UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam 2020 - Eligibility, Pattern, Syllabus, and Training Details

UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam

Indian Foreign Services (IFS) is one of the Central Civil Services of the Indian Government under Group A. Indian Foreign Services members represent the country in international territory. IFS officers are involved in foreign-related issues, country’s external affairs such as trade, diplomacy, and cultural relations. The primary goal of IFS is framing foreign policies and managing Indian missions abroad.

The candidates are selected for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) through the Civil Services Examination (popularly known as IAS exam) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year. The Civil Services Examination (CSE) covers recruitment in three services under the Government of India - Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS), and Indian Police Services (IPS). The article here will cover the detailed information related to eligibility criteria, exam pattern, syllabus, selection process, and more for the UPSC IFS 2020 exam.

IFS Exam 2020 - Quick Overview

The IFS recruitment exam is covered under the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. The main highlights for the exam are as under:

Exam Name

Civil Services Examination (Indian Foreign Service Exam)

Conducting Authority

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Official Website

https://www.upsc.gov.in

Exam Level

National

Exam Mode

(Pen-and-Paper Based) Offline

Number of Attempts

6 (General), 9 (OBC), No Limit (SC/ST)


UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam 2020 Important Dates

The recruitment notice for IFS 2020 exam has been released. The important dates related to the exam are as under:

Exam Events

Important Dates

Online application process begins

12th February 2020

Last date for online application submission

3rd March 2020

Preliminary exam admit card

Three weeks before the exam

IFS Preliminary Exam

4th October 2020 (Sunday)

Preliminary exam result

November 2020

Detailed application form for the Main exam

December 2020

IFS Main exam admit card

December 2020

IFS Main Exam

8th January 2021

Main exam result

February 2021

Interview

March 2021


UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam 2020 Pattern & Syllabus

Exam Pattern for UPSC IFS 2020

The exam will be conducted in two stages:

  • Preliminary Examination (Objective Type)
  • Main Examination (Written Exam and Interview)

Preliminary Exam Pattern

The preliminary exam is also called the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). It comprises of two papers as follows:

Papers

Subjects

Time Duration

Maximum Marks

Paper-1

General Studies

2 hours

200 marks

Paper-2

General Studies

2 hours

200 marks

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  • Both papers will comprise multiple-choice questions.
  • The questions paper will be in both Hindi and English languages.
  • The General Studies (Paper-II) will be of qualifying nature. The minimum qualifying marks are fixed at 33%.

Negative Marking - Negative marking is applicable for the incorrect response. 1/3rd of the marks assigned to the question will be deducted for every wrong response. If a candidate marks more than one answer, it will also be treated as a wrong response even if one of the answers is correct. No marks will be awarded or deducted for questions left unanswered.

Merit List for Main Exam - “The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.”

Main Exam Pattern

The Main exam comprises a written exam and interview test. The written exam consists of nine papers. All the papers will be of conventional essay type. Here are the details of the papers:

Papers

Maximum Marks

Qualifying Papers

Paper-A (One language to be selected by the languages included in 8th Schedule of the Constitution)

300 marks

Paper-B (English)

300 marks

Papers Counted for Merit

Paper-I (Essay)

250 marks

Paper-II (General Studies-I)

250 marks

Paper-III (General Studies-II)

250 marks

Paper-IV (General Studies-III)

250 marks

Paper-V (General Studies-IV)

250 marks

Paper-VI (Optional Subject - Paper-1)

250 marks

Paper-VII (Optional Subject - Paper-2)

250 marks

Sub Total

1750 marks

Total Marks of the Main Exam

Main Exam Phases

Total Marks

Written Test Marks

1750

Personality Test (Interview) Marks

275

Grand Total

2025

Exam Duration - Each paper will be of three hours duration.

List of Optional Subjects

Candidates must choose any one subject from the following optional subjects:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Anthropology
  3. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  4. Botany
  5. Civil Engineering
  6. Chemistry
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Electrical Engineering
  9. Economics
  10. Geology
  11. Geography
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Mathematics
  15. Management
  16. Medical Science
  17. Mechanical Engineering
  18. Physics
  19. Philosophy
  20. Psychology
  21. Political Science and International Relations
  22. Public Administration
  23. Statistics
  24. Sociology
  25. Zoology
  26. The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Maithili, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Santhali, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu and English.

Merit List for Interview - The final merit list will be prepared based on the marks obtained in all compulsory papers and marks obtained in the interview.

Negative Marking - There will be no negative marking in the Main exam.

Interview Test - Candidates who qualify the Main exam will be called for the interview. The interview will be conducted by a Board and will have questions on general interest. The interview is conducted to test the mental calibre, social traits, and moral integrity of the candidate. The interview is of 275 marks.

Syllabus for UPSC IFS 2020

Preliminary Exam Syllabus

Paper-I

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography- Physical, Economic, Social Geography of India and the World Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Panchayati Raj, Political System, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Inclusion, Poverty, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science

Paper-II

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.), Data interpretation (graphs, charts, tables, data sufficiency etc.) - Class X level

Main Exam Syllabus

Paper A and Paper B - The papers on Indian languages and English will have questions of Matriculation or equivalent standard. The pattern of the papers will be:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Precis Writing
  • Short Essays
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Translation from English to Indian languages and vice-versa

Paper-I

Essay - Writing essays on multiple topics in an effective expression.

Paper-II

General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect on the society
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

Paper-III

General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • India and its neighbourhood- relations
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Paper-IV

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment
  • Government Budgeting
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
  • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing
  • Land reforms in India
  • Investment models
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
  • Disaster and disaster management
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Paper-V

General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
  • Case Studies on the above issues

Paper-VI and Paper-VII

Paper-VI and VII are of optional type. Candidates are required to select one subject for each optional paper. The syllabus for optional subjects is available in the official notification. Candidates can check the same as per their selected subject.



UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam 2020 Eligibility

Nationality

For the Indian Foreign Services, the candidate must be a citizen of India.

Age Limit

For the IFS 2020 exam, the candidate must be born not before 2nd august 1988 and not after 1st august 1999. The age will be counted as on 1st August 2020. In other words, the candidate must have attained 21 years of age and must not have attained the age of 32 years.

Relaxation in the age will be provided to reserved category candidates as follows:

Categories

Relaxation in Upper Age Limit

SC/ ST

Up to 5 years

OBC

Up to 3 years

Ex-servicemen

Up to 5 years

Defence Service Personnel (disabled during hostilities and released)

Up to 3 years

Deaf and Hard of Hearing/ Blindness and low vision/ Locomotor Disability including leprosy cured, cerebral palsy, acid attack victims, dwarfism, and muscular dystrophy/ autism, intellectual disability, mental illness, and specific learning disability

Up to 10 years

Educational Qualification

Candidates must hold a graduation degree (any discipline) from a recognised institute/ University.


UPSC Indian Foreign Services Exam 2020 Application Process

The UPSC IFS application forms are accepted only through the online mode. Candidates are advised to submit their online applications before the last date of submission. Candidates must submit only a single form. However, in case he has submitted multiple forms, the form with higher RID will be considered by the commission. Thus, make sure that the form is complete in all respects for successful registration.

Documents Required for Filling the Application Form

  • Valid photo ID proof (Aadhaar Card, PAN Card, Passport, Driving License, Voter Card, Photo ID proof issued by State/ Central government)
  • Scanned images of Photograph and Signature in JPG format. The file size should be between 20 KB and 300 KB)

Steps to Fill the UPSC IFS Application Form 2020

The UPSC IFS application form submission comprises two parts. Candidates are advised to complete both the parts for successful application submission. Here are the steps to be followed:

  • Visit the official of UPSC at - www.upsconline.nic.in.
  • Click on the link for registration under the ‘Part-I’ registration column in front of the civil services examination 2020.
  • Read the instructions carefully and proceed to the registration form.
  • Fill all the details required for completing the registration process.
  • On successful registration, you will receive a Registration ID and password.
  • Now click on the link under ‘Part-II’ and complete the remaining application form.
  • Upload the scanned images of required documents and make the fee payment.
  • After successful completion of the application process, take a print of the confirmation page.

Application Fee

The IFS application fee can be paid offline ‘by cash’ at any branch of the State Bank of India or through online mode using Visa/ RuPay/ Master/ Credit/ Debit Card or Internet Banking of SBI. ‘Pay by Cash’ mode is deactivated one day before the closing date of application submission. The application fee is as under:

Categories

Application Fee Amount

Female/ SC/ ST/ PwBD

Exempted

Others

₹ 100/-

Withdrawal of the IFS Application Form

UPSC offers the facility to withdraw the application form for the IFS exam before the exam. The facility was introduced a few years ago as only half of the candidates who fill the application form, appear for the exam. And, UPSC has to bear the costs of conducting the examination. The window for withdrawal of application form is activated at the official website. Here are the steps to be followed for withdrawing IFS application form:

Steps for Withdrawing IFS Application Form

  • Visit the official UPSC website.
  • Click on the link for withdrawal of application form under the ‘What’s New’ section.
  • Proceed by clicking on the ‘click here’ link.
  • Read the instructions and click the ‘Yes’ button.
  • Enter your registration ID and click the ‘Continue’ button.
  • Proceed to withdraw the application form.
  • After successful withdrawal, take a print of the receipt of the withdrawal.

Candidates must note that there is no provision for refund of the application fee on withdrawal of the application form. As per the official notification, the application fee will not be refunded under any circumstances.

Detailed Application Form

The Detailed Application Form (DAF) is required to be filled by the candidates at different stages of the recruitment process. After qualifying the preliminary exam, candidates are required to fill and submit the Detailed Application Form-I (DAF-I) for appearing in the Main exam. Also, after the commencement of the Interview phase, shortlisted candidates are again required to fill the Detailed Application Form-II (DAF-II) to indicate their services preference. The Detailed Application Forms are released on the official website. Keep a check on the same.


Other Details

IFS 2020 Admit Card

The IFS 2020 admit cards will be issued three weeks before the exam only for the eligible candidates. The admit cards are released on the official website and candidates can download the same using their registration ID and password. Please note that no admit card will be sent through the post. Admit card is a mandatory document and no candidate will be allowed to take the examination without an admit card.

IFS 2020 Exam Centres

Centres for Preliminary Exam

The IFS Preliminary exam will be conducted at the following centres:

Agartala

Dispur

Kochi

Raipur

Ahmedabad

Dharwad

Kolkata

Ranchi

Ajmer

Faridabad

Kohima

Rajkot

Agra

Gangtok

Kozhikode (Calicut)

Shillong

Aizawl

Ghaziabad

Ludhiana

Sambalpur

Aligarh

Gurgaon

Lucknow

Shimla

Aurangabad

Gaya

Mumbai

Srinagar

Anantapur (AP)

Gwalior

Madurai

Siliguri

Bareilly

Gorakhpur

Mysore

Thane

Bhopal

Hyderabad

Nagpur

Tirupati

Bangalore

Itanagar

Navi Mumbai

Tiruchirapalli

Bilaspur

Imphal

Gautam Buddh Nagar

Thiruvananthapuram

Chandigarh

Indore

Prayagraj (Allahabad)

Udaipur

Coimbatore

Jammu

Patna

Varanasi

Chennai

Jodhpur

Panaji (Goa)

Vijayawada

Cuttack

Jabalpur

Pune

Vellore

Delhi

Jaipur

Puducherry

Visakhapatnam

Dehradun

Jorhat

Port Blair

Warangal

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Centres for Main Exam

Aizawl

Chennai

Jaipur

Raipur

Ahmedabad

Delhi

Kolkata

Ranchi

Bhopal

Dehradun

Lucknow

Shimla

Bengaluru

Dispur (Guwahati)

Mumbai

Shillong

Chandigarh

Hyderabad

Prayagraj (Allahabad)

Thiruvananthapuram

Cuttack

Jammu

Patna

Vijayawada

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UPSC IFS Result 2020

The UPSC IFS result 2020 will be declared after every phase of the examination i.e. Preliminary and Main. The final result is announced after the Interview phase is over. Candidates who qualify a stage are eligible for the next stage. The final result for the IFS 2020 exam will be tentatively released by April 2021.

UPSC IFS Training

Candidates who are finally shortlisted for the Indian Foreign Services (IFS) have to undergo comprehensive training. The training is conducted at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. After that, candidates undergo training at the Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi. The training process involves lectures, attachments with different sections of the Government, and getting familiar with touring within the country and abroad. At last, the officer is assigned his/ her compulsory foreign language (CFL).

Candidates have to pass an exam in his/her CFL before getting confirmed at the service. Candidates are then required to serve a brief time at the desk in the Ministry of External Affairs. Candidates are then posted on an Indian Mission abroad (country where his CFL is the native language).

UPSC IFS 2020 Exam - Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

UPSC IFS exam is conducted for recruitment in the Indian Foreign Services. Here are the frequently asked questions related to the exam.

Question 1: When will the online application process begin?

The online application process started on 12th February 2020.

Question 2: What is the last date for application submission?

The last date for application submission was 3rd March 2020.

Question 3: What is the date for IFS Preliminary exam?

The IFS Preliminary exam will be conducted on 4th October 2020.

Question 4: When will be the IFS Main exam conducted?

The IFS Main exam is scheduled to be conducted on 8th January 2021.

Question 5: When will the admit card for the exam released?

The admit card will be released three weeks before the exam. Separate admit cards will be released for the Preliminary and Main phase examinations.

Question 6: What is the minimum age for applying for the exam?

The minimum age for applying for the IFS exam is 21 years.

Question 7: Is there any age relaxation for the exam?

Yes, age relaxation is provided to reserved category candidates.

Question 8: Is there any negative marking in the exam?

Yes, there is negative marking in the objective type papers i.e. preliminary phase examination.

Question 9: Is there any relaxation in the application fee for female candidates?

Yes. Female candidates are exempted from the fee payment.

Question 10: Is it compulsory to fill the Detailed Application Form?

Yes. It is compulsory to fill the Detailed Application Form (DAF) for appearing in the Main exam.


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