Friday, January 3, 2014

Life in the Indian Foreign Service

-Abhay K.
Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is unlike any other Civil Service such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the 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 three months of training, comprising training in multiple disciplines including a foreign language, horse riding and trekking in theHimalayas, a Foreign Service Probationer/Officer trainee moves to the Foreign Service Institute located in New Delhi for further training.

At the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi, which is located on Baba Gangnath Marg near Jawaharlal University (JNU) campus, a Foreign Service Probationer undergoes training for a year in modules of International Relations, Indian Foreign Service Pay, Leave and Compensatory Allowances (IFS-PLCA) Rules andForeign Trade. One also travels to  the neighbouring South Asian countries or the United Nations to understand the functioning of an Indian mission. An officer-trainee undergoes attachments with the Army, Navy and the Air Force, with the district and the state administration as well as the corporate sector. 




After the end of the training at 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 its completion, an IFS probationer is allocated a Compulsory Foreign Language (CFL) such as Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish or any other language as per the requirements of the Ministry. Afterwards one is posted at an Indian mission as a Third Secretary (Language Trainee) where the probationer learns the allocated foreign language. 


After successful completion of allocated compulsory foreign language, a proficiency test is administered to the Language Trainee 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 be confirmed in the Service from the date of joining the Indian Foreign Service as a Probationer.

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

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 city of that country. A consulate functions under the supervision of an Embassy. 

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). 

A Second Secretary at 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) up to 12th standard. Government also provides Representational Grant (RG) to diplomats to entertain the important people of the country where one is posted. 

An average day of a Second Secretary starts at 8 a.m reading local newspapers, driving to 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 in New Delhi, 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/reading 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 at 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. At the Headquarters one gets a decent accommodation provided by the Government in premium locations in New Delhi (Chanakyapuri, K.G. Marg, Gole Market etc.) but has to arrange for one's own transport (transport allowance is given by the Govt.)


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 by the Ministry from time to time (usually at an interval of six months). If one is lucky then one gets one of the three places of one's choice. Foreign postings are decided by the Foreign Service Board which is headed by the Foreign Secretary.


After completing one's tenure in a given Mission/Post, the officer is again posted for three years to another Indian Mission/Post located in another country. Govt. pays 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 follows -

While abroad at an Indian Mission/Post-

Third Secretary(Language Trainee); -> Second Secretary: -> First Secretary; ->Counsellor (After 13 yrs of service); ->Minister (After 17 yrs of service) -> Ambassador

While in India at MEA Headquarters-



Attache; Under Secretary-> Deputy Secretary (9 yrs of Service)-> Director (13 yrs of Service)-> Joint Secretary (17 yrs of Service)-> 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 17 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 who has been awarded SAARC Literature Award and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has penned the Earth Anthem and first ever South Asian Anthem. Views expressed are personal. You may share your thoughts  @theabhayk

231 comments:

  1. Dear Sir

    I've been following your articles regarding IFS for a while. Thanks for enlightening us so far.
    Allow me to put my queries related to IFS -

    1 - generally how much interference from political side (or say one's higher connections) affect an IFS officer's transfer/posting/promotion/chances for other unusual opportunity. Though it(connections)'s omnipresence in government dept is well accepted but I'm wondering if it's possible for an independent IFS officer to make his/her way on his/her own ?

    2 - It'd be really motivating for an aspiring IFS to come to know about the type of challenges s/he may face while in service. like does an IFS get an opportunity to be part of govt's intelligence services. Apart from the comforting socialization what are the tough and crucial challenges an IFS office might face.

    Thanks.

    ps - Sir you can always refuse to answer my first question for obvious reasons. but if you do answer, please be close to reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Himanshu,

      1. Political interference is close to negligible in the IFS. Only a hard working and talented IFS officer can make it to the top and on one's own without anyone's support.
      2. An IFS is a diplomat and leads a team to oversee comprehensive relationship between India and other countries.
      best wishes

      Delete
    2. sir, i'm doing graduation in B.A programme 2nd year .is it is the correct time for preparation of civil services. and i also want to know that an ifs officer also tranfers to countries like iran ,iraq, libya aur israel

      Delete
  2. Hi Sir,
    What are the career prospects for person in MEA who joins as Assistant after clearing the CGL. What is the highest post he can go upto?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Gorav,

      It depends on the talent and hard work of the person joining at the Assistant level...one can stay Assistant, can become a Section Officer or even an Under Secretary after passing departmental exams.
      best

      Delete
  3. Hello Sir,
    what is the present amount of foreign allowance in moscow that
    1)a second secretary earn ??? and
    2)an ambassador earn??
    please provide the exact amount that you know

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deepak,
      The exact figures can be obtained from Embassy of India, Moscow.
      thanks

      Delete
  4. Dear Sir,

    As an aspirant, I have a few queries:-

    1. From your answers to other queries, I was made to understand that the language preference depends on the rank in UPSC. Is the rank still taken into account if my preference is to serve in India's UN Permanent Mission right from start?

    2. Or, is it required (compulsarily?) for me to first gain experience/serve at a diplomatic mission first; only then would I be given a post at the Permanent Mission?

    3. Also, is their any preference given to the officer whether he wants to serve in an Embassy or at a Consulate?

    Thank you in advance.

    Looking for a forthwith reply.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Apoc

      1. yes , one does not get to serve in India's UN Permanent Mission right from the start.

      2. yes 3. Yes.

      best wishes

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Palak,

      a. they should b. follow the time-target approach, try to cover max syllabus in min time c. no, directly join the UN.
      best

      Delete
  6. Hi Sir, Can assistant in MEA take his parents aborad if posted outside India?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Sir! First and foremost, I would like to thank you for having given an insight into the IFS. I am currently pursuing B.E. degree in the field of computer science. I would like to know about the 'scope' a person with an engineering background would have in the Indian Foreign Services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A person with engineering background has a great scope in IFS.

      Delete
  8. Hello Sir,
    I read your book "RIVER VALLEY TO SILICON VALLEY" and it is really wonderful and motivating, sir.

    1)Does every IFS officer have to work as Regional passport officer at least once in their Carrier. Do they have option to avoid that?

    2) I am a south Indian and don't know Hindi. Would that be any problem?(though I would love to learn once I get the opportunity)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks.

      1. no, they don't have to if they don't want to.
      2. no problems, one learns languages throughout one's life.

      best

      Delete
  9. hello sir,i have heard that there is no compulsion from MEA for foreign posting.i mean if someone wants to stay in india for whole of his job tenure.MEA don't force him for foreign posting.here i am talking about for ASSISTANT IN MEA.if not,then what action can MEA take against him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. why to join foreign service if one wants to serve in India all one's life...

      Delete
  10. Hello Sir,

    Can an IFS refuse to go if posted in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan(turbulent countries)? Does he have that option?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no, an IFS has to serve India where government posts him/her including difficult places.

      Delete
  11. hello sir,
    I have heard that there is no compulsion from MEA for foreign posting.i mean if someone wants to stay in india (delhi) for whole of his job tenure,MEA don't force him for foreign posting.is it true or not...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Ajay,
      why join foreign service then...there are many other Central Services one can join...
      best

      Delete
  12. Hi, I am not sure if this question has been asked earlier. Is 24 too late to start preparing for the CS?

    ReplyDelete
  13. hi sir , plz tell about date of birth issue...like on my passport i m 89 but on matric or ssc certificate i m 90 and i have given upsc exam on basis of matric bob i.e 90...sir would it will be problem for me as an selected ifs officer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. School certificate is the basis of your date of birth. you should rectify the mistake made on your passport at the earliest...furnishing wrong information to get a passport is a punishable offence.
      best

      Delete
  14. Hi,
    Your blog is really good and inspiring. I am 24 year MBA grad from IIM and wish to opt for career in civil services like IFS,IAS. Kindly provide some pointers as to how I can crack the exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, may advise you to read River Valley to Silicon Valley http://www.flipkart.com/river-valley-silicon-valley-story-three-generations-indian-family-abhay-k-english-bookwell-paperback-edition-1st-1st/p/itmdyv5bnkghdurk?pid=9788189640392&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=river+valley+to+silicon+valley&ref=a0d66b27-ca61-4c5a-9da6-8ad9bc2d16cd

      Delete
  15. Dear Sir,

    I would be very thankful if you could guide me for the upcoming interviews of UPSC 2013-14. IFS is my first and only service preference.

    Kindly get back to me on jaieshinde@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best wishes for the interview Jaie...

      Delete
  16. Sir, I have opted for PCM in class 11 and am planning to do a B.Tech followed by The CSE. Is this a viable option?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear Abhay Sir,
    Hope you doing exceedingly well these days. Some quick questions after reading your blogs and watching you do yoga!;)
    When you are inducted in IFS..
    can you choose your work area, like economic or trade diplomacy? Is any prior experience reqd. or training will be imparted even without background?
    In India only in New delhi is the posting done ? Not in mumbai ?
    Can I involve myself in voluntary org. like entrepreneurship network or as a startup investor? can I earn from other sources?
    How much would I earn in delhi? I come from a business family, so trade off is imp. or else this question ..little unsuitable !:P
    regards,
    shubham

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heelo Shubham,
      One has to work in all areas, political, economic, trade, cultural, consular etc. One gets trained at the Foreign Service Institute after joining the service. In India one can be posted at the Regional Passport Offices and Branch Secretariats of MEA, besides Delhi. Yes, but one hardly gets time, diplomacy is a 24X7 job. One earns well enough in IFS.
      bests

      Delete
  18. Hello Abhay,

    There are posts to IFS through SSC examination besides UPSC. Would like to know how is the nature of the work different? Is the difference only in the initial years and later are the both sections allotted to same office posts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recruitment happens through SSC for rthe supporting staff and officials of the IFS. There is a huge difference throughout the career.

      Delete
  19. 1.can one become foreign secretary after joining in service at the age of 27.?
    2.can you mention 5 complaints usually an ifs officer make about his job ?
    3.also can you tell 5 reasons why u love your job ?
    thank you sir...i really adore your life...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Theoretically yes.
      2. Frequent dislocation, cultural shocks, expensive places, children's education issues, spouse's work issues
      3. meet interesting people everyday, change countries/continents every 3 years, have the ability to impact lives of others and make a difference, financial worries are taken care of, get enough time and space to pursue art, literature
      thanks for this interesting question.

      Delete
  20. Hello Abhay Sir,

    1)Regarding the foreign allowance i couldn't find any resources, i also had a look on the embassy's site(russia).
    Can you provide a "general picture" of the foreign allowance earned by each hierarchy of indian diplomats abroad??(third,second,first,consul,minister,ambassador)
    2)ias officers can go on deputation to indian embassy, is this true?

    Thank You Sir:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deepak,
      1. Foreign allowance varies from country to country depending upon the cost of living. However it goes upwards of approx. USD 2500 from third secretary...
      2. yes, for some posts.
      best

      Delete
  21. Sir, I was looking for your mail but could not find it so posting it here.
    Hi Sir, I would deeply express my gratitude to you for sharing the glimpses of your life with me and millions other who look forward to persons like you not only for inspiration but also to have faith in ourselves .I am indebted to you as you have helped me today to do away with my dilemmas and give a stability to my bohemian lifestyle.
    Your book “River Valley to Silicon Valley” is a wonderful piece of work and insight into life.
    At the same time I would like to bring to your notice some of the areas of the book where I think inadvertently typing mistakes have crept in the current printed version available through FlipKart. Please look into it for future prints.
    Disclaimer: These are my observations as a reader and do not intend to find faults with anyone and should be viewed just as a positive feedback from the reading community and in no way otherwise.
    Fields mentioned are supposedly of concern:
    1. Page 16: New paragraph 1st line “….those days (not required and a repetition) I……” .
    Next paragraph 5th line “….. everyday till t (not required) my father….”
    2. Page 18: 5th line “…….relieve ourselves or just wonder (should be “wander”) about……” .
    3. Page 26: 12th line of new para “……carom, lido…” (should be “carrom, ludo”).
    4. Page 29: Suggestion to include spelling Muslims along with given Moslems here and other places.
    5. Page 39: Last line “….and I too learned how to skate it in a short…..” (‘it’ should be omitted).
    6. Page 62: 2nd line “One the one side are….” (It should be “On the one side are….”)
    7. Page 64: Footnote 21: “…….Education , Training & Research ”. It has to be “……Education, Research & Training”
    8. Page 65: 1st line “……started feeling that at ease with….” ( ‘that’ has to be omitted).
    Footnote 25: “Ttea” (2nd t not required).
    9. Page 91: One word missing in 6th line I spent in Manila I…….. people from over…” (missing word can be ‘met/saw’).




    Regards,

    Dr.Prabhakar Maurya
    Ph.D Scholar, Veterinary Sciences,
    Kolkata

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Dr. Maurya,
      Thanks so much for taking out time to read the books, kind words about it and your valuable feedback. The new edition of the book needs someone like you to improve it tremendously. Please send a mail at contactabhayk[at]gmail.com if you would like to work on the new edition of River Valley to Silicon Valley.
      best

      Delete
  22. Respected Sir,

    I am very interested in IFS, but quite hesitant about the frequent relocation. Being a woman and dealing with spouse's work being in another country for a long time seems intimidating. Can you throw some light on what opportunities are available in such situations for women, that involve less frequent relocation or short term relocation as part of an IFS job itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anu,
      There are more frequent transfers in All India Services compared to IFS. In IFS you have to change the place only every 3 years. You can choose to stay in Delhi for a longer duration in case you want so.
      best

      Delete
  23. Hello sir
    It was amazing reading your blog.Very inspiring.
    I appeared for my last board exam day before and plan to pursue eco honours from du.Thereafter,I aspire to join the civil services.Since the cutoffs are skyrocketing,I was planning to keep Bachelor of managment studies(from du only) as a backup plan.Could you please tell me if aspiring for a career in civil services and taking up a managment course is too offtrack and whether engineering is a better option.

    p.s.:My subject combination is pcm with eco .My interest in managment(as a course option since for a job I aspire for only civil services) is more than in engineering.

    Thank you in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Prachi,
      Engineering will take longer probably, BMS from DU may be a better option...but choose what you feel suits you the best.

      Delete
  24. Sir I have a question regarding the paid study leave options in IFS.I have a BSC degree in physics.Will the govt allow me to persue phd or higher studies in physics related disciplines considering the fact that it might not be directly related to the work in IFS?After reading your well-written and informative blog I have become very passionate about the foreign services .Many Thanks to you Sir :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once in the Service, you can take paid study leave after 8 years of Service...but practically who wants to do a PhD after spending 8 years in the IFS...a diplomat needs a different set of skills than a PhD in any given subject.
      thanks for your kind words and best wishes

      Delete
  25. Thank you sir for the informative article about IFS .. sir if some one want to spend his whole service in delhi due to some family reason .. is this possible ?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Nisha, but then why join the IFS :)

      Delete
  26. Thank you for the blog. I have the following queries

    1. I am a teetotaller & lacto-vegetarian, is there a reason to be worried.
    2. Suppose one is posted to a location where there is little engagement with India, like North Korea, Suriname etc.. is there a sense of dissatisfaction .
    3. Is the officer somewhat disconnected to the happenings at the grass root level, if not, then how?.
    4. Notwithstanding UPSC set age limit, What is the maximum age in your opinion for entry into IFS.
    4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. 1. No
      2.No, one can follow one's passion in these places
      3. Not in the Internet age, where every event of the world can be accessed on mobile phone with google alerts
      4. as UPSC decides...there is no subjectivity here---poetically every moment contains eternity :)

      Delete
    2. Thank you for answering my queries. I'll rephrase my 3rd question

      I wanted to know if in the IFS there is room for bringing about a positive impact on the underprivileged people in India, is the IFS all about working with the corporate honchos and those in the elite club? Please elaborate.

      Is it tough to stay as a bachelor, are there officers who are unmarried?

      Delete
  27. Hi sir,
    A heartfelt thanks for sharing such a self-experienced,informative post.I also appreciate your effort in answering each and every query.I have some queries too.I will be thankful if I can get your views on them.

    1)I also have an interest in creative/fiction/poetry writing..Will it be possible that I get 2-3 hrs of spare time to live that interest..certainly there can be no better person than you to answer this..read your profile sir..did you achieve majority of those literary milestones and wrote those books before you entered IFS or along with the services.

    2)after learning a foreign language for first assignment,will we have to keep learning a new language every time for next foreign deputation..considering that we are given some 2-3 years to learn the first foreign language for first deputation,are we told about next foreign language immediately after joining the first assignment so that in 3 yrs of first assignment service,we learn the language for second assignment service?Does such a cycle exist?

    3)As you have mentioned that- "The typical work-timings in a day are from 9am to 5.30pm but on attachment with MEA,one has to work overtime and on weekends for that 3 year period."...so how did you manage that literary hobby/passion during that 3 year period?..also how often/what's the period of this attachment..is it once in a career or keeps repeating once in 6 yrs,10 yrs?

    4)for higher studies..will they consider giving a sabbatical for pursuing a creative writing course?..I wouldn't mind being unpaid and self-financing that course,but will temporary leave from IFS be granted for that higher study course period(maximum 3 years)?

    5)We are two siblings,me and my sister,who will be soon marrying..so being the only son+no brothers of father+dad will be retiring from a private service with meager pension+mom housewife,never worked,no pension....so will all that qualify for my parents dependent on me?and hence I be qualified to get medical expenses of my parents reimbursed?..also is the salary and other incentives sufficient enough to bear the basic living cost of three(me+2 parents) in foreign locations?..also will medical expenses benefit for dependent parents be taken away after my marriage?(I better stay unmarried then :))

    Thanks sir,
    It's incredible how you have so well merged together the literary and diplomat's world..I would like to learn from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello rohit.
      1. yes and yes
      2. during the entire career in the IFS, learning only one foreign language is compulsory, one does not have to learn a new language every 3 years
      3. One writes poetry during hectic assignments because of its short form, novels need more relaxed assignments
      4. one can get paid study leave after 8 years of service and pursue one's passion
      5. please don't worry, one earns enough to take care of a family of your size abroad...service conditions are improving every year...you don't have to stay unmarried ;)
      thanks again and best

      Delete
  28. Hello sir, I am currently studying in class 12, and aspiring to join the IFS. Quick question if it's possible to join the ifs if I do my undergraduation abroad, sir? Quick reply would be much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, one just needs a Bachelor's degree, from India or abroad...
      best

      Delete
  29. Hi Abhay! A quick question- after one finishes their 3 year training and have cleared their CFL, is it compulsory for them to be posted to a different country every 3 years, or are there positions is international organisations like the U.N., that you can start immediately after training? I'm not talking about the position of Permanent Representative, because I'm aware that you get that job only after certain seniority. I'm asking if there are other positions which you can get as a young officer because it's been my dream to work as a Diplomat ever since I was 13. I'm 19 right now and brimming with zeal to work in New York City and/or other great cities of the world.
    Love your blog and enthusiasm to help anxious aspirants such as me! Thanx in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, every 3 year a different country
      one can go to deputation to UN on any significant position only after a certain seniority
      one can join UN directly, one does not have you join IFS for that.
      best wishes

      Delete
  30. Sir , it is always inspiring to read your blog, and reading new questions everyday just refreshes my mind and answers newer queries. I would you ask you a few questions, if I may please...
    1. Sir, following the recent age relaxations for Max . Age by UPSC, if a General candidate joins IFS at 32, what is the Peak position that he can touch in his career in the IFS?
    2. While exercising a service preference in UPSC, during Interview, does UPSC also consider fluent Linguistic and Good interpersonal and communication skills, vocabulary etc. for judging the suitability of a candidate for the IFS? and thirdly
    3. If a candidate has a very average Academic record , do people with better academics get an edge over such a candidate?
    thank you very much
    Yours Faithfully
    Abhishek Kumar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi, thanks
      1. Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary 2. Yes, helps one score more marks in interview, 3. Not really. best

      Delete
  31. Hello sir. I have a rather strange question. Though nobody thinks about quitting IFS job but please tell me what are the job prospects for anyone who 'really' quits IFS after a certain period of service? Do multi-national companies offer the same salary and package as the MEA provides? Regards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Yashark,
      There are a few IFS officers who have quit after a few years in the service for greener pastures to work with multi-nationals or UN. Rest is left for your assumption :)
      best

      Delete
    2. The way you have replied says much about your training as a 'diplomat'... ha ha... Thanks btw..!

      Delete
  32. Respected Sir,
    I am a 2nd year student of Bsc(computer science honours).I would like to know about the 'scope' a person with computer science honours background would have in the Indian Foreign Services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great scope, there are several in IFS with science, medical and engineering backgrounds...best

      Delete
  33. HI Sir,

    First of all thank you for such a informative article. I Read your book From river Valley to Silicon Valley. Its a very nicely written book.
    Really appreciate the fact that u replied to every single query posted here by many people. i hope ull clear my doubts too.
    Sir i am IFS Aspirant . But just have some queries. I hope ull help me in this matter.
    1, How UPSC do the cadre allocation. is they give priority to RANK or the language the person Selects.
    2. wht exactly is the work of a IFS officer. like a bureaucrat handles the administrative stuff. than what exactly a IFS officer do.
    3. Is there any way to know before hand that this year that in which which countries IFS officers are posted after the three year training.
    4.IFS officer can take their parents & spouse in the country he/she is working?
    5. When you joined this services, how much difference you feel in yourself during your career. from what mindset you went in this service & what is you mindset now.
    looking forward to your response.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      1. IFS does not have cadre, language allocation is on the basis of seniority 2. A Foreign Service officer or a diplomat manages relations between two countries or a number of countries 3. It could be any of the countries where India has an Embassy or Consulate but it is generally the country where the language that trainee learnt is spoken 4. Yes 5. Not much...one goes with the flow. best

      Delete
  34. Hello, your article gave me quite a glimpse of the professional life on an IFS officer, thanks! i'm preparing for civil services myself and I have a technical question to ask. I'd like to know, when posted abroad, is the officer bound by the cultural-socio norms/rules of his home country or by the rules of the country in which he is posted, or is it left to the officer to decide for himself? If posted in a country considered to be more liberal than our country, it would be easier to adjust but if the country has a rigid view of social behaviour, it'd could be a little difficult, i think! Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi,
      Jaisa desh Vaisa bhesh :) one should respect local culture and norms to succeed as a diplomat. You thinking is on track. best :)

      Delete
  35. Hello sir.............This is probably the first proper article I got on IFS. I am btech second year student. I had persuaded Diploma Engg after 10th from CBSE board. I am an shear IFS aspirant since I was 11 years old. I plan to take Psychology & Public Admin as the optional subjects in Civil Service Examination. So can u guide me with more info with regard to qualifications I already have. Being IFS is my ultimate target. I would appreciate if u could guide me with what sort of preparations, books, subjects( I should consider for Civil apart from mentioned) or strategies I should go through to achieve this goal from now only.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks,
      please consider reading River Valley to Silicon Valley that will give you good idea about preparing for Civil Services...best

      Delete
  36. Hello Abhay

    Thanks for such a brilliantly informative blog and taking time out to answer queries.
    There are a couple of questions I couldn't find answers to:

    1. Does the govt. sponsor travel and living expenses in a foreign country of the parents of an IFS officer?
    2. Could you list some of the govt. sponsored perks associated with an IFS job?
    3. Is the salary+perks sufficient for a comfortably luxurious lifestyle?

    Thanks
    N

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thankyou sir..this blog is really helpful.
      my question is that im from nasik doin my bba n would be pursuing for mba next year. Would it be too late to start preparing for upsc exam? can I keep mba as my backup plan meanwhile? i am very mch interstd in joinng IFS . what is baffling me is the decision whether to go on with mba or persue ifs studies

      Delete
    2. Thanks N Anand,
      1. Generally no, in some special cases if parents are dependent i.e. there is no body to take care of them.
      2. Accommodation, Travel, Foreign Allowance, Children's education etc.
      3.yes
      Hello Ruchi,
      thanks
      no, you can prepare after doing MBA. Its good to keep plan-B. Decision is yours ultimately.
      best

      Delete
  37. Hello Sir,
    I am a 20 year old IFS aspirant. My question is-
    1. Whether economic diplomacy is the sole prerogative of the MEA or is the Commerce Ministry also involved.
    2, Is it the MEA or the Commerce Minisry- which ministry leads trade negotiations?
    .3. What is the role played by the MEA when it comes to economic diplomacy
    .4. I am aware there is a ITP division in the MEA. What is its role?
    5.Why is it that commerce ministry officials are posted in some missions abroad as economic officers and in other missions there are IFS officers posted as economic officers?
    6.And is there a chance that the 2 ministries might merge in the forseeable future or this is not possible because of different functions performed by the two ministries? You can also reply to me at soham.roy421@gmail.com. And BTW thank you for throwing some light in the IFS with the help of this blog.
    Regards,
    Soham Roy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Soham,
      1. Economic Diplomacy is conducted through Indian Missions which are under MEA, but Commerce Ministry is also kept informed.
      2. Trade delegations are led by officials from Commerce Ministry in consultation with MEA and Indian Missions abroad.
      3. Indian missions are at the forefront of all diplomacy including economic diplomacy.
      4. Its role is trade promotion.
      5. Because MEA and Commerce Ministry coordinate with each other to achieve optimum results.
      6. Who can tell about the future :) but there is an excellent coordination between two ministries.
      best

      Delete
  38. sir i am in 9 class and i want to know that which books should i take to prepare for ifs exam i wants to start the preperations from now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ali,
      Study your books well. At this moment that will suffice.
      best wishes

      Delete
  39. After getting into the IFS have you (or any of your diplomat friends) ever felt that IAS would have been a better option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Athul,
      Not me, but yes, some of diplomats I know, would have been happier in IAS, IPS.
      best wishes

      Delete
  40. Sir, I am in class 10th right now and I am planning to take PCM with economics in class 11th. Also, I plan to go abroad for my graduation. Would it be advisable to choose the Indian Foreign Service as a career option? If so, how should I start preparing for the IFS exam in class 10th? Please advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Abhishek,
      Why not. Study well in +2 and graduation. Take a look at the syllabus of the Civil Services Prelims and Mains(optional subjects and GS).
      best

      Delete
  41. Hello sir,
    I am am in sec yr of Bsc gradations. I wanna join indian foreign services, but i am confused about where to start my preparation. Well, it would be great if you help me out with the books as there are so many with different good authors. I am willing to take geography as subject for the exam. Please guide me as i have to do self study till graduation, and after that I'll go for coaching. Newspaper and magazine toh i am aware but what about other stuff. And i know this is alot i am asking you but plzzz guide me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Abby,
      Focus on topics given in the Civil Services syllabus. Use books just as references to look for these topics. Don't study the whole book. The rest of your strategy is fine.

      best

      Delete
  42. Hello Sir,
    Thank you for this informative blog.. :)
    I've few questions as follows
    1) Can we choose our CFL ( Compulsory Foreign Language ) ? Or is it allocated randomly ?
    2) I'm going to take Political Science as a OPT, Subject for UPSC Mains. The Second Paper of it contains International Relations and awareness of International events.. So can you please suggest few good books for the better understanding of International Relations in simple language as you might have used it in training at FSI
    3) As Marathi is my mothertounge, I'm very bad in English. Accent and Fluency is very far from me.. Could you please tell me how to improve English Speaking skills..??
    4) I've heard Times Square from New York City.. But what is White Square..?? Any Special reason to choose this..??

    Thank you in advance.. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sachin,

      1. You can indicate your choice but CFL is allocated on the basis of merit list.
      2. Focus on topics, you can use two or three books as reference for covering the specific topic
      3. start speaking it with your colleagues, friends or join a English course. Knowing English well will be your asset.
      4. Black Square is a famous painting by Kazimir Malevich :) White Square, you can guess :)
      best

      Delete
  43. Respected sir,

    Am in 12 grade and am artist,i start painting at age of seven i got SICC award by Indian Government. and now am preparing for IFS . I have an interest in IFS i mean, i want to become a IFS officer am really studying so hard for IFS exam! my question is after becoming IFS officer, i can keep doing my painting ? i will get a time for that? (Do you have a degree in Art painting ,did you study for painting?
    And i also saw your painting, "Monument for earth" and it is remarkable ! Thank you so much sir for sharing valuable information about IFS.
    Waiting for your reply sir !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the best for your endeavours. Yes, one can continue painting after becoming an IFS officer. Painting is a hobby of several diplomats. Thanks for liking 'A Monument For The Earth.' I don't have any formal training in painting. All the best.

      Delete
  44. Respected Sir,

    1.Please tell how much a rank in CSE matters for promotions and postings in IFS. Do the low rankers get choice of posting?..or only after the high rankers within a batch have got postings what is left is given.....

    2. Also tell how much age matters for promotion and postings in IFS (keeping in mind age required for secretary level at later stage of the job)

    Basically I am very much prepared for pre but mains is not prepared... In case I write mains of which I am very hopeful...I worry abt the marks I would fetch.. As my preference would be IFS no doubt which if granted doesnot allow you to sit for next year CSE to up the rank.

    So Sir what should be done...should I go for IFS as 1st preference this time only not bothering about the rank as no hierarchy is followed within an IFS batch(and my low rank would be of no detriment for rest of my service) or I should avoid giving preference to IFS anticipating better preparation next year for a better rank but at the same time I would be an year older and a batch behind or I should drop this year and to appear with full preparation in 2015.
    (By Lower rank I mean beyond 150 or 200)

    Waiting for your reply
    Thank you
    -An Aspiring Diplomat

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hello Sir,
    I've been a diligent follower of your blog and Tweets on Twitter. Your book and blog have answered many of my doubts regarding the Civil Services. I look up to you as my biggest inspiration in the Foreign Services. And I thank you for that.
    1) I have just started preparing for the UPSC 2015, and also have enrolled in a reputed coaching institute. As I am trying to make my way through the syllabus I realize it is vast and has a variety of important topics/sections in each General Studies paper I - IV, as also the optional subjects papers. I understand we need to have had gone through at least two books of each topic to have covered as much syllabus possible. But I would like to know Sir if there is any way to narrow down the topics where prospective questions could come from.
    2) I have been following the current affairs and taking note of important happenings. How do I figure what kind of current affairs to follow?
    3) Do we play close attention to the political happenings as well? Or only those related to the Centre?
    4) While studying the sports section do we need a general overview of all the popular sports or do they ask detail questions about any sport?
    5) To begin practice of writing essays do I initially copy essays with technical data/statistics or start writing by myself?
    6) As an IFS aspirant are there any spheres of the current affairs that I should specifically pay attention to?
    I can imagine my post and the questions are long. But I would really appreciate if you could answer my questions Sir. Thank you very much Sir and keep being a guiding light to all of us eager aspirants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, 1. Please focus on topics of the syllabus, (you don't have to read the whole book for that). Look at the past year papers and you'll see a pattern and then you can guess which questions may be asked the next year.
      2. A good guide is past year question paper. You can focus on political, economic, scientific, cultural developments
      3. political developments international, national and regional , key diplomatic developments
      4. general overview of spoets
      5. start writing yourself, always begin an essay with a quote or a poem
      6. foreign affairs, developments in India's neighbourhood, India's relations with Permanent Five Members of the UN Security council etc.
      all the best

      Delete
  46. Hi sir i have few queries
    1.When an IFS officer is posted in India do he gets government vehicle with red or yellow beacon?
    2.When an IFS officer is in India do he gets similar respect from other officers especially of group A and like of an IAS.Is his status is similar as that of IAS in that area.
    3.My family especially my father wants me to be an IAS due to his power,prestige,control,lifestyle and popularity,Can you give me a short comparison between IAS and IFS mainly on power,prestige,control,lifestyle in these two?
    4.Do IFS officers in INDIA get VIP entries to important areas,government functions etc.Like that of an IAS?
    5.As a Diplomat will i be able to go 6-7 countries of my choice?If not then at least how much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. no 2. yes, IAS and IFS have parity in all respects. IFS is only service you can not quit to write Civil Services exam again to get IAS. 3. These are also available in abundance in IFS. 4. All government servants have the same privileges depending on their responsibilities and duties. Don't forget the word 'Servant' in the word 'Civil Servant'. 5. Will depend on your performance.

      Delete
  47. Hi,

    I am a married IFS 2015 aspirant. My husband is moving to US for his MBA this year. Even if I clear the Civil Services examination, I want to settle down in United States in the next 5 years. Do IFS officers have ample opportunities in MNCs/UN ?? If I continue serving as IFS officer, does MEA consider such cases and not frequently relocate ?? Please help. I am in a dilemma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please join a MNC/UN. Please don't waste your time preparing for the Civil Services Exam.

      Delete
  48. Hello Sir,
    Thanks for this insightful blog. Please answer a few of my questions:
    1) Does this mean that it will take at least nine years for me to get posted to a different country?
    2) And if yes, how often does an IFS officer travel abroad during the time when he is posted in India?
    3) Is it true that an IFS officer gets almost no privacy and his personal life is prone to media intervention?

    Please answer these three questions. I am asking these because travelling and experiencing different cultures, for me, is as important as being an IFS officer.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sir,
    please clear as per one of you earlier replies one can become Foreign Secretary after 27 years only theoretically ...why not practically? this age of 27 yrs is seen from which date is it seen from the 1st jan of the year of taking pre exam or...?
    Is there any chance of extending this age criteria of 27 yrs for foreign sec owing to the increasing avg age of the civil servants?

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. No, four years only (2 years at the Foreign Service Institute + 2 years of language training in the first foreign country) 2. Depends on kind of desk one handles (once at least) 3. That's an exaggeration though life of all public officials are open to public and media scrutiny.

      Because, there would be many more experienced officers with over 35 years of service to take up that job. you will retire by that time.

      Delete
  50. Respected Sir,
    This blog has been very helpful for IFS aspirants including me. Being a sophomore, I do have a few queries and I'd be glad if you could answer the following.
    1. For 11th grade, which stream would be better for IFS aspirants? Humanities or Commerce or any other?
    2. Besides the UPSC CSE exam and the 3 year probation period, which course should I take (so as to have higher chances of getting my preferred CFL or country)?
    3. What is the starting salary of an IFS officer after the 6th pay commission?
    4. It is seen that the salaries of officers posted abroad are much lesser than that of officers in India. So after how many years of service will we be posted abroad?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, 1. Humanities (personal bias) 2. Please get into the Service first 3. An IFS officer is well paid, please don't worry about the salary 4. It is other way round. After one and half year of service.

      Delete
  51. Respected sir,

    Can you list those names who excelled in ifs with very weak academic profiles?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once you get into IFS, no body looks at your academic profile. It is your work as an officer that is evaluated.

      Delete
  52. Sir
    Is foreign posting compulsory for an assistant in MEA..

    ReplyDelete
  53. Here's a link to a Q&A by an IFS officer on reddit : http://www.reddit.com/r/india/comments/yd7me/i_am_an_officer_of_the_indian_foreign_service_ask/

    1.) The views expressed by the IFS officer answering questions on reddit and you with regard to the salary & allowances of IFS officers are quite contrary. According to him, salaries of IFS officers are "nothing to write home about" while you've repeatedly said that IFS officers are "very well paid". I understand that this is a question of perspective, but before treading this path, I'd like to form a general idea about the allowances and salaries of IFS officers. As an IFS officer, will I at least do as well financially as say, an Indian working in the US in an IT firm like google?

    2.) I am 21 years old and an undergraduate in engineering and I'm contemplating graduating in economics. I'd like to know how this could affect my career as an IFS officer. As a person with special interest and expertise(which I intend to gain) in economics, will I be preferred for postings in the "economic" wings of embassies and in such countries and international institutions where my academic expertise could come handy (WTO, World Bank etc.)?

    3.) Is it true that postings in developed countries are reserved for those with connections in the upper echelons of the Indian political/administrative hierarchy?

    I'd really appreciate it if you could answer these questions.
    Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hello Sir,

    Does the reservation system play a role in determining postings and opportunities in a given batch of IFS?

    Thanks and warm regards.

    ReplyDelete
  55. hello sir,
    i am in 10th now and i need to choose a college to study in future. my question is that what should i take up in my college so that it can be helpful for me for ifs,is learning a third language necessary to give the preliminary and main exam, how should i schedule my studies and work to take out time for ifs preparation, is height and weight necessary for ifs.if yes, then what is the minimum height and the maximum weight.
    i hope you give the answers for my queries.
    THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sonalsruti,

      Please go through the syllabus of CS Mains, Prelims, adopt a time-target approach and study the past year questions of CS Mains. There is no minimum height or weight. best wishes

      Delete
  56. Hello Sir
    Your article was excellent.
    It gave my ample insight into my dream job.
    Sir I would like to ask you something.
    I am a Doctor preparing for MD/MS and by Jan'2015 I shall start with my PG.
    Can I prepare for IFS side by side? how should I? Is there a scope of completing studies after being appointed
    as an IFS officer?
    Thank You Sir!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eva,
      You can prepare side bu side but after getting into IFS it would be difficult to continue your studies.
      best wishes

      Delete
  57. Hello Sir
    Thank you for such an insightful article.
    I wanted to ask you about the minimum amount of time one *has* to spend in India as an IFS officer. After completing the 3 years at an Indian Embassy or Consulate as Second Secretary, is it true that one is almost surely transferred back to the MEA headquarters in New Delhi ? If not, can one just spend all of his/her time at Indian missions abroad from then until retirement, implying that the minimum time one has to spend in New Delhi after being confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service is naught ?

    Thanks for your time !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Arsh,
      One generally spends one third of one's career in India and tow-third abroad. So two 3 years postings abroad and a 3 year posting in India. This cycle continues.
      best

      Delete
  58. During a discussion about Indian ambassadors, it was purported that their appointments were political and not independent. Hence when a government changes so do the ambassadors. Therefore currently Indian ambassadors now will be of a BJP hue having taken over from Congress ones after the election. I was under the impression those in the IFS were independent of politics. Please enlighten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ashith,

      Ambassadorial appointments are done on the basis of merit from senior members of the IFS.

      best

      Delete
  59. Hi Sir,
    Thanks a lot for taking out your time to clarify our doubts.We really appreciate it and are grateful.
    I have always been inclined towards diplomacy but of late, trying to find out why IFS is not prefered by aspirants, I came across views of officers that there is a lot of lobbying for good posts and people without connections almost certainly end up in an unwanted and irrelevant or troubled postings and such postings are very hard to survive( hard postings as such is not an issue but knowing that you are doomed to such postings because of lack of contacts is the concern here). Also I have heard that with the increase in intake, the situation regarding this is getting worse.
    Please shed some light on this and please be undiplomatic and honest as this will help many of us take an informed decision about our careers. Such issues do not generally come to light till we join the services.
    I will be very grateful if you can clarify this without any bias.

    Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rishabh,

      IFS is still preferred by a large number of aspirants. Please don't worry. IFS officers are posted across the world, so there is no question of getting doomed in some trouble spots.

      best

      Delete
  60. Hello Abhay Sir,
    1.Are your apartments bugged and phones tapped??
    2.Are on a constant watch during diplomatic mission by your host country ??
    3. Could you mention 5 restrictions generally imposed on a diplomat by a host and sending country during diplomatic mission??
    Eagerly waiting for your reply.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  61. Respected sir,
    1)Will the officers be given a flat or an independent house when posted abroad as well as Delhi?
    2)Does one's neighborhood consist of Indian community or will there be officers from other countries also?
    3)Are gym facilities provided for officers who are posted abroad?
    4)Suppose one chooses CFL as French, then will they be posted on African countries?
    5)What would be the gross salary including all allowance for a second secretary posted on France?
    6)If the minimum wages in USA is 4500$,then how can the govt of India pay the officers less than that,for who are posted there?
    7)Is rent and utility allowance inclusive or exclusive of FA?
    8)If one joins the service at the age of 22,at what age can one become the ambassador?
    9)IAS officers enjoy various benefits like free passes for cricket matches and etcetera, are diplomats also entitled for such benefits when posted abroad?
    10)If one joins UN through YPP, will one be serving the nation or UN?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Akshay
      1. mostly flats 2. depends, could be either 3. varies from place to place, in most cases one hardly gets time to go to a gym 4. yes, a high possibility in Francophone Africa but not necessarily 5. a few thousand dollars (single digit though, on the lower side) 6- who said that? 7. exclusive 8. possibly 40, not guaranteed though, 9. no freebies 10. humanity I guess. best

      Delete
  62. Hello Sir...Is there any case of any Foreign language being imposed on the trainee or no choice being left for him, may be due to a lower rank among the IFS trainees? If this is so, then if a trainee for instance had no choice and has learnt Arabic or African does that mean he will always have to serve in Middle East or in Africa?
    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yasha,
      If someone is at the lowest rung of the ladder then he or she does not have much of a choice. But postings are on the basis of rotation so one gets to serve in different parts of the world. No question of getting stuck anywhere.
      best

      Delete
  63. Sir, I am preparing for upsc civil services exam 2015.
    IFS will be my first preference in DAF.

    Sir, my academic track record is not good.
    Xth- 79 per cent, XIIth Science- 83 per cent, B.A.(General)- 40.46 per cent.

    Sir, will I face any problem for IFS selection (Interview) for poor academic track record?

    Thank you, sir.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hello SH Rahman,
    You should just be a graduate to write the CSE. What matters is your performance in the CSE Mains exam. Prepare well for that. Best

    ReplyDelete
  65. Can you please suggest good book(s) on the evolution of Indian Foreign Service and also on diplomacy in general.

    Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can read J.N. Dixit's books- 'My Foreign Service Years', 'India's Foreign Policy and its neighbours' and for diplomacy in general you can read- 'Diplomacy-Theory and Practice by G. Berridge', The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy' among others.

      Delete
  66. hello sir,
    I have cleared my SSC- CGL exam this year and want to opt for MEA (assistant). Can you please elaborate on its job profile and all the pro's and con's that come along with it. And for me being an unmarried girl, is it a better option?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Simmy,

      The job profile of an assistant is to provide secretarial support to an officer to perform his/her duties efficiently. You get a lot of facilities as an assistant. All the best.

      Delete
  67. hello sir,

    At present im in 10th grade and planning to take non-medicine in 11th
    im planning to pursue architecture before giving the civil exam..I would like to ask will it help me doing B.arch before giving the civil exam? will graduation in this field is fruitful enough for an IFS aspirant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Akash,

      I don't know if architecture is one of the optional subjects for the Civil Services Mains exams. Please check and take a decision accordingly.

      Delete
  68. Sir , i am Abhishek Arora.My contact no. is 09813537679. I have BURNING DESIRE to become an IFS Officer and i can go to any extent of hardwork for it.I am going to pursue 5 year legal studies integrated course and going to appear for the CLAT EXAM.Please guide me.I am in 11th class and i am following this website from last three years.This is quite helpful but still i haven't got any successful contact till now from whom i can take guidelines.I am posting this comment with great HOPE.I heartily request you to please HELP me.Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Abhishek,

      You can choose law as one of the optionals in the Civil Services Mains exam, so go ahead with your law course and keep preparing for the other optional and general knowledge.

      Delete
  69. hello sir . i am abhishek arora and i am in 11th class. please give me the guidelines to become an IFS Officer.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Dear sir,
    The above Q&A and blog has wonderful insights to the life of a diplomat and the life seems quite fulfilling in terms of new variety experiences and intellectual pursuits...as a matter of fact i do have some questions for you... i would be grateful if u would answer them...
    1) I was going through the missions abroad and they are categorized as A*,A,B*, B... is it possible for us to know the list of missions with those classifications or it is just that after u become an ifs. And which category is/are open to probationers
    2) Being a diplomat is surely a position of dignity, high status and reputation as one represents a nation, does one have to be very concerned about code of conduct? One can meet general public of other country? and visit public places?
    3) Is life very busy, only home to office and back. I have heard that the accommodation is mostly in vicinity of Indian embassy , is it true?
    4) About the vehicle,can one purchase any vehicle? and also when as a second secretary or as language trainee?
    5) How is the training at the FSI, is it like classroom session type as in management institution having courses with exams in the end?
    6) Are their a lot of officers married to foreign national or just handful ?

    thanks for your precious time !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Robin,

      1. These stations are classified as per the hardships one has to face in terms of living there. Probationers are allocated all kinds of stations.

      2.Yes, one has to be appropriate in one's conduct and safeguard the reputation of a great country one represents. But that does not mean one cannot meet the general public of the other country or cannot visit public places. One does it all the time.

      3.yes, a diplomat has a hectic schedule and accommodation is generally in the vicinity of the Embassy.

      4.Yes, one can, depending on one's purchasing capacity.

      5.It depends.
      6. A few.

      All the best.

      3.

      Delete
  71. Sir,I am an ardent IFS aspirant.I am pursuing my Btech degree(Electronics and Communication Engineering).I have few queries.But before that I would like to THANK YOU for giving us so much of information regarding IFS.I am really grateful to you.
    1)I would like to go abroad for MS degree and then prepare for civil service examination.Am I right in this approach?Can you please suggest me some good approaches?
    2)Is MS degree going to help me in any way?If so,which subject should I choose for my MS degree?
    3)Or should I just, start preparing for my civil service examinations once I am done with my Btech?
    4)How engineering background is going to help me in IFS?
    5)How many languages an IFS officer learns in his tenure?(I am passionate to learn new languages)
    THANK YOU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sir,I would like to add one more question.
      6)After becoming an IFS officer,can I get study leave to pursue MS/MBA degree?

      Delete
    2. Hello Dakshayini,
      Thank you for your kind words.

      1. It is difficult to come back and prepare for Civil Services once you have done MS degree from abroad.
      2.I don't think so, MS is specialization.
      3.I think so.
      4.There are a lots of Engineers in IFS. It is not of much help in diplomacy except for getting into IFS.
      5.There is only one compulsory foreign language one has to learn, rest is optional.
      All the best.

      Delete
  72. Respected Sir,
    Thank you very much for this insightful blog.
    I just wanted to clarify certain basic doubts and some of these arose in the backdrop of the recent events that took place in the US.
    1) Regarding domestic help - Assuming one is posted in the US, do one get paid domestic assistance service? or If one has to hire one at his/her own cost then which country's minimum wage apply? Can one contract as per Indian minimum wage and take the domestic help along with oneself? Are there any allowance to cover these expenses?

    2) Regarding the pay scale - Is it abysmally low to maintain a decent standard of living? Lets take US for example - there the minimum wage is 7.25 dollars, assuming a person works 10 hours a day for 30 days he will end up earning 2175 a month. This would consume around 50% of an IFS officer's salary if one hires somebody to take care of his/her children or family.

    3) What are the average working hours in the office? Does one get enough time to pursue other passions in life like playing a sport or gym and be able to spend quality time with his/her family? Do one get Saturday and Sunday off?

    4) Are promotions totally merit based? Extent of sycophancy and political favoritism involved?

    5) During the training period are the languages allotted or one has to pick a foreign language? Also what is the nexus between one's language and posting?

    6) Transfers are intercontinental or inter-country within the continent?

    7) How has been your person experience in the foreign service? With the exposure and experience you have earned would you now ever think about joining IAS if given an option?

    Thank you Sir.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Akshay,

      IFS officers are paid well to maintain a good standard of living. Domestic help can be managed as the govt. pays to a certain extent for the domestic staff.
      One is expected to work 8 hours a day and can easily pursue one's other passions in IFS. Saturday and Sundays are off.

      Generally one does get to do one or two postings in the region of one's language.

      Transfers are generally intercontinental.

      I love my job. I would again like to join IFS given a chance.


      Delete
  73. Respected Sir, I would like to ask the following questions:
    1) After being posted at two foreign missions for 6 years, we are posted again to MEA headquarters for 3 years, how strictly is this cycle followed. Is it obligatory to be serve at MEA, can we choose to be posted abroad instead if we want.
    2) How is the CFL allocated, on the basis of rank in the UPSC exam or our performance in the training program.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tejas,

      1. The cycle is followed strictly. It is obligatory to serve at the headquarters.
      2. On the basis of rank in the UPSC exam.
      best.

      Delete
  74. Hello Sir,
    First of all thank you for replying to my earlier queries. Please answer my following questions:

    1. Can an officer challenge his posting on valid grounds if he is not being posted to one of the 3 choices ? Is ministry flexible on this?

    2. Why in recent times Director rank officers have also been given Ambassadorial assignments? Is it based on the CAPAR or solely wish of the executive?

    3. My perception is people would be reluctant to go to LDCs....then how is posting to these place done? How are facilities there?

    4. How far good rank in CSE plays a role in (a.) posting [even at higher level] (b.) for special posts (c.) depution (d.) promotion

    Thank You.
    -Yasha Sharma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yasha,

      1. Generally
      2. It is the prerogative of the Ministry.
      3. No, to the contrary, some of the most memorable postings one has is in such countries.
      4. it always helps.
      all the best

      Delete
  75. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Respected Sir,
    The blog is very helpful and have received a greater insight into being an IFS officer, thank you.

    I am currently pursuing BBA (Bachelors in Business Administration) at christ University. I have always channeled myself to do an MBA from a good college outside India as my interest in an IIM was considerable low. Apart from the type and mode of education that differs, I was interested to do my MBA abroad because I love traveling. At the same time, I also love my country and would like to serve my country with the knowledge and experience that I acquire abroad.
    My questions are as follows:-

    1) I am currently in my second year of study, so when should I start preparing and give my exam?
    2) Is BBA as a undergraduate degree help me in anyway for my future in the field (IFS)
    3) Being an Indian girl, I will be asked to get married before I am 24 or 25 years of age, will that be a problem and will I be able to solve that? (Eg- will amenities be provided to travel etc. for my husband as well etc.)
    4) I am not very good with politics, will I be provided with an opportunity to choose my area of interest with respect to expertise in the future if chosen?
    5) Is being an IFS officer very challenging and will it give me enough time to pursue my hobbies?
    6) I love traveling and going to new places, will this help me in doing so?
    7) Can i do an MBA in the future if I wish to? will i have the time to do so?
    8) Do I have an opportunity to drop out of the program at any time to change my path of interest and go back to doing an MBA? If so, when can i do so?


    Kindly answer these queries of mine so I can be more clear in the path I want to choose.
    Thanking you in anticipation

    Warm Regards,
    Sunayana.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sunayana,
      Thanks,
      1. Now
      2.Yes, may be your persuasive abilities improve after doing BBA
      3.You'll able to manage that
      4.yes
      5.yes, it is indeed very challenging but you'll be able to pursue your hobbies.
      6.Yes, you'll be able to travel to many places.
      7.yes, taking study leave.
      8.yes, you do.

      all the best

      Delete
  77. Sir....I am a student of class eleventh...studying commerce....till now I have attended some 5 to 6 MUNs....so.. sir, with due respect, I would like to confirm if attending more MUNs would help me if I aspire to become an IFS officer...?

    ReplyDelete
  78. Dear Sir
    I wish to know which undergraduate course would prove beneficial when I sit for examination and during service.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any subject such as Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Hindi, English etc. Please see the complete list of optional subjects on UPSC website.

      Delete
  79. hello sir..
    i don't know if it is a good to ask this here..

    can u please tell me the future of candidates joining MEA through SSC CGL instead of UPSC???
    will they be able to get the position like an IFS officers or upper level. What time will it take to be their??

    Does they get foreign posting or remain in india throughout the service??

    Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do get foreign postings and with hard work some also reach the higher echelons of IFS.

      Delete
    2. Yes, they are posted abroad and some of them also reach the higher echelons of IFS.

      Delete
  80. How many IFS officers are recruited every year on an average?

    ReplyDelete
  81. How many IFS officers are recruited every year on an average?

    ReplyDelete
  82. hello sir,
    I am Bharath.Right now i have finished 12th standard in RAMAKRISHNA VIDYASHALA ,Mysuru.I have scored 96%.I want to know whether there are particular courses for INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE in degree level or should I do B.E or are they any degree courses which would supplement my preparation for IFS? Please enlighten me sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can do graduation in any subject to be eligible to write the Civil Services Exam.

      Delete
  83. hello sir,
    i wish to become an ifs officer. i am serious and studying in class 11. but before that i have some questions. i would like if could answer them. and i do not intend to hurt anyone's feelings. sorry if i do so.
    1. sir is basic salary of ifs trainee enough to run his family? (seeing that is only around 15600)
    2. i read in a blog by a Canadian diplomat that sometimes they are not able to go the restaurants of some countries, due to the reason that their salary is less than the basic salary of the local people of that country. is it true ?
    3. can you please enlighten me about the foreign allowances a person gets when he is posted outside the country ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indian diplomats are paid very well, so please don't worry about these things. I don't have much idea about others.

      Delete
  84. Hello sir!! I read your book river valley to silicon valley. The book is very and simply written. I am in class 12. I want to pursue my career as an IFS, when should I start preparing for it..

    ReplyDelete
  85. is there any facility of study leave for an Ifs officer like IAS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, all civil servants can avail study leave.

      Delete
  86. Hello Sir , thanks for some important insight but i have some doubts .
    1) How do one select language in the first place during training . Is it based on rank in CSE or internal tests conducted by FSI. And suppose if one does not get opportunity to learn french language in the first place , will he never get posted in France?
    2) Does a diplomat posted abroad get security gaurds starting with posting as third secretary .
    3) When a diplomat is posted in India , does he gets decent accommodation, car and other facilities as that of IAS.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. It is based on your rank in CSE. No, you can still get posted in France.
      2. No
      3.Yes
      all the best.

      Delete
  87. Can an ias trainee keep their wife with them while trainning period
    because of some reason

    ReplyDelete
  88. Very insightful...no questions from my side as u answered all of them...hope u better be foreign secretary one day and I answer these queries...thanks and regards☺

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hello Sir,

    Can you list few perks which IFS Officers enjoy over MBAs working at MNCs ?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Sir, is it advantageous for an IFS officer to have knowledge of international law in discharging his/her duties?

    ReplyDelete
  91. sir, i have read your article. its very informative and clear. but i have some specific questions that you may kindly answer:
    1. which type of work is more through out the career ? field work or file work (noting, drafting etc)?
    2. is it more of routine work or dynamic and challenging?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. As an IFS officer, you do both field work and file work everyday.
      2.It is very dynamic and challenging.
      best wishes

      Delete
  92. sir, regarding the article
    will we get to choose the foreign language of our choice or will we be allotted by the government ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allotted on the basis of your CSE rank. you may or may not get your choice.

      Delete
  93. Hello sir,
    Does your job responsibilities include taking interview of visa applicants ?
    If no then who are the one who take visa interview and what are the qualifications required to become that officer ?

    Regards And Thanks ,
    Aamir Melani.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Hi Abhay, I am an aspirant attempting the exam next year. Beyond all the usual things one does to prepare and study to crack the exam, I was wondering if there's something more long-term to be worked on for an aspiring diplomat. As a graduate, I wish I had told my past self to focus on this, do that or to stop bothering about things that seem irrelevant now. As someone who's gone through the grind, is there something you wish you had done differently? Something that could have helped you more in the long-term, put you at an advantage over others, or made yourself more useful in your current job. From what I read, a trainee gets around 3 years to mold oneself. But I would still like to know if there are things that one should start working on beforehand, say like learning another language or reading some books or anything else you think is important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am content with the way I did things- right or wrong. The freedom is the freedom to make mistakes. Please choose your own path freely.

      Delete
  95. Sir, i got selected in Upsc last year with middle ranks. Giving again this time for improvement. I want to ask 1 question - if spouse is a doctor, is his medical degree valid everywhere or he has to clear some exam . Also , can he be employed at embassy or will embassy help in arranging for the job ? Pl tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Medical degrees are not valid everywhere automatically, one has to follow local validation procedures. Depends if there is a vacancy. Embassy does not arrange for jobs of an officer's spouse.

      Delete
  96. venerable sir,
    I have a question.As you are a passionate proffessional writer apart from being an IFS,can you please tell me whether an IFS officer can marry a foreigner?has it ever happened?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, one can, it has happened in many cases.

      Delete
  97. Sir, I just finished reading your ' river valley to silicon valley' . I see that you took coaching classes for aspirants in geography.

    I'm also working in the field of coaching industry, but in IIT JEE. When it comes to interview, isn't it a negative thing for me? Because I was working with a company which is making profit out of govt exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no, not really, please don't bother about these things.

      Delete
  98. hello sir,
    i want to know that if a diplomat can pursue his hobbies after office time....as in i am very much intersted in fashion and would like to pursue further studies in this zone . I am very much good at my academics n have topped my college but didn't want to go in the pure fashion side line. Foreign services is what excites me. So i wanted to ask dat if it is a good option? Will i meet people from this line? can i contribute to my country with my passion for fashion?!
    Waiting for ur reply. Hope u reply to this! :)

    ReplyDelete
  99. Dear Sir
    Thank you for such an informative blog. It cleared a lot of doubts.
    I have one question. The foreign language to be learned compulsorily, what if one already speaks 2 or more foreign languages, can he/she learn another, and does he/she have to have some certified proof of knowledge of the language?
    Moreover, is Farsi taught at the institute?
    Of the foreign languages excluding English, I speak fluent Spanish,French and Arabic.
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  100. Sir
    What could be the amount of mental pressure one can face in his tenure as an ifs officer and would i be able to make any significant difference in response to that.
    2.i want to work for poor and underprivileged parts of the society,so should i prefer ias,plus i really like tp travel and see and learn different cultures and aspects of life.
    thank you sir.

    ReplyDelete
  101. sir, first of all thanka a lot...your information has cleared most of my queries...i just have one question and sincerely hope you could get some spare time to answer that...i am an engineering student...but i want to pursue being an ifs...even after getting a good rank will my engineering background not let me be an ambassador...sorry if it's a silly question...but i have been searching for a while and cannot find a single ambassador who has been an engineering graduate....it would be extremely helpful if you could help me out...and once again thank you for sharing so much.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Sir as an IFS Officer,what is the probability of getting U.S. mission????
    Sir frequently question asks in U.P.S.C. Interview that why is your first priority to join IFS & not IAS & IPS???

    ReplyDelete