​Indian Foreign Service

Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is one of the Group ‘A’ Central Service in organised civil service of India. IFS provides officer cadre for India’s diplomatic missions. Ministry of External Affairs is the Cadre Controlling Authority.


IFS officers are recruited through two of the following modes:

Direct recruitment through civil service exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

On promotion from Group ‘B’ services. Selection for which is conducted by Staff Selection Commission. Through this one can reach the level of Joint Secretary in the Ministry.

Hierarchy of officers in IFS is as follows:

  1. Foreign Secretary
  2. High Commissioner/ Ambassador/ Permanent Representative
  3. Deputy Chief of Mission/ Deputy High Commissioner/ Deputy Permanent Representative
  4. Additional Secretary
  5. Joint Secretary
  6. Deputy Secretary
  7. Assistant Secretary/ Under Secretary

Pay scale :-

As a well-known fact, Indian Foreign Service IFS officers are posted in Indian embassies and High Commissions around the world as well as offices of Indian Ministry of External Offices within India after the training. While talking about the salary and perks, the location of officers posting is to be kept in mind. For example, two officers of the same batch are in situation posted in New Delhi and Washington respectively. It is obvious that the officer posted in Washington has more financial needs and thus should get more than the person posted in New Delhi. Keeping this in mind government of India has introduced a Special Foreign Allowance for those officers who are supposed to be posted outside the geographical boundaries of the country. Now this allowance will though depend upon the Purchasing Power parity of that particular country in which the officer is posted. Thus, the salary structure represented below is ought to be varied with the Special Foreign Allowance that these officers intake.

Salary Structure of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) as according to their ranks is as follow:

1. Junior Time Scale

Officers at this level join as Under Secretary and the salary basically ranges between Rs. 8000 – 275 – 13, 500

2. Senior Time Scale

Officers at this level join as Under Secretary and the salary basically ranges between Rs. 10, 650 – 325 – 15, 850

3. Junior Administrative Scale

Officers at this level join as Deputy Secretary and the salary basically ranges between Rs. 12, 750 – 375 – 16, 500

4. Selection Grade – IV

Officers at this level join as Counselor Director and the salary basically ranges between Rs. 15, 100 – 400 – 18, 300

5. Senior Administrative Scale

Officers at this level join as Joint Secretary and the salary basically ranges between Rs. 18, 400 – 500 – 22, 400

 6. High Commissioner / Ambassador

Officers at this level join as Foreign Secretary and the salary they receive is Rs. 26, 000 and is fixed.

After adding salary and all the perks and allowances the salary of an IFS officer totals around Rs. 60, 000 . This amount is for those posted in India Amount varies with the country they are posted in.It is the Special Foreign Allowance that makes the major mark in the salary of an IFS officer. For example, if a new IFS officer is posted at the Indian Embassy in the USA, then he is entitled to get at least $ 4, 000 (2.40 Lakhs) per month as Special Foreign Allowance. This allowance increased with the increase in the Grade and level. As you can see, an IFS officer really gets a very fat check when he/she becomes an Ambassador or High Commissioner.

The DA currently is around 80% W.E.F. Jan 2013. It is predicted to be around 90% of Basic Pay w W.E.F. July 2013. If we calculate by assuming DA to be 90% of the Basic Pay, then the net amount left with the officer of all the four levels can be as follow:

1. Junior Scale – A newly posted officer would begin with this pay scale

Pay Band Rs 15,600 – Rs 39,100

Grade Pay Rs 5400

2. Senior Scales – The Senior Scales are though divided into 3 major categories

1. Senior time Scale

Pay Band Rs 15600 – Rs 39100

Grade Pay Rs 6600

1. Junior Administrative Grade

Pay Band Rs 15,600 – Rs 39,100

Grade Pay Rs 7,600

1. Selection Grade

Pay Band Rs 37,400 – 67,000

Grade Pay Rs 8,700

3. Super Time Scale – It may take around 20 years for an officer to reach this stage of payment.

Pay Band Rs 37,400 – Rs 67,000

Grade Pay Rs 10,000

4. Above Super Time Scale – Above Super Time Scale is also divided into 3 main categories I.e.

5. The Pay Band of Rs 37,400 – Rs 67,000 with the Grade Pay of Rs 12,000

6. The Apex Pay Scale of Rs 80,000 (fixed) with no Grade Pay

7. The Cabinet Secretary Grade pay scale of Rs 90,000 (fixed) with no Grade Pay


1. Wonderful accommodation in cheap rates

2. Household helpers and security guards

3. Official vehicles

4. Free electricity

5. Free phone call facility

6. High level of job security

7. Abroad study options

8. Retirement benefits and Pension 

Role of IFS officers :
Representing India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN. Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state

Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI / PIOs;

Reporting accurately on developments in the country of posting which are likely to influence the formulation of India’s policies.

In the Ministry, territorial divisions deal with bilateral political and economic work while functional divisions look after policy planning, multilateral organizations, regional groupings, legal matters, disarmament, protocol, consular, Indian Diaspora, press and publicity, administration and other aspects.

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