upsc exam Syllabus : Indian Civil Services Syllabus For IAS,IPS,IES,ISS,IFS details

Nature of Services :  Indian Civil Services Examination ::INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE (IFS)


Indian Civil Services : UPSC Exams ::INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE (IFS)


The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) was formed during the year 1946 with the cadre controlling authority of Foreign Secretary and a cadre size of 618 posts. The source of recruitment (in percentage) was by direct recruitment – 87%; by promotion – 13% and with no lateral entries.

Service hierarchy:

Grade Pay scales Designations in field Designations in headquarters Any other Designation
Junior time scale 8000-275-13500 Attache /third secretary Under secretary NIL
Senior time scale 10650-325-15850 Second / first secretary Under secretary NIL
Junior administrative grade 12750-375-16500 First secretary Deputy secretary NIL
Selection grade IV 15100-400-18300 Director Counselor Director NIL
Senior administrative grade 18400-500-22400 Minister/DCM Ambassador Joint secretary NIL
22400-525-24500 Ambassador/high Commissioner Additional secretary NIL
26000 (fixed) Ambassador/High Commissioner Secretary ---

Brief write up on the service outlining the main functions etc. including areas where interaction and coordination with other services is essential:

The IFS was created in October 1946 as a specialised service for the conduct of India’s relations with foreign countries in all aspects – political, economic, commercial, consular, external publicity and cultural affairs. The main functions of the IFS and its role in the conduct of foreign relations is enumerated below:

(i) Political – IFS officers are required to constantly monitor and assess the emerging situation in the host country and countries of concurrent accreditation, duly taking into account the political, economic and the socio-cultural factors, and brief the Government of India with a view to promoting and protecting our national interests. This involves maintaining a continuous supply of information to the Ministry of External Affairs by means of accurate and insightful reports on current events and discemible trends. Officers maintain regular contact with the host Government at appropriate levels to project and seek support for Government of India’s views on various international issues of vital importance to our interests. The views of the host Government are solicited and suitable feed back conveyed to headquarters to facilitate effective policy formulation.

(ii) Economic & Commercial – Economic and commercial work have an extremely important role to play in a Foreign Service officers’ line of duty. It is intricately linked to political work and one cannot be seen in isolation of the other. The main functions in the Economic and Commercial field include promotion of India’s economic and commercial interests including promotion of Indian exports to various countries, encouraging flow of investments into India, facilitating industrial and technical collaboration between Indian and foreign industrial, business and commercial organisations. Economic and commercial work requires constant monitoring of opportunities, making relevant information available, organising various trade promotion events, facilitating participation in trade fairs, assisting in resolution of trade disputes and dissemination of information on business and investment opportunities available in India. The concerned trade promotion and other divisions in Ministry of Commerce are closely associated with the functioning of the commercial wings of India’s Missions and Posts abroad.

(iii) Consular – Consular work involves protection of the rights of Indian nationals, assistance in settling their disputes, arranging repatriation of destitute Indians and maintaining contacts with and providing consular access to, Indian nationals who have been imprisoned in foreign countries for violation of local laws, as well as provision of passport facilities. In addition, consular work also involves expeditious issue of visas to foreign nationals desirous of visiting India. Consular work involves close coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Regional Passport Offices located in various parts of the country.

(iv) Publicity – Publicity work involves projection of India’s views and concerns on national and international issues and influencing public opinion in the countries of accreditation with developments in India in all spheres, particularly those which have a bearing on India’s foreign policy and security. In addition to countering negative trends and media publicity, officers endeavour to enlarge the areas of positive perception about the country while attempting to build up greater awareness and understanding for its policies and values. Audio-visual, print material, material, and the Internet are used to reinforce the country’s positive image and to keep the media informed about issues that impinge on India’s national interests. Promotion of Indian culture as well as its understanding thereof abroad and strengthening of India’s cultural relations with host countries is an integral part of Publicity work and is an extremely important element of India’s foreign policy. Officers in close cooperation and consultation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) impart instructions on various aspects of Indian cultural heritage including dance, music and Indian languages to foreign nationals and people of Indian origin alike. Officers are also entrusted with the work of organising cultural programmes, seminars and workshops for people of Indian origin abroad as well as foreign nationals. Cultural cooperation with several countries is also arranged through Cultural Treaties which enables mutually agreed and structured forms of cultural exchange programmes, finalized well in advance.

(v) Representation – A Foreign Service Officer is expected at all times and in all his contacts with the government as well as its people, in the country where he serves, to conduct himself as a representative of his country, his people and his government. He projects the imager of India through his words and deeds.