The Indian Trade Services are group A cadre gazette services. It is a specialized service that is concerned with the country’s performance in international trade and commerce operations.
This department comes under the direct control of the Directorate General of foreign trade. It is under the placement of the ministry of commerce. Everything associated with foreign trade, international policies regarding the performance of foreign trade, foreign rules and regulations for conducting commerce outside the country, etc. are all brought under the purview of ITS.
The Indian Trade services operate under the well-bifurcated division into nine working units. They are, international trade policy-related division, territorial division concerned with foreign trade, division exclusively handling export products, division concerned with export industries, divisional unit handling foreign services, economic division of trade services, division handling administration affairs and general services, division solely dedicated to financial operations and the supply chain division.
The recruitment to Indian Trade Services happens through the civil services examination conducted by UPSC. Aspiring candidates have to clear all rounds of civil service exams, namely the prelims round, the mains round, and the interview, and get shortlisted in the final list. Based on candidate preferences, the order of merit, vacancies, and the number of candidates applied, the authorities will select candidates into the service.
Training offered to selected ITS candidates
After completion of the foundation course that is common to all candidates selected for the civil services, probationers will move on to much higher specialized training. The foundation course providing basic training will be offered at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for administration at Mussourie. The specialized training course is explained stepwise in the following section:
- The first level of specialized training takes place at the Indian Institute of foreign trade in New Delhi. This coursework imparts both theoretical learnings as well as practical exposure to on-job training.
- The conceptual learning modules engage students in various topics like in-depth studies of India’s ambitious foreign policy, structure and working of the world trade organization, economics in the micro and macro levels , performing business in international space, international trade relations and business ties, business marketing in international arenas, human resource development and management concerned with international business relations.
- Since candidates are dealing with international business and trade relations, it is mandatory for them to learn a foreign language too.
- On-job exposure is provided to probationers by assigning them to various related establishments, industrial units, manufacturing sectors, etc.
- After the initial training at these places, they are sent ahead for the next level of specialized training. They may be assigned to one of these important centers – the National institute of Customs, Excise, and Narcotics, which is located at Kanpur / Federation of Indian export organizations at New Delhi / Government customs and excise departments / Foreign service institute at New Delhi.
- Furthermore, they may be provided a chance to serve at public sector undertakings, trade establishments, international institutes of trade and commerce, and similar organizations.
This whole training process is provided to probationary officers during their initial induction into the ITS cadre. After serving for a specified number of years at the service, they would be assigned to other mid-level training facilities, which may be optional in most scenarios. These training however include:
- Training at national and international universities of fame. They could also be trained by any of the prestigious IIMS in India.
- To learn more about international trade and commerce activities, they may be assigned on short tenures to foreign countries like the US, Switzerland, etc.
- They may also receive short term deputations to WTO as part of their mid-level training curriculums.
- ITS officers receive their initial posting in the role of Assistant director-general of foreign trade.
- From here, they climb higher up the levels like additional director general of foreign trade.
- Foreign trade policy formulation happens at the capital of the country by ITS officers when they are posted as Directorate general of foreign trade at New Delhi.
- At field offices across the country, ITS officers handle international export and import of trade commodities and services.
- ITS officers work in collaboration with other government departments, both central and state, affiliated in exercising export and import activities.
- They are deputed as training personnel to promote courses in government bodies on international commerce.
- They serve in foreign assignments when deputed to WTO (world trade organization), UNCTAD (United nations conference on trade and development), etc.
- They are deputed in trade and commerce assignments in collaboration with other ministries.
- They are posted as directorate general of Anti-dumping departments and investigating officers for anti-dumping cases on par with WTO provisions.
Roles and Responsibilities of ITS Officers
The economy of a country depends on the smooth operations of a country’s trade and commerce activities. In this regard, export and import activities form the central hub of activities lined up for a country’s progress and development in the economic angle. Some important roles and responsibilities performed by ITS officers are:
- Creating foreign policies that implement conditions prevailing at current times. Amending old rules and regulations to fit into the modern-day performance of trade and commerce activities.
- Handling trade policies with respect to international trade and taking care of their effective implementations.
- Promotion of export related activities and creating measures to increase foreign trade and commerce activities.
- Performing international trade by reviving, bringing about new ties with foreign countries by advocating diplomacy and peaceful trade negotiations.
- Launching new schemes and incentives to achieve robust international trade performance in the country.
- Bringing foreign trade to the doorstep of local businesses and creating channels to promote and develop new businesses for the progress of the country.
ITS officers serve in various roles, some of which are listed below here:
- Beginning with basic level roles like Under secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Joint secretary, they rise to the role of Additional secretary to the government of India under the Ministry of Trade and commerce.
- They serve in prospective positions on deputations to foreign missions. Here, they get to serve at WTO and the trade and commerce divisions of the UN.
- As trade advisors or trade commissioners in states, they get to serve at councils for export promotions, commodity boards, and government institutes like FICCI (Federation of Indian chambers of commerce and industry) and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).
- ITS officers are engaged in various training roles to encourage new entrepreneurs to hold trade interests within the comfort of their places and bring about transformation through Make in India initiatives.
- They are explicitly assigned various roles to promote trade under Niryat Bandhu schemes and Start-Up India Welfare initiatives.
Different ITS officers enjoy different pay scales according to their ranks and grades. Based on their role in the directorate general of foreign trade, they are assigned different pay scales. In the senior administrative grade roles, they are assigned basic pay anywhere between INR 37400 to INR 67000. In junior roles, officers are assigned a pay scale of INR 15,600 to INR 39,000. In various selection grade roles, pay scales range between INR 15,600 to INR 67,000.
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