(IAS Planner) : Job Profile of Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

(IAS Planner) : Job Profile of Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)


The structure of the Service is 3 tiered. At the apex level is the Directorate General,located at Delhi Cantt. The officers manning the Directorate General are members of the IDES. The Directorate General is headed by the Director General, who is in the Apex scale (Rs. 80,000/- fixed). There is one Senior Additional Director General (HAG) and 04 Additional Director Generals (SAG) who are in charge of specific Divisions. The Directorate General advises Ministry of Defence and Services Headquarters on all Cantonment and Land matters. It supervises the implementation of the Cantonments Act 2006, rules and regulations, Government policies and executive instructions. The Directorate General also addresses the land and building requirements of user Services through acquisition, requisitioning or hiring.

The middle level comprises the Directorates as Regional Headquarters supervising the field offices. There are 6 Directorates, co-located with the 6 Army Commands. These are located at Lucknow, Pune, Jammu, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and the youngest Command, the South-Western Command established in 2006 at Jaipur. The Directorates are headed by the Principal Directors (HAG) assisted by Directors (SAG) and other Staff officers, all from the IDES. 

At the field level, there are Chief Executive Officers in the 62 Cantonment Boards and Defence Estates Officers in 37 Defence Estates Circles and 04 Assistant Defence  Estates Offices, all located at the cutting edge of administration. The Chief Executive officer (CEO) is the executive head of the Cantonment and responsible for the day to day administration. The Defence Estates Officer (DEO) is an agent of the Central
Government in the domain of land management. Both CEOs and DEOs are IDES officers.

The National Institute of Defence Estates Management (NIDEM) is the training institute of the department and provides induction-training to probationers and in-service training to officers and staff of the department. It is headed by the Director (SAG) and assisted by 02 Joint Directors (JAG).


The Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES) is one of the Group ‘A’ Civil Services of the Govt. of India. The officers of IDES work for Defence Estates Organization, under the administration control of Ministry of Defence. The Organization traces its origin to 1926 when  decision  was  taken  by  the   Governor  General-in-Council  to  establish  the Cantonment Department on permanent basis.

Defence Estates Organization manages and administers civil affairs of Cantonments through    Cantonments    through    Cantonment    Boards.    These    Boards    are    local autonomous bodies of self governance, with statutory status. The IDES officers are posted to these  Boards as Chief Executive Officers. In this capacity, they have the opportunity to act like ‘fountain of  inspiration’ for others and become the catalyst for substantial changes in the socio-economic lives of the local residents. The Cantonment Boards are mandated to maintain schools, hospital, basic  infrastructure (viz. roads, street lights, water supply etc.), wholesome environment and social security system in Cantonments.

All 62 Cantonments of the country reflect harmonious relationship between the armed forces and local civil population. Most of the Cantonment also contain rich legacy of the past as may be witnessed inter  alia in its layout, sprawling Old Grant Bungalows, various land tenures, important monuments, rich documentation and folklores. In other words, Cantonments are spatial representation of glittering historical events, spread all across the space.

Ministry of Defence is the biggest land holder among all the Ministries of Govt. of India. The area of  Defence land, measuring approximately 17.57 lakh acres, is placed with various land users, such as Army, Navy, Air Force and other organization, like ordnance Factories Boards, DRDO, DGQA and  CGDA  etc. The Defence  Estates Organization endeavours  to  ensure  optimum  utilization  of   Defence   land.  It  also secures  the proprietary, occupancy, tenancy and other legal rights of Ministry of Defence, through
37 Defence Estates Offices located in different parts of the country. These Defence
Estates Offices are also headed by IDES officers.

Function of Defence Estates Organisation :

The functions of Defence Estates Organisation are as under

(a) Management of Defence land measuring around 17.57 lakh acres, through 37 Defence Estates Offices spread all over the country.
(b) Administration of 62 Cantonment Boards the institutions of local self-governance in as many Cantonments, notified under the Cantonments Act, 1924 (now 2006).
(c) Acquisition, hiring and requisitioning of immovable properties for Defence purposes. (d) Disposal of Defence land.
(e) Handling of litigation arising out of land acquisition for Defence purpose. (f) Handling of litigation and Suits on ownership of Defence land.
(g) Exercise  of  quasi-judicial  functions  conferred  under  Special  Laws  like  the Cantonments Act, 2006; Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971; Arbitration Act; (ULC Act, 1976), Rent Control Act etc.

Recruitment to IDES :

The recruitment to IDES, as provided under the Indian Defence Estates Service (group ‘A’) Rule 1985, is 75% by direct recruitment and 25% by promotion.

Training :

Both Direct Recruits (DRs) as well as promotee IDES officers are imparted professional training  at  National  Institute  Defence  Estates  Management  (NIDEM)  at  Delhi.  The officers are confirmed to the service after successful completion of the probation period. Besides, there is provision for training of IDES officers across their entire service span. The officers are also sent to other training institutes for attending specific courses.

Designation held by IDES Officers during Field Postings :

(i)  Chief Executive Officer (in Cantonment Boards)

(ii)  Defence Estates Officer

Designation in Director General and Directorate alongwith Pay Structure :


Posts in Directorate

Posts in Directorate General

Time Scale

Pay Band




Director General Defence  Estates

Secretary    level Post

80,000 –(Fixed) Apex Scale


Principal Director

Sr. Addl. Director General

Higher Administrative Grade





Addl. Director General

Senior Administrative Grade

37.400- 67.000



Joint Director

Deputy Director General

Junior Administrative Grade (Selection)

37.400- 67.000



Joint Director

Deputy Director General

Junior Administration Grade (Ordinary)

15,600- 39,100



Deputy Director

Assistant Director General

Senior  Time Scale

15,600- 39,100



Assistant Director

Assistant Director General

Junior Time Scale

15,600- 39,100


Appointment of IDES officers in other Organisation/ Bodies :

The IDES officers can be appointed on deputation to Central Government, State Governments, Autonomous Organisation/ Subordinate Organisations, PSUs and under Central Staffing Scheme.

Promotion :

In the career span, an IDES officer, rises in salary and promotions on the basis of Performance Appraisal Reports, vigilance clearance and scrutiny of overall record of the officer concerned by a committee of  senior civil servants from Directorate General of Defence Estates, Ministry of Defence and UPSC. The apex post in the organisation is of Director General Defence Estates, which is a Secretary level post in  Government of India.
Cadre Review
Proposal for Cadre Review of IDES is under consideration.

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Courtesy : Ministry of Defense