Career in CDS


The “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the recruitment of candidates into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The UPSC will conduct the CDS exam twice a year in the month of February and September.  Candidates who aim to serve the nation by joining the defence forces can start applying for the CDS examination. In order to apply online for the CDS examination, candidates should meet all the eligibility requirements set by the Commission. The selection of the candidates will be based on the written examination followed by an interview for intelligence and personality test. The shortlisted candidates will be placed at the respective academies based on the preference and merit. Explore more details regarding the CDS (I) & (II) examination below.

Indian Military Academy: Dehradun
Indian Naval Academy: Ezhimala
Air Force Academy: Hyderabad
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Men): Chennai
Officers Training Academy (SSC Women): Chennai


  Pathway 1
Step: 1 Clear Class XII in any stream (Better subjects are political science, public administration, psychology, sociology, English literature, economics, History)
Step: 2 ·         Any graduation program, better subjects are

Political science, psychology, sociology, Economics, Public Administration & History etc.

·         Reading Newspaper, Read Grade 11 & 12 NCERT Books

·         Listen All India Radio for News & Reviews

Step: 3 Clear UPSC-CDS Examination


  • Candidates must have the ability to lead and motivate others; self-discipline and confidence and team working skills.
  • They also possess the ability to give and follow orders; IT skills and excellent communication skills.
  • Applicants should also require the ability to take responsibility and make decisions; good fitness levels; good organizational skills and a willingness to go into combat.


  • CDS Salary as per different ranks
    Rank Level Salary (In Rs)
    Lieutenant Level 10 56,100 -1,77,500
    Captain Level 10 B 61,300- 1,93,900
    Major Level 11 69,400 – 2,07,200
    Lieutenant Colonel Level 12A 1,21,200 – 2,12,400
    Colonel Level 13 1,30,600-2, 15,900
    Brigadier Level 13A 1,39,600-2,17,600
    Major General Level 14 1,44,200-2,18,200
    Lieutenant General HAG Scale Level 15 1, 82, 200-2,24,100
    HAG+Scale Level 16 2,05,400 – 2,24,400
    VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) Level 17 2,25,000 (fixed)
    COAS Level 18 2,50,000 (fixed)

    The Military Service Pay(MSP) to the officers from the rank of Lieutenant to Brigadier is a fixed amount of Rs 15,500 per month.

    CDS Salary: Allowances and Perks


    Qualification Grant: This is abolished as a separate allowance. Eligible employees will be governed by the newly proposed higher qualification incentive. The order is awaited by MoD.

    Flying allowance: The Army Aviators (Pilots) serving in the Army Aviation Corps are entitled to flying allowance. The lieutenant and above rank in level 10 and above will be Rs 25,000 per month (R1H1 of Risk and Hardship Matrix).

    Other allowance:

    Dearness Allowance Admissible at the same rates and under the same condition as are applicable to the civilian personnel from time to time.
    Kit maintenance allce Subsumed into the newly proposed Dress Allowance which is Rs 20,000 per year

    Siachen Allowance:

    Siachen Allowance will be Rs 42,500 per month.

    Uniform allowance:

    Subsumed into the newly proposed Dress Allowance that is Rs 20,000 per year.

    Free Rations:

    • In Fd Area to all Defence Officers.
    • Defence officers posted in peace area to get Ration Money Allce (RMA) every month


    Transport Allowance (TPTA):

    Pay Level Higher TPTA Cities (Rs Per month) Other Places (Rs Per month)
    9 and above Rs 7,200+DA thereon Rs 3,600+DA thereon
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