IDES or Indian defence estate services is a Group A categorised civil service. IT is categorized under the organised services of the government of India. In simple terms, IDES officers serve as CEOs of cantonment centres. They are attested with the duty of assessing and managing defence land attributes together with carrying out day-to-day civil administration tasks, again in the purview of defence blocks. The cantonment board serves as an authority regarding matters related to defence civil administration and land management.
These decisions are further served by IDES officers in the role of member secretaries of the Cantonment board. The CEO of the cantonment board serves as the highest authority in the order of IDES officers ranking.
The IDES officers work under the envisaged supervision of the Ministry of Defence. It was in the year 1926 that the government passed a resolution and established an order to set up cantonment boards across the country to serve various defence purposes.
The difference with these officers compared to any other cadres is their flexibility to operate with the local bodies and engage in civil services with the liberty of self-governance. The combination of managing civil affairs with the blend of local governance is the essence of IDES.
We all know that defence land holdings account for the greatest ownership of land held by any government unit. This includes the army, naval, air force, defence research establishment, Defence PSUs, ordnance factories, and much more.
Overall, the optimum utilization and management of these lands come under the greatest responsibility of IDES officers. IT is a small cadre, though. To become an IDES officer, a candidate has to undertake the Civil services exam and clear the prelims, mains, and the interview. Depending on the order of merit and preferences, vacancies, and postings plus competition in the exam, candidates get the post.
Training offered to selected candidates
The training for various services under UPSC varies with duration, training curriculum, nature of modules, and the venue of the training. Every service is offered training that is completely varying in nature. Below, we list some of the insights into how IDES officers are trained for their post:
- Successfully selected candidates in the UPSC CSE exams assigned for IDES are called in for training at NIDEM (National Institute of Defence Estates Management) at Delhi. Here, probationary officers are trained for six months on various aspects of cantonment management. This period of training includes the details of various cantonments, their operating grounds, and direct municipal control of their territories and how they are interlinked with cantonment organization, etc. Apart from this, very significantly, they are taught about civil administration principles in addition to land and territory usage and management of defence lands. Security is a major factor when it comes to territory planning and management curriculums.
- After the six month training period, the probationary officers have to undergo the next level of training called the ‘End of the probationary training module.’ Here, the focus is more on gaining field exposure and on-job insights into what they have previously learned in academic curriculums. So, this duration is all about gaining practical exposure plus field and hands-on experience about how their job role is going to be in the near future. The orientation of these officers into initial posting locations will help them gain the basal platform for a much more prosperous IDES career in their near future.
- Soon after the completion of the probationary phase, IDES officers are sent on a two-week-long trip to the entire Indian subcontinent, where important places are earmarked for their visit. The prominent places of the Indian Army, Navy, and the Air Force are briefed and listed for their visit. This is mainly to help them gain strong ground in officer training and offer practical field knowledge on their job profile.
The IDES cadre is a relatively small service cadre comprising around 18250 serving officers working at different locations. They function under the working instructions of the ministry of defence.
- Under group A postings, they serve as secretary level officers at the apex level, additional secretaries, and joint secretaries.
- Cantonment executive officers serving under group B are designated in various posts as assistant defence estate officers, senior private secretaries, and private secretaries.
- Land and territory management staff includes technical officers, clerks, and support staff.
- Civil administration officers serve in various positions at cantonment boards.
Roles and Responsibilities of IDES officers
The primary goal of IDES officers is to ensure a balanced and harmonious relationship between the civilian communities and the defence personnel in the cantonment regions. They help in civic administration and defence land management. Some of their primary roles and responsibilities are:
- Primary and secondary utilization of defence lands.
- The civil administration of cantonment boards with importance given to local self-governance.
- Develop an amicable township in each cantonment area that provides good housing facilities and civic amenities together with essential infrastructure and planning portals.
- Develop a social concern caused by the local society where the cantonment is established.
- Acquisition of defence properties, mostly immovable.
- Hiring and regaining lost properties that are under the purview of defence estates.
- Conducting regular land and document surveys of defence lands.
- Maintaining records of defence lands, create digitization, implement organised record keeping structures, and updated versions of land dealings with respect to defence lands.
- Disposing unused defence lands and preventing any trespassing or litigations with respect to defence lands. Stopping encroachments from entering their lands unlawfully.
Indian Defence Estates Service Ranks and Salaries
The pay scale of IDES officers is dependent on a lot of factors; below table indicates the necessary details:
|Grade / Ranking||Pay scale in rupees||Designation||Designation in Headquarters|
|Junior time grade officer||Between 8000-275-13500||Serves as Cantonment executive Officer (CEO) or alternative post as Defence estates officer (DEO)||Deputy Assistant DG in DG’s office.|
They could also alternatively serve as Assistant Director in office of Director Defence Estates, at Command headquarters
|Senior time grade officer||Between 10000-325-15200||Cantonment executive officer (CEO) or alternative post as Defence Estates Officer (DEO)||Assistant DG in DG’s office.|
They could also alternatively serve as Deputy Director in office of Director Defence Estates at command headquarters
|Junior administrative grade officer||Between 12000-375-16500||Cantonment executive officer (CEO) or alternative post as Defence Estates Officer (DEO)||Deputy Director in DG’s office.|
Alternatively serve as the Joint Director in of the Director Defence Estates at command headquarters
|Selection grade officer||Between 14300-400-18300||Cantonment executive officer (CEO) or alternative post as Defence Estates Officer (DEO)||Deputy Director in DG’s office.|
Alternative role as Joint Director in the Director Defence Estates at command headquarters
|Senior administrative grade officer||Between 18400-500-22400||No specific roles||Director Defence Estates at Command HQ.|
Alternatively as Additional DG in DG’s office.
|Higher administrative grade officer||Between 22400-525-24500||No specific roles||Senior Additional DG in DG’s office.|
Could also serve as Principal Director at command HQ
|Director General of Defence Estates||26000 (fixed pay)||No specific roles||Director General of Defence Estates ( Same role)|
IDES officers serve at various points throughout the country, and their job is highly esteemed and revered in all respects. Some of their high points when it comes to the career are:
- They will be deputed on projects to the central government.
- They will also serve at state governments and public sector undertakings.
- Based on appraisal reports, they will be receiving higher perks and promotions to rise higher up the career ladder.
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