Insights

  1. Senior Field Officer is a gazetted Group B officer in the R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing). His primary work is the collection of external intelligence, counter-terrorism, and covert operations.
  2. We are not allowed to disclose even a bit of information to anyone. Not even our spouse!
  3. If we’re ever caught by foreign agencies, we won’t return alive.
  4. There are very few vacancies in this profession.
  5. In my department, the knowledge of Electronics and Communication Engineering (E&C) is essential, so Engineers in E&C are preferred.
  6. The job is a service to the nation and requires the person to put his/her life on stake for the job.

Personal Details

Name – Confidential

Profession – Senior Field officer in Cabinet Secretariat

Age – Confidential

Gender – Male

Industry – Government Intelligence/Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW)

City – Confidential

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in a village near Dadri. I completed my education in Dadri and spent most of my life here. My father was in the army while mother was a homemaker. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters.

Who had the most influence on you and how?

My mother had the most influence on me as she was really punctual in her work and did everything with utmost integrity. As the saying goes, a good mother is worth a hundred teachers.

Please give a summary of your career.

I started as an LDC (Lower Divisional Clerk). After 12 years, I got promoted to Assistant Field Officer.

After 5 years, I became Deputy field officer and remained so for 8 years.

Then, I got a promotion to the post of Field officer.

After 6 years I got a promotion to Senior Field officer. Now it has been 6 years since I’m in this position.

Which institutes are best for the training/education of this profession?

One must have an engineering degree from any reputed college to get a call for the entrance exam. This exam is conducted by Union Cabinet.

What are the costs associated with the training/education of this profession?

The engineering costs may be high, but entry into this profession is completely free as its bore by the government.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in R&AW?

One must have a degree in Engineering or Technology from a recognized University in Telecommunication or Electronics or equivalent or passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers (India) or Associate Membership Examination of Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers.

The candidates have to apply in the prescribed format along with the required documents.

The candidates will be selected on the basis of their GATE score and a personal interview.

The candidate’s age should not be more than 35 years.

The selected candidates will get the required training according to the post assigned to them and they will start working as soon as it’s complete.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect in your line of career & industry?

Starting out — 5.4 lakhs INR per annum

5 years’ experience — 6 lakhs INR per annum

10 years’ experience — 7.8 lakhs INR per annum

15 years’ experience — 10 lakhs INR per annum

20+ years’ experience — 15 lakhs INR per annum

Please describe your work.

We come under Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW). R&AW comes under Cabinet Secretariat, just like Intelligence Bureau comes under Ministry of Home Affairs.

My primary work is the collection of external intelligence, counter-terrorism, and covert operations.
I’m responsible for getting and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and persons, in order to advise Indian foreign policymakers.
I then hand over the information to the desk officers, who then turn it over to the controlling officers, who are usually IPS officers of Joint secretary level.

I work for 8 hours and for 5 days a week. Saturdays and Sundays are off.

What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider a career in R&AW?

  1. Job security is very high.
  2. It is also a high-impact job, where you get to provide service to the nation. There are a number of movies representing people like us, where agents save wars from happening. Imagine being a real hero!
  3. You get to show your real patriotism towards the country through your profession.
  4. You get all the governmental perks in the job along with a good salary. Also, you get a number of perks such as medical insurance, residence, transportation, pension security etc.
  5. The work-life balance is great with weekends completely off.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

  1. Sometimes while collecting information we can offend someone powerful which makes it a risky job. This job is like an intelligence officer’s job with emphasis on collecting foreign country’s intelligence and terrorist activities.
  2. Also, if foreign agencies ever caught us, we won’t return alive, or may not return at all. We often put our lives at risk as a part of this job.
  3. The biggest challenge is maintaining the confidentiality of the job. I’m not allowed to disclose even a bit of information I collect as part of my profession to my family or friends, even the closest ones. Disclosing information is like breaching the trust of the nation which gives your country the right to take away your life.
  4. You need to be willing to give up your life for your country if you want to work in this field.

What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding a premium in your job profile?

Technology is impacting everything. Needless to say, that one should be very good with latest technologies in this domain. This type of job is suitable for such people who have a natural affinity towards such work and has these skills.

What kind of a person would be happy in your career?

A person who is diplomatic, energetic, risk-taker, disciplined and intelligent will be happy in this career. That person should be able to maintain the confidentiality.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

No. I’m satisfied in this profession.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Senior Field Officer post in cabinet secretariat is a very good post to work in and a few people get chance to work in this post. So, if you are getting this chance then I will suggest you not to let it go out of your hands. Be ethical in the profession and do your work carefully. Confidentiality is a must, remember!

You may like to check out our conversation with Mr. Karamveer Singh Bhati (Retired JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) at Indian Army Corps of EME).