UPSC CDS Combined Defence Services Career Prospects


The Union Service Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Combined Defence Services Examination for shortlisting candidates for various positions in the Indian Defence Sector. UPSC CDS is conducted twice every year and selected candidates are admitted to various defence departments, like

  • Indian Military Academy
  • Officers Training Academy
  • Indian Naval Academy
  • Indian Air Force Academy

This year, CDS 2016, will be conducted on the following days.

  • UPSC CDS I – 14 February 2016
  • UPSC CDS II – 23 October 2016

After a candidate crack UPSC CDS Written Exam, he/she proceeds to the next level in the recruitment process, the interview. Candidates will be analysed on the basis of their thinking ability, analytical skills and confidence. These interviews are conducted by Services Selection Board (SSB) and successful candidates are admitted to their respective academies.


Before we dive into the specifics of UPSC CDS 2016 like CDS Syllabus and Eligibility Criteria, let us talk about what sort of career opportunities in Defence are offered after qualifying UPSC CDS 2016.


UPSC CDS 2016: Why Choose a Career in Defence?

Let us begin by saying that if you want an opportunity to serve your country, maybe a Career in Defence is one way to look at. There is a plethora of benefits you receive while you serve your country let alone the “Discipline” and “Adventure” factor. Crack UPSC CDS 2016 Exam and a lot of career opportunities are waiting for you on the other side.

As a defence officer you get to :

  • Serve and Represent your country in the proudest way possible.
  • Earn a substantial Pay Scale and a handful of Perks.
  • Have a respectable and Secured Job.
  • Have an attitude that gives you courage to come out of the most difficult situation with a smile.

After successful completion of Combined Defence Services training, the candidates pass out in the rank of a designated officer will be entitled to the pay and allowance of the rank.


UPSC CDS 2016: Rank-Wise Pay Scale

(for Army, Air Force and Navy Officers)

During the training period in the respective defence academies, a fixed stipend of Rs. 21000/- per month is compensated. After you complete your training from OTA, you get commissioned by the Indian Defence Administration as a Lieutenant. The same rank is commissioned in case your training has been carried out at the Indian Military Academy (IMA). The general Pay Banks for similar ranking officers in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force are as follows.


UPSC CDS Career: Defence Officers Pay Scale

 Rank of the Officer  Pay Scale (in Rs.)
 Lt. to Major  15,600-39,100 (PB-3)
 Lt. Col. to Maj Gen.  37,400-67,000(PB-4)
 Lt. Gen. HAG Scale  67,000-(annual increment @ 3%)-79.000
 HAG Scale*  75,500-(annual increment @ 3%)-80,000
 VCOAS/Army Cdr/Lt. Gen (NFSG)


 80,000/- (Fixed)

90,000/- (Fixed)

*Admissible to one-third of total strength of Lt. Gens

In addition to Pay Scale, the officers are also provided Grade Pay in the following scale.


UPSC CDS Career: Defence Officers Grade Pay

 Rank of the Officer Grade Pay (in Rs.)
 Lieutenant (Lt.)  5,400
 Captain (Capt.)  6,100
 Major (Maj)  6,600
 Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col)  8,000
 Colonel (Col.)  8,700
 Brigadier (Brig)  8,900
 Major General (Maj. Gen.)  10,000

Apart from Pay Scale and Grade Pay, there are a number of perks and benefits enjoyed by the officers.

  • Dearness Allowance (DA)
  • Maintenance Allowance
  • Uniform Allowance
  • Transport Allowance (TA)
  • Children Education Allowance

Apart from these, casual and annual leaves are also abundant in the life of an officer. There is no doubt that the life of an army, navy and naval officer is filled with challenges. But these perks and benefits can definitely make it a little smoother. Now we turn to the final section, the retirement pension plan of defence officers.


CDS Career: Retirement Pension Plan

With great perks and responsibilities, comes bigger commitments.

An officer must fulfill a minimum of 20 years in service in order to reap the benefits. Retiring pension shall be calculated at 50% of the average of emoluments reckoned for pension ( i.e. pay, rank pay and non practising allowance, if any ) drawn by the officer during the last 10 months of his service or 50% of last pay drawn whichever is more beneficial. The retiring pension in no case shall be less than  3,500/- per month.

So, if you are a person who wishes to live life on the edge, facing fearful odds and challenging tasks, a career in defence is the way to be. See what type of competition you’ll be facing.


UPSC CDS Exam Total Applications 

Something is quite visible, right?

Year Paper Applications Appeared
2007 CDS-I 64,028 48,746
2007 CDS-II 53,868 30,272
2008 CDS-I 51,002 37,897
2008 CDS-II 53,794 30,945
2009 CDS-I 63,824 29,352
2009 CDS-II 89,604 52,970
2010 CDS-I 86,575 38,742
2010 CDS-II 99,017 50,033
2011 CDS-I 99,815 50,152
2011 CDS-II 1,00,043 44,130
2012 CDS-I 1,36,641 50,152
2012 CDS-II 1,52,052 75,990
2013 CDS-I 2,08,270 64,626
2013 CDS-II 2,01,603 95,397

The Indian Youth has always been hungry for more when it comes to building a career in the defence sector. Tracing UPSC CDS data regarding the total number of applications submitted and candidates appeared for exam, you will see the graph has always been highly progressive!

Hence, you need a lot more than just faith. Good Preparation will be the right answer. Stay connected with our blog as we will guide you on how to crack upcoming UPSC CDS 2016 Exam.

If there are any queries, please mention in the comments section below.


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