delhi, an IFS officer is posted abroad for the next three years at one of the 163 Indian Missions/Posts abroad which are categorized into A*, A, B, C and C* categories depending on the hardship and standard of living. For example London, New York, Canberra are the places rated as A*, Paris, Rome etc. are categorized as A, Moscow, Cairo etc. are categorized as B, while places like Islamabad, Kathmandu, Khartoum are categorized as C*.

 An IFS officer has to choose three places of his choice out of the number of vacant posts which are circulated. If he/she is lucky then he/she can get one of the three places of his/her choice. Foreign postings are decided by the Foreign Service Board which is headed by the Foreign Secretary.


After completing his/her tenure in a given Mission/Post, the officer is again posted for three years to another Indian Mission/Post located in another country. An officer is provided for by the MEA for the transport of his/her baggage, car and other belongings from one country to another by air, land or sea. 

The promotion chain in the Indian Foreign Service is as following -

While abroad at an Indian Mission/Post-

Third Secretary(Language Trainee); Second Secretary: First Secretary; Counsellor; Minister; Ambassador

While in India at MEA Headquarters-

Attache; Under Secretary; Deputy Secretary; Director; Joint Secretary; Additional Secretary; Secretary

On average it takes 9 years of service to get to the rank of Deputy Secretary, 13 years of service to become a Director and 16 years of service to get to the rank of Joint Secretary. Promotions up to the Director/Counsellor rank are automatic and time bound while promotion to the next level i.e. Joint Secretary is based on the Confidential Annual Performance Appraisal Reports (CAPAR) of the last ten years. Generally a Joint Secretary  becomes an Ambassador abroad (in recent times Director rank officers have also been given Ambassadorial assignments) and the Head of a Division at the MEA Headquarters in New Delhi.

CAPARs are written by the reporting officer and reviewed by a higher ranking officer than the reporting officer. An officer has a right to appeal to the Ministry if he/she does not agree with the report given by the reporting or reviewing officer.

A Foreign Service officer can serve as a Regional Passport Officer(RPO) or can go on deputations to the Ministry of Defence, Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Commerce, Department of Space or the United Nations, World Bank etc.

The author is a poet-diplomat, awarded SAARC Literature Award and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Views expressed are personal. You may like to follow him on Twitter @theabhayk for the latest updates.

239 comments:

  1. Hi Abhay,

    I got selected in CSE 2012 but I got IPS. My choice is only IAS or IFS. I am confused and would like to ask you few questions.

    1. I have lived in Germany for quite some time and I know German well (say C1 level). So my this advantage will be considered while assigning me a CFL or posting?

    2. My dad is an IAS office. I have seen the respect and importance he gets. I know the importance of a ,laal batti'! How is your experience while posted back at home? I guess the basic facilities like housing etc are pretty standard but does an IFS officer while at home gets a ,, laal batti''?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. conrtzs abhi but i want to know that i am of 15 yrs and in 10th right now and i want to get ifs traning from now is this possible
      regard-
      sahl rathore

      Delete

  2. Congratulations Abhishek!

    1. No
    2. No

    all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sir,

    I am a journalist working for the magazine 'Youth Incorporated'.

    I am writing a career story on a career diplomat and require a few quotes. Could you please give some insights into the challenges faced by a diplomat, the nature of this work, etc.

    If possible, kindly drop an email on this address: sindhujm93@gmail.com

    Regards,
    Sindhu Mansukhani,
    Youth Incorporated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Sir!
    I am 15 and an ardent IFS aspirant! I have opted for History,Economics,Psychology and Political Science!Along with French (For my 11th std) Would then mostly take up BA economics/Psychology! Will these subjects help me for the Civil Service Exams?
    So how should i start preparing right from now? I am looking forward to read your book! :) your Blog is so inspiring. It is totally awesome! Thank you so much!
    I am a Cbse student actually and do the NCERT textbooks actually help?(ex - sci, maths, social science)
    Your Blessings are required for fulfilling this dream of mine!
    And one more thing, I read quite a lot of books ,I write articles , i am good with people and i love travelling and i am a fast learner when it comes to languages! I personally feel that the IFS is very much appropriate for me! Your thoughts on that please! :)
    - GAYATHRI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Gayathri,
      Yes, certainly studying these subjects will help.
      Study well whatever your study...thanks for your kind words about this blog..
      those who are honest and work hard are always blessed...
      yes, it is very appropriate for you.
      wish you the very best in your endeavours to join IFS



      Delete
  5. Hello Abhay,

    Thanks a lot for your informative article about the IFS. It really demystified the foreign service for me. There are a couple of queries which I have regarding the service conditions in the foreign service.
    1) What kind of educational infrastructure exists for the education of the children of the Indian diplomats in an embassy? For example, if one is posted in, say Ghana, will there be good institutions for children's education(in English medium) or does one need to send their children to boarding schools?
    2) Does the accommodation provided include servants and/or house helps? I ask this because I have heard that employing people for household chores is not that convenient in a foreign land as it is in India. Also is the accommodation provided furnished?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Niraj,
      1. There are International schools in almost all the places these days so education in English medium is not an issue for the Foreign Service kids.
      2.No, accommodation provided does not include house helps but govt provides special allowance for hiring house help from India or locally. Accommodation is furnished at some stations.
      best wishes

      Delete
  6. Hello sir, i have been harboring the dream of becoming an I.F.S officer since the age of 13 ,now i am at a stage that i need to ask you that can i opt for Psychology Hons at graduation level? or keeping in mind the CSAT pattern i should go for B.A program? i got 96.2% in 12th cbse exam , so i will get admission in Delhi University , but please help me by telling me which course would be best for me to follow my aim for the indian foreign service? Please reply sir.. regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello WR,
      Yes, please go ahead...both are good options. So please don't worry...focus on the CS syllabus.
      best

      Delete
  7. hello sir

    sir my question is how much holidays an ifs officer gets through out his 3 yr tenure ?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello sir, Deepak again
    Regarding question no 1) sorry I wasn’t clear
    I actually wanted the minimum number of years one has to spend on each designated job hierarchy of Indian Foreign Service at the:-
    a)embassy.
    b)consulate.
    c)MEA, delhi.
    The link below will clear my question, the link shows minimum number of years to be spent at the:-
    a)state government.
    b)central government.
    source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ab/Progression_of_IAS.jpg
    I understand u have a busy schedule , kindly plz take time to answer this as it will help aspirants to gain more info about the service.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deepak,

      Placed below are approximate number of years-

      1. At the Embassy/Consulate Third Secretary to Second Secretary -1-2 yrs SS-FS 3 years FS-Counsellor 4-6yrs, Counsellor-Minister 4 years,
      2. At Headquarters Under Secretary- Deputy Secretary 6 years, Deputy Secretary- Director 4 years, Director- Joint Secretary- 4 years, Joint Secretary- Additional Secretary 10-13 years, Additional Secretary- Secretary 3-4 years roughly
      best

      Delete
  9. Hello Sir,
    I am preparing for civil service examination with the ambition of becoming IFS.My query is that is it desirable to have a prior knowledge of foreign languages to get this post? What are the other capabilities needed to get this job?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Souravie,
      No, prior knowledge of foreign languages is not necessary.
      Ability to clear the CS exam!
      best

      Delete
  10. Hello Sir,

    I am an IFS aspirant. I had a few queries about the job.

    1) Does living abroad for so many years mean staying away from your family? (spouse and kids) I mean are there officers who have their kids and spouse with them wherever they go throughout their service life?

    2) How is an IFS officers standard of living when staying in India (1/3rd of his service).

    Would appreciate your reply.
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Karan,

      1. no. Spouses and kids accompany the officer at all stations except active war zones.
      2. Very well after the 6th Pay Commission.
      best

      Delete
  11. Hi Sir!

    I am a huge fan of your blog. It has given me a clearer picture of the foreign service. I have a couple of doubts-

    1) I would like to specialize ultimately. Is this possible? Can one still be involved in Govt missions as a PhD? Also, how tough is it to find a good quality program that will be suitable for us?

    2) Schooling for children and work for spouses would always be an issue. Can you shed some light on this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words,

      1. One can always take study leave and do PhD or any other specialization.

      2. Yes, there are always some trade offs which one has to manage...

      best

      Delete
  12. Hello Sir,

    I have written before here and you have been very kind to answer my queries at the earliest. Carrying this thread forward I want to further ask two more queries-

    1. why is that so at times Navy Chiefs are appointed as High Commissioner of Important countries? Is it not conflicting in any way with the domain of IFS officers (I mean an IFS officer should occupy that post)?

    2. Next, I want to know that if my parents are not dependent on me then for how long can they or any one of them come and stay with me at abroad on their own expense?

    Thank you Sir!
    -Yasha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yasha,
      1. Appointing High Commissioner/Ambassadors is prerogative and privilege of the Head of the State/Head of the Government. They can appoint anybody in the interest of the country.
      2. They can stay with you abroad as long as you want on their own expense.
      best

      Delete
  13. sir,thanks for providing useful information.

    ReplyDelete
  14. sir ,the information written is very useful but still i have doubts in mind please solve it. 1)ifs officers are able to take their parents on first abroad mission? 2)if one gets married the facilities will be provided to parents or spouse? 3)foreign allowances plays a major role in job of ifs officers so one gets enough amount to send to their parents also after fulfilling their expenditure in abroad? 4)ifs works under lot of restrictions ? 5)what kind of persons should prefer ifs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shalini,
      1. yes
      2. yes to spouse, no to parents
      3.yes
      4. One has to be sensitive to protocol etc. Abide by rules and regulations of the Govt. as in other civil services.
      5. who can adapt fast to new cultures, has knack for learning languages, can make friends easily.
      best

      Delete
  15. Hello Sir,
    I am an ardent IFS aspirant of 17 yrs. studying in class
    XII, Commerce with Maths.Your informative blog has
    really enlightened me regarding the IFS. However, I have
    a doubt:
    I want to opt for law afterwards for studying LLB and
    LLM while simultaneously preparing for the CSE. Is it
    alright? If not then please guide me about what should I
    study in future and how should i start preparing for the
    CSE at this level.
    Regards
    Mayanka Bamba
    Please REPLY


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mayanka,
      thanks
      Please do not keep your feet in two boats...
      Decide what you want, what you are passionate about in life...
      You may like to read River Valley to Silicon Valley for details and how to prepare for Civil Services
      best

      Delete
  16. greetings sir.!

    i am a 12th pass out student. i 'll be pursuing english hons now. i had commerce with fine arts as my stream am i eligible for an administrative job in IFS ??
    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Rhea,
      greetings...
      anybody with a graduation degree is eligible for Civil Services...and IFS
      best wishes

      Delete
  17. Sir I am studying Electronics and Electrical Engineering is it possible for me to become an IFS officer with my engineering degree if i manage to do well in the Civil Service Exam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi rahilsur,
      the answer is yes...
      best wishes

      Delete
  18. Congratulations on an excellent blog Sir!

    I would take this chance to ask you questions that I feel must be on the minds of young Indians.

    India's economy is growing and there are really good private sector opportunities available to us (fresh college graduates). I think that post liberalization, the people who actually wanted to succeed as diplomats before have actually been diverted to the Pvt. sector now, with a few exceptions. In this regard, I'd like to compare the two, with hard cash earned not being the number one priority. In particular I'd like to know:

    (a) The intellectual challenges as a diplomat: Do we get to sink our teeth in complex international issues and frankly, become relevant to the debate? How often do we need to ask for 'expert' opinion and does integrating various 'expert' opinions to give an overall picture rest on our shoulders? I do not believe such diverse problem solving would be possible in the Pvt. sector and this is what attracts me the most towards FS along with international politics (strategy in particular) and the honour of representing India. Would really appreciate a direct and frank answer.

    (b) I believe diplomats are learned people. They are also generalists. Do you feel, frankly, that our impact/role will be more if we also add a specialist dimension (say, an infrastructure/water expert, etc.) to ourselves? If so, how do you suggest we go about it?

    (c) What kind of networking opportunities are available to diplomats? Do we routinely deal with high level people with diverse backgrounds like say foreign ministers, businessmen, sports-persons, etc.? I feel it will only add to our overall outlook.

    (d) Curious to know about our personal level of influence in decisions impacting Indians abroad.

    (d) On a lighter note, what professions do you recommend for a potential spouse?

    (e) Is it possible for us to just go out on evenings to dinner or maybe even explore/travel in the city/country for pleasure?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi,
      a &b. The job of a diplomat is both intellectually challenging and stimulating. Diplomacy needs specialization. Therefore majority of the diplomats are career diplomats who acquire decades of experience in varied fields of diplomacy. Diplomats are highly skilled professionals who play a major role in shaping international relations, executing strategy and flying the flag.

      c.yes, pretty frequently

      d.teaching or medicine, useful at all places.

      e.yes, of course...you can travel over weekends...holidays

      wishing you the very best

      Delete
  19. Hello sir
    I am appearing for my 2nd attempt this year under the new civil service exam pattern.I would be grateful if you could advice me on approach to general studies preperation for this year.

    I have been following the strategy of covering the breadth and answer writng skills while not going into depth of the topics as it is a general studies exam largely
    Thanks and Regards
    Abhishek Rana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Abhishek,
      I don't know much about the new syllabus under the new pattern of CSE.
      Your strategy sounds good to me.
      best

      Delete
  20. Hello sir,
    I am 16 years old and am currently studying in the 11th grade.I had passed my 10th with 94% (CBSE). Im deeply interested in civil services. I hope to acheive and become an IAS, IFS or IRS. Should I start preparing for CS from the 11th grade or from the 12th? I have opted commerce stream (computer) and know basics in indonesian and french languages. Also, I would like to know some good institutes for coaching in and nearby Kerala.

    I am also a sportsperson pursuing badminton and continuously representing the state, and the nation in major badminton tournament.

    Thank You
    Regards
    VIDHU NAIR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Vidhu,

      Wish you all the best for a career in the Indian Civil Service.

      Delete
  21. 1.In his entire service time , except India how many countries can an officer be posted to (say he entered at age 23 or 24)?

    2.Since an officer is provided only one language training i.e during his entry years(I guess) ,How does an officer overcome the language gap when posted to a different country after every 3 years ?? say from Russia to Nepal to china to france… ,etc

    3.since the Indian Foreign Service is exceptionally small in size, MEA simply does not have the personnel it needs for vital tasks, and the number of missions abroad is too large , should it consider to “ bring in talent from other domain ”???
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/menik/3103080518/]
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-07/edit-page/33066738_1_foreign-service-ifs-largest-democracy

    4.if recriutment across department to IFS will be implemented , will it “AFFECT THE CHARM AND LURE OF THE INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE “ ? (fr me personally yes)

    5.Russian translator T Suresh Babu
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2213594/Translator-Indian-envoy-Armenia-Georgia-edges-IFS-officers.html

    KV Sreejesh,IPS
    http://gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=315&Name=MOVING%20ON%20:%20IAS%20officers%20retiring%20in%20June%202012
    How is it possible in both cases(kindly share info)??

    6.if IAS and IPS officers can be deputed to IFS , can IFS officers be deputed to IAS or IPS?? Should this be removed??

    7. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-07-07/rest-of-world/27903897_1_ajai-pathania-gates-and-outer-structure-counsellor-venkateswara-rao
    What are “Military defence attache”?How are they recruited as attache??

    8.Rumours say A separate exam for IFS is in view for strengthening the service? Should they do it??
    (fr me BIG yes)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deepak,

      1. Over 100 2. There are interpreters to help the officer.
      3. 4. &5. yes&no, as arguments can be made in favour of both
      6. No IFS would ever want to be deputed to IAS, IPS...r u joking!
      7. They are posted in an Indian mission to deal with defence related issues
      8. Yes & no, as a strong case can be made for both.
      best

      Delete
  22. Hello sir,

    Thank you Sir for answering the queries of aspirants, Sir can IFS officer stay in India for more than the said 1/3rd service, as I may had to stay for longer period due to family compulsions, aslso does the govt pay for medical and other expenses of parents staying abroad with IFS officer,

    Regards,,

    Ankit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      Yes, an IFS officer can stay over 1/3rd of one's service in India if one wants to. Govt. pays medical expenses for dependent parents only. Dependent parents are those for whom there is no one to look after except the officer and those who have abysmally low income.
      best

      Delete
  23. sir my question is how many times an ifs officer is allowed to visit his parents house during probationary period ????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Debayan,

      As many times as you want...as half of the probation period is spent in India itself. When one is abroad, one time in a posting of 3 years duration.
      best

      Delete
  24. Greetings from Mumbai!

    Dear Sir,
    I would like your input on my current situation and some advise in helping me form my decision about pursuing a career in the IFS. I am a Mass Media- Graduate with an Advertising major. I have been learning Spanish (B2- current) and French (A1- current) for a while. Is my background suitable for this career? Should I pursue a master's degree? Which subject will be most useful? Could you suggest a platform where I can get assistance and guidance to prepare for the civil services exam?

    Sincerely,
    Lester Menezes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lester
      For a career in the IFS, one just needs to be a graduate. Your background is perfectly suitable for a career in the IFS. You should read the interviews of the successful candidates in recent times for guidance on how to prepare for the Civil Services Exam.
      best

      Delete
  25. Sir my question is what are the powers of indian foreign service officer powers at home i.e. his own district?Does he has powers little bit that of collector? Pls answer my question

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello ilapuram,
      IFS officers mostly serve in the Indian missions and posts, not in the districts as collectors. The answer is no.
      best

      Delete
  26. Dear Sir,

    Kindly let me know how to focus on studies for such a long time..?
    I find that studying is not an issue but time management and focus is what important for qualifying CSE. Please let me know that am i the sole case or it is normal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Lakshya,

      If you find time please read River Valley to Silicon Valley...there are so many ways to do it...
      best

      Delete
  27. Hello Sir,

    I am an IFS aspirant. With due respect Sir I would like to ask few queries.

    1. Somewhere I came across this fact that for being a Foreign Secretary one should have 33 yrs of service, is it true or is it just performance based elevation? Also Sir, how an ambassador to any strategic country is decided, does past posting in that country counts the most?

    2. If an IFS officer marries another IFS officer, is it possible that both of them can be together in one country one city till they become ambassadors. I mean... what I get from the above posts and the article written by you that there are several wings at second secretary level so is it possible for an IFS couple to stay in one country one city, one being in say cultural wing and other being in political wing.

    If that is so then what about at the levels of First secretary and Counsellor, are there more than one First Secretary and counsellor in an embassy so that two can again be posted together (or if that is not so then I think the IFS couple would have to part after third secretary level for rest of their career)

    3.If my mom is not dependent on me even then if I want her to live with me and she being medically unfit which requires good deal of medical expenditure so does Govt of India pays pretty well to IFS officers or not so that such responsibilities are duely completed because I know, she not being dependent on me govt would not pay her expenses

    4. Also Sir, when an IFS officer serves in India does he get all those benefits he gets abroad eg. free schooling for kids.

    Sir, plz answer these question as its important for me for deciding anything further!

    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      1. Foreign Secretary holds the rank of a secretary to Government of India. So the same criteria applies as for other secretaries. Promotion in the service as well as the Ambassadorial appointments to strategic countries is based on seniority and merit. Past posting in a country also plays a role.

      2.There are number of large sized Indian missions where IFS couples can work together till they become Ambassadors.

      3.You can take care of her medical expenses in the countries where medical treatment is relatively inexpensive but in some countries it could be expensive. You also need to take care of the kind of medical attention needed.

      4.Not all for example one gets Foreign Allowance only when abroad. School allowance is provided by the govt. even in India.

      all the best

      Delete
  28. Hello Sir,
    I am planning to take Psychology as my Optional subject for the Mains, I have no idea of the subject and am planning to start from the scratch. Can you please guide me, how can I go about, which books to refer?
    Thankyou so much.
    Regards
    Nishant

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Nishant,
      You may like to consult someone who is preparing for Civil Services exam. I can suggest you reading the book River Valley to Silicon Valley.
      best

      Delete
  29. Sir, I am a currently pursuing BA from a college in my city and my subjects are English language, sociology and political science. My question are-

    1. does the qualification of an IFS officer matter during his career. For example, if i do MA in political science and international relations from a good university like JNU, will i be given preference while posting over other people are simply BA..?

    2. Do you mind telling me what is the total salary(all allowances included) of an IFS officers? I know that it varies because of different allowances in different countries, but still can you atleast give me an idea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      1. No
      2.It varies from rank to rank, station to station and at HQs and abroad.

      best



      Delete
  30. Sir,

    It has been an absolute delight to read your blog. And the fact that you reply to the comments makes it even more exhilarating.

    Without further ado, could you give a quick, harmless insight into the role of an IFS officer in intelligence operations? Or is it solely the prerogative of R.A.W.?

    I ask this because it is the intelligence aspect of diplomacy which fascinates me the most.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Naman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Naman,

      A diplomat's job is to build bridges among countries, cultures, civilization.

      best

      Delete
  31. Respected Sir,
    Is the salary(that includes the foreign allowance) sufficient to live in first world countries for a person in the grade of First Secretary or Second Secretary ??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, more that sufficient.
      best

      Delete
    2. Thank you Sir,
      Just filled the DAF form, IFS is my first option and will try real hard to achieve it :) !!

      Delete
  32. Hello Sir.
    I am gautam from west bengal and i hv a question related to ifs exam rank.
    Is rank of this exam depend on obtain marks from main exam(optional sub.+intervew) or prelim.+main exam?

    Pls sir ans me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you didn't ask me but not to keep you waiting I am replying .. Rank is dependent on your marks in mains+interview,Pre is just a qualifying exam !!

      Delete
  33. Hello Sir I am Hradesh Vyas from Bhopal.I am preparing for UPSC exam since 2 yrs. I want to know 2 things from you.It will be kind enough.

    1) I am in dilemma wheather to choose IAS or IFS?

    2) What are the benefits does IFS officer takes outside the country like car(which car), house and status? Is it necessary to work in the country for IFS officer I mean if he can stay outside the nation?

    It will be kind enough if you answer me.

    Hradesh Vyas
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Hradesh,

      1. Choice is yours. 2. An IFS officer gets all these perks and the honour to represent one's country. Yes, an IFS officer has to work in India(1/3) as well as abroad(2/3).

      best

      Delete
  34. sir i'm a average student in my acadmic education background. can i selected if my rank is under 100 for ifs? my pecentage in matric-69%,inter-65%,graduation-55%.any student who give examination of upsc in hindi language can selected for ifs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sawan,

      Yes, under 100 ranking in the Civil Services exam is good enough to get into IFS. Your percentage in matric, inter and graduation does not matter. You should just be a graduate.

      best

      Delete
  35. Hello Abhay sir, I am Aviraj Singh Bishnoi an I would like to prepare for the 2014 UPSC examination. I would be grateful if you could shine a little light for me in the same direction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Aviraj,
      You may like to consult someone who is preparing for Civil Services exam. I can suggest you reading the book River Valley to Silicon Valley.
      best

      Delete
  36. Hello Abhay Thanks for your blog for such valuable insights.

    I am preparing for Civil Services and right now I have to give preference for services. I am married and have a six month old son. I am equally interested in IAS and IFS and not being able to make a choice. After reading your blog I have cleared most of my doubts but following are the ones which are holding me from making final call:

    1. Which service helps an officer to provide better education and career path for their kids, IAS or IFS?
    2. Considering that transfers would be part of life in both the services, but still which you find would let me give more time to my family? IAS or IFS?
    3. Which Service give better opportunity for self improvement ex Phd, masters course etc? IAS or IFS?
    4. Which service provide better opportunity for working in diversified fields IAS or IFS?
    5. When an IFS officer works in India how much respect and social recognition does he command?

    I would appreciate if you can reply quickly

    Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Mohit,
      thanks
      1.Both
      2.IFS
      3.IFS
      4.IAS
      5.As much as one can/needed.

      best

      Delete
  37. Sir some curious questions arising in my mind-
    1. How many attempts does one get to clear the foreign language exam? Will it result in loss of seniority if not cleared in 1st attempt?
    2. How many cases are thr where IFS trainee failed to clear this exam in all attempt(s) and was removed from service?
    3. If suppose an IFS is driving a car and he kills a person in a car accident, will he get diplomatic immunity from a police case in this case?
    4 Will the laws on women (like on clothing etc) be applicable on wife of IFS serving in an orthodox country?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Utkarsh,

      1.One generally clears the exam in one attempt. If not, then certainly in the second attempt. No loss of seniority.
      2. I can't recall any.
      3. Diplomatic immunity is only for carrying out one's duties without hindrance, not for negligent driving.
      4.It is wise to follow the customs of a country. Jaisa Desh Waisa Bhesh- An old Indian saying.
      best

      Delete
  38. How many yrs approximately does one get to spend in UK, France, Germany, USA and other developed countries?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It varies from officer to officer..but on an average one-third of an officer's career abroad.
      best

      Delete
  39. Sir, some more questions from curious mind (bear with me if they sound stupid)-

    1. if an IFS is posted in a non- English speaking backward country, wudnt the family of IFS get bored... with nobody to talk to.
    2.if i want to marry a working girl... wud it b difficult as an IFS?
    3.if im a veg n a non-alcoholoic, wud it b difficult for me as an IFS?
    4. if im taught Chinese initially n later in career posted in Chile, how wud i or my family talk to people like doctor, shopkeeper, etc? By taking a translator along or a translation dictionary along?
    5. i always wonder the need for posting IFS in unheard of countries, having negligible trade relations with India. An IFS wud hav noting much to do thr other than sending reports to MEA of political turmoils going on, n even that can b read from the internet.
    6. I guess not many wud b willing to b posted in unfriendly countries. Can an IFS b forced to go thr even at very senior level? Is he treated with dignity thr?
    7. When working for welfare of overseas Indians, does IFS report to Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs or to MEA? Whats the need to have 2 separate ministries?
    8. Who represents India at secretariats of UN bodies, IMF etc , also at negotiation rounds of UNFCCC, WTO Doha round, etc... IFS or IAS?
    9. If ive to suddenly come back to India due to medical emergency of parent(s) living in India, will the chance of getting a leave b almost 100%? also will i get air fare from MEA for this purpose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Utkarsh,

      1. On the contrary...a diplomat lives in the capital city where a number of people speak English, for example diplomats of other countries, expatriates etc.
      2.yes, but tell me which job does not have its pros and cons.
      3.no, there are enough choices for vegetarians across the world, drinking oneself is not essential for diplomacy, make sure others drink :)
      4.one usually learns the basic language while staying in a country where English is not spoken...and pl don't worry in the age of translations apps available on your mobile phone
      5. A diplomat's (IFS's) job is to engage with his/her interlocutors even in distant part of the world as he/she is the direct contact between the Govt. of India and the host govt. Internet reports can't match direct reporting and personal touch.
      6. Many IFS officers volunteer to be posted in tough/hostile countries and cherish their jobs.
      7.IFS officers report to MEA until they are on deputation to another ministry. Overseas Indians have very specific needs, best handled by a separate Ministry.
      8. It varies organization to organization.
      9.yes 100%.
      best wishes

      Delete
  40. Sir plz reply to my above question - shreyoshi

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sir,
    In your reply to a previous question, you have mentioned that IFS offers more chances for self improvement than a career in IAS. Could you please elaborate on this? I would like to pursue my masters and if possible, Phd. I am told that IAS personnel are given paid subatticals without loss of seniority to pursue masters degree. Is it the same with IFS too? How often do our diplomats acquire additional qualifications, and how easy is it to get it approved in our system?
    Thank you in advance.
    Roshin Unnikrishnan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roshin,
      The same rules apply for Central Civil Services including IFS.
      What makes IFS different is global exposure and interacting with the leaders in almost each and every arena on a regular basis. No other service can match the exposure one usually gets in IFS.
      best

      Delete
  42. Hello Sir,

    I have given Pre 2013 but couldn't qualify but going to reappear. Sir I want to ask you onething is how should i remotivate again As i lost hope because i have given my best but couldn't make it. My service prefrence is IPS is it good option.
    May god bless you sir,

    Regards,
    Vinod Sharma

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hello sir,
    I am a mbbs student from mamc new delhi. I want to pursue IFS . so plz guide me regarding this matter. Is choosing medical science as a subject for mains exam the right way to go?.I will be grateful to you for helping me out.

    Deepak

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Vinod, Deepak,

      You may like to read River Valley to Silicon Valley for motivation, how to choose your subjects, and which service to choose. http://www.flipkart.com/search?q=river+valley+to+silicon+valley&as=off&as-show=off&otracker=start
      best

      Delete
  44. Respected Sir, I vishal Kumar ( visually challenged) got selected in Grade IV in indian foreign service (B) I just want to know whether this job is suitable to me what opportunity I will get from this organization for further rise in career or I have to join this department through IFS also please tell me what is the job roll I will get after joining, Please guide me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Vikas,

      On IFS(B)grade IV...you may consult someone knowledgeable in this area.
      best

      Delete
  45. Hello sir,
    I have just cleared CS prelim 2013 exam and have to fill out form for CS main exam. My fiance is a girl from Russian Federation and we want to get married soon. I want to ask you that- are IFS officers allowed to have foreign spouses, and what are the ramifications? I have not found any source to clarify my query. Kindly help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Sumit,

      IFS officers are allowed to marry foreign nationals provided they take Indian citizenship after the marriage.

      best

      Delete
  46. Hello Sir,

    Unlike many people I'm not an early bird for the IFS exam. I'm 24 and have an MBA degree and have recently developed a die hard interest towards clearing the exam and pursue IFS. Is it too late? How do I go about sir?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Srujan,

      One can join Civil Services till the age of 30...as it used to be...so better late than never :)
      best

      Delete
  47. Sir plz reply soon as Ive cleared CSE Pre n last date for filling online form is 10th September.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hello Sir,
    Your blog was too inspiring for me, thanks for the important and useful information that you had provided in your blog, it was very helpful for me.
    I am a hotel management graduate with an experience of one and half years with Oberoi hotels, recently i planned to move a step ahead with my career and ended up deciding applying for Indian Foreign services. I never planned for it much before, i am 22 years old and is it impossible for a 22 year person to apply for IFS or any civil services as he is too young to be a officer in civil services and if not how should i plan for the exams to get the expecting results.
    please help, i am only person in my family to apply for civil services, so have no one for guidance.
    thanks sir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shreyas,
      I believe the minimum age for applying for the Civil Services is still 21 years and maximum 30 years. You can start preparing. Wish you all the best.

      Delete
  49. Hello sir,
    I need your guidance regarding Indian police service. this is my second attempt in CSE.
    I have some apprehensions with respect to IPS service. Like,
    -- life risk involved in the job (much bothering)
    -- difficult to have work life balance
    -- can soft natured people succeed in this profession

    Since you are already in the service and might be knowing lot of people working as IPS, do you feel these reasons valid or they just mere apprehensions due to ignorance. If at all these reasons are valid, I would like to admit them honestly to the interviewer. But does it fare badly in my score. If these are mere apprehensions i would change my mind and opt for IPS, because it provides more opportunities after IAS to serve the society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ranjan,

      Every service has its positives and negatives and your apprehensions are true to some extent for other services as well. So look at the positives of any service that inspires you, the rest will fall in line.

      best

      Delete
  50. Hello sir,

    Are people serving as SSC in Indian army allowed to write civil service examinations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Arun

      You ay like to check it with UPSC or your senior colleagues in the army.

      best

      Delete
  51. Hello Sir, can you give me a picture of the Ministry of External Affairs Assistant's(Gr-B) that are recruited through SSC.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hello Sir,
    I am a student at IIT Bombay and my interest lies in economics and foreign affairs.I like to know new people and meet people from various cultures.I like to study and research in economics.I want to join IFS but the problem is I can't leave Economics.Are there some IFS Officers who are also economists or work in the field of economics?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello RamanDeep,
      Yes, there are a few IFS officers who specialize in Economics and have served with the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank such as Jamini Bhagwati... You can follow their path.
      best

      Delete
  53. Sir, I would like to clear following doubts of mine regarding IFS.It's about joining international organisation like UN.
    1.IS joining UN means losing IFS ?
    2.If i want to join UN, then i have to apply like a fresh applicant or my IFS is enough for it ?
    3.Can one enjoy benefit of IFS while serving for UN ?

    I would be happy if you please explain this topic ( Joining international organisation from IFS )

    Thanks in advance for your valuable suggestion & also for your time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andromeda,

      1. no 2. you need to apply for UN separately 3.no, but one remains part of the IFS

      best

      Delete
  54. 1. Sir is it true that once selected in IAS or IFS, you cant give the UPSC Civil Service Exam again, until u resign from service?
    2. Sir what do u think is the main reason that uptil 1980's, IFS used to close within 15 All India Rank .... but now it closes around 150 All India Rank?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shreyoshi,

      1. yes, that's correct

      2. changing priorities and taste of the applicants, lack of awareness what IFS offers, easy international travel etc.

      best

      Delete
  55. how many countries can an IFS officer visit during his career?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Sir. Thanks for reaching out.
    1. How much salary does language trainee get?
    2. What if he fails the language test?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abhishek Roy- no idea.

      Adwaith- on an average an IFS officers gets to work in 6-8 countries but one visits a large number of countries on temporary duty.

      Mohit- thanks, 1.Around 50,000 at the HQ, 2. he will not be confirmed in the Service, though this rarely happens...

      best

      Delete
  57. Sir.. I'm a Chartered Accountant who is weighing the option of taking up Civil Service Exams, to eventually get into Indian Foreign Service. I love travelling, meeting people, getting to know culture and always having something new to do.I'm 21 and everything seems perfect to me now. If I choose & qualify to be an Officer at IFS, I'm wondering as to how will life be after say 10 years.


    Your blog about the service as in IFS officer is very informative. Could you please throw some more light on the exit options available? Like sometime after 6-7 years of service if I have to come back to India and settle what are my options available?

    Archana Venur
    hana.vs@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archana,

      You have most of the qualities a diplomat should have...

      You are already a Chartered Accountant, so you can always get back to this profession if you don't like IFS much after 6-7 years and settle in India.

      best

      Delete
    2. Thank you Abhay :)

      Am just wondering ,apart from CA.. Based on my IFS service, would I have options??

      Delete
    3. Sir, thank you for your sweet and crisp response. A few queries.

      1. Does this Job involve pressures to perform unethical actions? Eg bribery, corruption

      2. If in a country that prohibits religious practice, a diplomat is found possessing religious texts, will he be prosecuted?

      3. How far can diplomatic immunity help?

      4. Apart from maintaining relationships with India, can a diplomat influence decisions that make him a social reformer in the host county?

      Thanks in advance.

      Delete
    4. Hello Abraham,
      1. no 2. no 3. Immunity is only for letting the diplomat perform his diplomatic duties 4.rarely. best wishes

      Delete
  58. A great blog.
    I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me.
    - Can I ask for a particular embassy/consulate for posting? Not necessarily in countries like G5 or G8. What are my chances of getting such posting.
    - I think there are higher study options, how can one make good use for it?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      -yes and most likely you'll get it
      -yes, one can take study leave and attend great universities
      best wishes

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply.
      -Does the govt subsidize/reimburse such courses fees? Is it necessary for such courses to be related to diplomacy? Are those leaves paid or unpaid? Apologies for digging so deep.
      -Can one ask for deputations to UN/WB/ADB and can one come back and take charge back in govt?
      Thanks again.

      Delete
  59. Sir,
    Your blog is really an enlightening one! I have become a great fan of yours!
    I aspire to become an IFS Oficer. Right now I am pursuing Bsc (H) Biochemistry from Delhi University. Will this course pose any problem in pursuing CS?
    I plan to take CSAT Coaching from Rao's Study Circle, New Delhi after completing my Bachelors.Would this coaching help me clear CSE if I work hard?
    How can I start preparing myself from now itself (I am in my 2nd year of Bsc)?
    I read Manorama Year Book regularly. Which other books should I read?
    I also want to know that if I clear the CSE and I choose IFS, can I still continue my studies (i.e., Masters and PhD)?
    I am working hard! Please bless me and help me with my doubts?
    :-) Aishwarya Chandran

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Aishwarya for your kind words!
      No
      I have no idea about this particular coaching institute, but hard work will certainly pay.
      You can look at the past year questions and try to answer them.
      You can read magazines devoted to Civil Services Exam. My time, Civil Services Chronicles, Pratiyogita Darpan etc used to be good ones
      You won't have time and need for all that after getting into IFS
      with best wishes

      Delete
  60. Respected sir,
    I have been an avid reader of this site for quite a long time and thanks a lot for motivating me towards my goal..
    You have cleared so many doubts of mine, and so many myths about this elite , covetous service has been shattered now.Thank you for that.
    I have a silly doubt but i really want to know.If an IFS officer don't know driving can he hire a chauffeur? Or are there any allowances?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks RK for your kind words.
      Yes, an IFS officer gets enough money to buy a car and hire a chauffeur. best

      Delete
  61. Respected Sir,
    I liked your article. Thank you for the same. I am Kumari Bramha Deokar form Pune studying in IX standard. I strongly wish to join IFS. Pl kindly guide.
    Thank you,
    Brahma Deokar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Brahma
      please read the book River Valley to Silicon Valley available at http://www.flipkart.com/river-valley-silicon-valley-story-three-generations-indian-family-1st/p/itmdyv5bnkghdurk?pid=9788189640392&icmpid=reco_bp_historyFooter_book_1
      best

      Delete
  62. Do you think the MEA will split into 2 and people from the pvt sector will in the near future take up ambassadorial positions in the MEA.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Dear sir,
    I would like to provide a bit of background to my previous comment.
    http://www.babusofindia.com/2013/04/why-narendra-modis-advice-to-split-mea.html

    ReplyDelete
  64. Dear Sir,
    Another follow up to my previous question would be the effect on the IFS as a career if the MEA is divided. Will IFS officials be involved in economic diplomacy and what will happen if people from the private sector are recruited. Will they occupy and replace the IFS from important positions. Sir , please read all my posts together and not separately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Soham,
      these are hypothetical questions, best left to the future to answer.
      best

      Delete
  65. howmuch marks will have to be obtained in civil services according to the new pattern of exam 2013 to get chance in foreign Services?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Respected Sir,
    I am 15 yrs old.
    I was truly inspired by your blog, and dream of becoming an IFS officer.
    Could you guide me as to what are the favorable and useful subjects that one must pursue to clear the CSE and become an IFS officer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arunava, no idea

      Rushali, please read River Valley to Silicon Valley : A Civil Servant's Tale http://www.flipkart.com/river-valley-silicon-valley-story-three-generations-indian-family-1st/p/itmdyv5bnkghdurk?pid=9788189640392&icmpid=reco_bp_historyFooter_book_1

      best

      Delete
  67. Thank You, Sir For The Blog.
    These Days Civil Services Aspirant Are Not Much Aware About Foreign Service.
    This Helps Them To Develop Their Knowledge About IFS.

    Sir, My Question Is That From Which Point Of Their Carrer, An IFS Officer Can Apply For UN??
    How Much They Are Paid While In UN??
    Thank You, Sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks
      Yes, the salary at UN varies from job to job.
      best

      Delete
  68. Dear Sir, Thanks for the informative blog. I'm 28 yrs old and a Software engineer by profession (with 7yrs of IT work experience). I'm planning to attempt 2014 CS exam aspiring IFS. If selected, will my age be a deterrent in any way for the advancement of my career in IFS? Kindly give your opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks,
      i don't think so as the max age limit is still 30.
      best

      Delete
  69. sir,
    How knowledge of geography helps in the job of an IFS officer?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Sir, I am partially blind, (one eyed). Am I eligible for Indian Foreign Service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. george, UPSC is in the best position to answer this, please write to them.
      best wishes

      Delete
  71. hello sir,
    i an sumit my age is 16 and i am in +2(non med) i want to appear in IFS exam so sir kindly grant me your opinion how should i start my preparation from now and sir also provide me the whole procedure of appearance in this exam.
    Thank you
    e-mail; sumittewari54@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello sir. is it necessary that for attempting ifs exam the degree should be from indian institut
      ion

      Delete
    2. nana rao, sumit,
      please read River Valley to Silicon Valley
      http://www.flipkart.com/river-valley-silicon-valley-story-three-generations-indian-family-1st/p/itmdyv5bnkghdurk?pid=9788189640392&icmpid=reco_bp_historyFooter_book_1

      Delete
  72. Hi sir,
    Its my dream to become an IFS but because of financial issues i couldn't start preparation,but now i want to start,sir i want to know how much salary they offered for fresh IFS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sirja
      IFS officers get good salary. Pl don't worry about it.
      best

      Delete
  73. Sir,
    I am an IFS aspirant. I want to know what type of facilities are provided to IFS officers when they are in india? Are they provided with personal security guards like IAS officers? What are the difference between facilities provided to IAS officers and IFS officers? And is having Maths as the optional subject in CSE Mains going to affect during the interview as I am doing my B.Tech in CSE and my Mathematics is very strong?
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abir,
      No,
      IFS officers get Foreign Allowance while serving abroad, this is not available to IAS officers
      No, maths as an optional has no negative or positive effects on your interview
      best

      Delete
  74. HI !!!! sir i'm a 9th studentwith a good performance . I want to join IFS. can u guide me about which stream in 11th I take and what further requirements are needed.? Sir please ellaborate ....

    P.S. - I am not very hardworking student but gets A1 overall........I just study about 1 hr a day (SELF_STUDy) shouls i increase my studying...........?

    1.If i want to become an CS engineer and then give my civil service exam then ..... is that gonna effect my chances.....?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mayank, please read River Valley to Silicon Valley: A Civil Servant's Tale http://www.flipkart.com/river-valley-silicon-valley-story-three-generations-indian-family-1st/p/itmdyv5bnkghdurk?pid=9788189640392&icmpid=reco_bp_historyFooter_book_1

      Delete
  75. Helllo Sir.

    My sister wants to pursue her career in IFS/IAS, but then can she marry a foreigner?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hey! A quick question. I completed my BSc in Biotechnology from an Indian University but i did my Masters in Biotechnology & Enterprise from a foreign University. I just turned 21 this October. Am i still eligible to apply for the civil service exam?

    Would appreciate a reply. Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For UPSC, its the 1st august of the year in which you are going to appear for the exam . So if your age is 21+ on 1st august 2014 ( assuming that u r going to make it on 2014 ) , you are perfectly eligible :) Good luck

      Delete
  77. Hello sir I am Dhruv Upadhayay.Sir i have completed my degree in mech. engg. from AICTE through part time.
    Sir it took me time to decide my destiny But now i m very dedicated to reach to my destiny
    My age is 27 year old. Can it is possible to get this goal at this stage.

    Please reply must

    if it is possible then give me some motivation

    otherwise tell me the real truth

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! Its never too late ya.. u just have to be sincere and determined.. i dont know when Sir is gonna reply to our msgs but just saw ur msg in my e-mail n wantd to motivate u.. Dont worry and dont panic. You have a chance and make good use of it.. study hard, work day and night and nuthn is gonna be imposible..Take care :-)

      Delete
    2. I have been trying for this job since 2012. Again going to appear UPSC 2014 for the third & last time.M now 28 , dont know how many hurdles i have to face as a late entrant to this job ( at the age of 29 ) But, better late than never, so still trying my level best.

      Delete
    3. Hi Dhruv, No issues with age...try your best. Thanks Soumyalipa and Andromeda for replying to Dhrub.

      Delete
  78. Hello Sir,
    First and foremost thank you for your blog. It is very informative.
    Without further ado, these are my doubts. I would be grateful if you could kindly help me get a clear picture.
    1) I am a final year architecture student from Pune. After graduation I'm planning to keep architecture aside and prepare only for the IFS .I am getting mixed opinions from people of various fields. As I will have had spent 5 years doing my degree and to then spend time only preparing for the exam without a job is a waste of time is what I have been told.
    But I am determined for IFS, and thus am eager to only sit and study for the exams. I have spent 5 years doing architecture, will this background help me?
    2)I belong to Sc/St category. I have heard that even at this premier level of services in the foreign services, there is a certain level of discrimination on the basis of caste. For eg being sent to more difficult countries, preference not given to countries like UK, US etc. Does this happen?
    3) I am a girl, so I would like to know the challenges women face. How do issues like getting married, starting a family work out if own gets posted every three years to a new place?
    Thank you sir, in advance. I appreciate the blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shra,

      1. One has to take a chance, in this case you have rightly decided to study for the exam only. One needs a Bachelor's degree to sit for the UPSC CS Exam, I don't know if Architecture is one of the optional subjects for CS Exam.

      2.I have not come across any such discrimination.
      3. There are several married lady IFS officers with children who have risen to the topmost positions in the IFS, so it would not be an issue. You'll learn to manage.
      best

      Delete
  79. Respected Sir,
    First of all thanks a lot for this informative post.
    I want to know if a strictly vegetarian ( one who can't eat onion, garlic etc and does not drink, is hesitant to offer it as well) can join IFS.
    Essentially, do reservations in eating and mixing up outside the meetings a deterrent to being a good diplomat?
    And if the answer is Yes, then are there other positions in IFS that do not require direct person-to-person contact?
    Thank you again in advance. I really liked the page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks
      there are several strictly vegetarian IFS officers who are good diplomats as a diplomat is required to be a good host and feed others what they like, but he is free to eat what he/she likes.
      best

      Delete
    2. Respected Sir,
      Thanks a lot for your encouragement.....

      Delete
  80. Sir, could you please explain the possible hurdles an IFS officer has to face if he is a late entrant to this prestigious job ?? I am now 28 & am going to appear for UPSC 2014 for the third & last time. So if i get selected , will it be a problem for me because am a late entrant ( 29 years ) ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no hurdles as such for a late entrant...only possible limitation could be retirement after just 31 years of service and possibility of not making it to topmost job in the Foreign Service i.e. to be a Secretary of Govt. of India.
      best

      Delete
  81. Sir, Thank you for this wonderful blog. Just few questions:-
    1. Is there a lot of favoritism/politics when it comes to plum postings (the A* and A category)? Or is that 'politics' as normal as it is in any organisation where there are more takers for a few desired posts?
    2. Can living abroad in a different culture get lonely at times?

    I know that no job is perfect in this world. Perhaps my questions touch the cons of this job. But from what I have read about IFS, it seems to be a very exciting career and I would like to be a IFS officer one day. I am studying management studies and am in my second year. I will give the CSE in 2015. I hope that i make it in my first attempt.
    Thank you for your time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shashwat,
      1. No, there is a great degree of transparency in postings.
      2. Yes, but a good diplomat should have breakfast, lunch and dinner with different people and that's makes a diplomat's life very interesting.

      Wish you success.

      Delete
  82. hi sir, can you explain me i am 21 now appear for upsc but i not have any foreign languase degree so is that any problem for IFS.

    ReplyDelete
  83. sir,
    could u pls throw some light into the counties where the recent recruits gets posted?
    is there always a pattern that they would initially be posted in the "troubled" countries??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shashi,
      the news recruits get posted to China, France, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany...not to any troubled place.

      Delete
  84. Sir, Great blog . It was very informative.
    I have small query please reply if you find some time.
    I am in the final year of college and IFS is my dream job as traveling the world and working for India are my 2 passions. I am preparing for UPSC exams , The question is - Is IFS a good career option for a girl? Another question is - How to justify the choice of IFS>IAS in interview?
    Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks RJS
      - Yes, IFS is a very good career option for a lady. The canvas of IFS is the whole world, if IAS, a cadre which is just a state of India. An IFS officer spends his initial years in world capitals (Moscow, Paris, Beijing etc), an IAS officer in a remote district of India...do you want more reasons...Diplomacy is one of the oldest professions in the world and one of the most exciting one...there is no parallel.
      All the best.

      Delete
  85. Hello Sir,
    I want to know that is it possible to clear the IAS exam without any help of a coaching centre ? and what should be the mindset of an IAS aspirant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Yes. A coaching centre makes it easier though.
      To be committed to serve one's country and people.

      Delete
  86. Good morning sir,
    my self arjun tomar my D.O.B is 26/march/1991.
    currently i am doing engineering from u.t.u in computer science.
    i am in a 2nd year now,category-general.
    Is iam eligeble for thie civil service exam of i.f.s according to my age?
    i am going to finish my b.tech in 2016.
    if not ,so kindly please... help me to suggest the path for the job in abroad.
    i am too much confuse .i don't have someone to suggest me the right path
    thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll be eligible only after completing B.Tech degree in 2016.
      best wishes

      Delete
  87. sir i want to know that if i clear cse at age of 24 in what age will i get my first forein posting

    ReplyDelete
  88. hello sir how many countries you have been moved bynow please name it and what will be the future programme?

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hello sir,
    I'm 19 B.A. pass and i am an ardent civil services aspirant, in specific IFS but due to hard economic conditions at home i am not able to prepare for it.I cannot wait for two years to give the UPSC exam and if i do so my parents will marry me off plus being an arts graduate its also difficult to find a comfortable job with which i can continue my studies for UPSC exam.please guide me as to what to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can give tuition and earn a little to take care of yourself while you prepare for the CS exam. You don't have to depend on parents at this age. all the best.

      Delete
  90. respected sir whether an ifs officer ;s family get a free accommodation in india

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hello sirji, i am preparing for ICS, keen to join IFS.
    Q1.Suppose midway through my career as a diplomat, i wish to leave the service Then considering the skills gained while in the IFS, what other career choices would i be left with?
    Q2. Since i have been preparing for 1.5 years or so, i have become an introvert.Do introverts have some problem fitting into the foreign service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. You may join politics or a private multinational company, negotiating skills will be of great value.
      2. As you have become introvert, you can also become extrovert.

      Delete
  92. Thank you for such a informative blog.
    Sole aim of my life is to see, hear and feel the World. As i am not rich I have done a lot of research to find out the way to fulfill my dream of extensive traveling through out the world and ... at last i stopped to IFS. Can you please explain whether IFS can fulfill my dream or not??
    I need one clarification. In your blog in one place you have said that as a IFS officer one have chance of visiting more than 100 countries and in another place you have mentioned that one will be posted to only 6-8 countries in his entire service tenure with several temporary visits. That means .... will there be more than 90 temporary visits to different countries??
    Waiting eagerly for your reply ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should join the merchant navy if you want to see the world at someone else's expense. Join IFS if you want to shape the world.
      Yes, that's correct, usually an IFS officer does 6-8 Foreign postings, the rest are temporary visits during different phases of one's career.

      Delete
  93. Hello Sirji,
    Q1. I think that if i opt for IFS ahead of IAS,IPS i am trading off
    power(debatable)
    economic security( future career changing opportunity in private sector),
    boring and file pushing job(especially for those who do their job the way they ought to be doing),
    chance for getting kashimir, himachal ,uttarakhand cadre( i love nature, silent places)

    with
    exposure,chance to learn so many languages,
    travelling across the globe and learning a lot,
    experiences that i would really cherish ,
    economic insecurity(dont know career prospects if i wish to leave the service later on to get into private sector).
    Is this trade off really worth it?
    Q2. Most of the ifs officers develop literary interests,become poets and writers and thus participate in literary events.Although I read a lot, I do not wish to develop literary events, i am more interested in sports(chess, tennis), technology etc.Are such tech events held by embassies?
    Q3.I came across some ifs officers who left the service after 9-10 years(like Mr B shantanu) .According to them , posting and promotions are pretty crooked in IFS , just like in ias,ips. ,poor housing facilities back in India.When they came back to India after 9 years, their future did not seem rosy, so they left the service?But they all did so about 10-15 years ago?What is the situation nowadays?
    Q4. I do not like to stay in noisy and polluted places like Delhi?But embassies and consulates are always in major cities.Are foreign cities say in europe or middle east as polluted and noisy like indian cities?
    Q5 Do ifs officers feel homesick, especially if thier parents are back in india?
    Q6.If an ifs officer does not foreign postings and wished to stay in india for more than the mandated 1/3 tenure, can he do so with ease? I mean does he get the approval easily for the same?

    ReplyDelete
  94. Sir,
    I read in an article written by Mrs. Indrani Bagchi published in 2011 that nowadays IFS officers have a very restricted role,
    1.If any negotiations are to take place, due to fast means of travel and communication, the ministers along with their delegation(comprising ias and other businessman) prefer to do it themselves.
    2.Due to an increasingly interconnected world, most important areas in foreign service are economy,trade,counter terrorism,environment.But in these positions instead of having diplomats, we have ias officers, people from ministry of commerce and environment,defence attahce, other area specialists.
    3.India has virtually joined NATO(no action , talk only) in matters of diplomacy due to variety of reasons.
    4.The ifs just man the consulates and embassies, thats it.

    Is what i have written above true?
    Q. What role do you see for the IFS in future(say 10 -15 years down the line) considering the above situation.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hello sir,
    Sir I need your guidance because I'm very much confused that if i do my graduation from any foreign university in abroad then would not be eligible for ifs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please check if the degree given by that foreign university is recognized by the Indian UGC.

      Delete
  96. hello sir.. i am an air force officer as a short service commission serving as a medical officer. i wanted to ask you something if you could come out with hard core facts. what i am aware is that if an armed forces officer or for that matter any class 1 officer after 5 years of service leaves and then gets selected in UPSC, say for eg in IFS, or for that matter IAS, he gets five year antedate seniority. what i actually want to know is how does that seniority work. i mean ofcourse i ll have to start as a trainee for a couple of years but then will these five years compensated in my future promotions or is this seniority only in pay band?
    regards ankit batra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think one gets 5 years age compensation, not seniority, which means your seniority will be counted from the day you join the IFS.

      Delete
  97. Hello Mr.Abhay,

    Kudos to you for such a great blog.
    I am an IFS aspirant and preparing for CS 2014.
    I am a central govt employee and a grade 'A' officer. I have finished 5 years of service with DOS. I have a query reg the seniority considered,if a central govt employee is selected as an IFS/IAS officer. Will the experience be counted as part of the new job or we have to start fresh again.(In terms of pay band as well as seniority).

    ReplyDelete
  98. Very Informative.
    Deeply Inspired.
    Does anyone knows the stipend or salary during training period of 3 years(if any) ?
    Regards
    Mankanwaldeep rampal

    ReplyDelete
  99. Sir, why do IFS officers find themselves in a problem with their domestic help?Is it because the foreign allowance is not adequate?

    ReplyDelete
  100. Sir, what is the salary structure like at the moment in the IFS? Is it the Rs. 21000 basic pay to start with. Can you give a rough estimate of the gross salary at 1st posting abroad?
    Amrendra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mankanwaldeep & Amrendra,

      The salary plus foreign allowance is over Rs. 1 lakh in the beginning years while posted abroad.

      Delete
  101. Hello Sir,
    Your blog has helped answer a lot of my questions. However there are two question that i request you to help me with.
    1. Could you give a range of the rank that one should get in the CSE so as to be eligible for IFS?
    2. Are we given a choice between IAS, IPS and IFS? If yes, then what is the chance of you getting your first preference?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks
      1. under 100
      2. pretty tough but top rankers do get their choice

      Delete
  102. Sir,

    I am very thankful to you for answering my every question without even asking a single one. Thank you for writing a great book - From River Valley to Silicon Valley just for me. Thank you for your online presence. Thank you for sharing so much info which I could not have found anywhere else.

    Myself, Kiran Kondru and am a IFS aspirant trying for the last 2 years, but couldn't qualify. After reading your blog and then your book, my aspirations are reignited. Thanks again but please continue to do what you have been doing - writing your experiences, poems, painting, shooting and above all diplomacy of course :).Thanks for being you.

    I do TM too and am grateful for it. Sir, I have but one question.
    I have asthma. Mostly it's under control but sometimes it flares up. If I get past interview, will I be allowed to join with my medical condition?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Kiran for your kind words and never give up.
      Asthma cannot be an obstacle in your joining the IFS.

      Delete
  103. Hello, sir!
    I'm a Computer Science Engineering Student, 2nd year, and I wish to become an IFS officer. I've learnt French for 5 years, and am pretty good at it.
    Could you please name some institute(s) in India where proper training is given for the entrance exam?
    And, knowledge of which fields is purely necessary to clear the test?
    And is it a waste if I give the first attempt of the test while studying for my final year of B.Tech.?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Saksham
      There are several coaching institutes in Delhi and I am sure in others parts of India that help one to prepare for the CSE. Please read Civil Services magazines to get more idea about which one suits you the best. There you'll also get to know more about the CSE syllabus etc. best wishes

      Delete
  104. hi sir
    i am 18 yr old girl currently in sybcom. I know basics of german and japanese and french. I got 94% in SSC (without beast of five) and 82% in HSC with german.
    i gave cpt and cleared but because of some things i am not pursuing CA. And i don't want to give second attempt in ipcc.
    I came across this article because i became interested in IFS.
    I love travelling and adventure.
    1.Is IFS is better than CA?
    2.To pass the upsc exam one has to study exactly what and when to start studying?
    3.Is becoming IFS is costly? because in CA one spends normally Rs.2 to 3 lakhs over 5 to 6 years.
    4.Can an IFS officer marry someone of different nationality?
    5.And can an IFS officer settles in different country permanently after retirement and still gets pension?
    I know you are a busy person but kindly answer my questions. It will clear some of my doubts.
    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  105. Sir

    Thank you for the informative description. I am an electrical engineering undergraduate. Ever since I have thought of preparing for the civil services, I have had one big question - why is it that everyone discourages aspirants to take up engineering subjects for the examinations? I wished to take up electrical engineering but I did not as everyone i sought advice from objected against it.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete