Indian RAW Agency: Functions, Selection, Benefits

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Indian RAW Agency

The term RAW stands for “Research and Analysis Wing” and is India’s External Intelligence Agency. It was founded in the year 1968 with a main motive to primarily counter China’s influence. However, as time progressed, it shifted its focus to Pakistan, which also has an agency of its own named “Inter-Services Intelligence” (ISI). Since then, the two agencies have been engaged in covert operations against each other for decades now.

Ramwshwar Nath Kao was RAW’s first leader and led the Agency till his retirement in the year 1977. Moreover, he is credited for its success by many experts who contributed to RAW Agency during its initial phase. Additionally, some of the success stories include India’s Triumph over Pakistan in the 1971 war and India’s covert assistance to the African National Congress’s Anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Functioning of RAW 

Since it is a covert spy agency, not much is known as to how RAW functions. However, there is a broad overview as to how RAW functions:

  • The RAW Agency started with 250 people and it has since expanded to several thousand working personnel but the staffing and posting of those personnel is not disclosed.
    • Unlike the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or Britain’s MI6, RAW directly reports to the Prime Minister instead of the Ministry of Defence.
    • Some of the officers of RAW are members of the Research and Analysis Service.
    • Moreover, others also serve on deputation from other services such as the Indian Police Service and the Chief of RAW Designated Secretary (research) in the Cabinet Secretariat.
    • Immediately after its formation, RAW had two priorities which were to strengthen its capabilities and work on gathering information on Pakistan and China.
  • RAW’s objectives have broadened over time and now include seeking the control and limitation of military hardware supply from European countries, the US and China, to Pakistan.
    • Other objectives include monitoring the political and military developments in bordering countries, the ones that have a direct bearing on the National security of India. 
  • Some experts say that RAW asserts influence on India’s Foreign Policy, others say that RAW has direct access to the Head of the State, to whom it provides input and analysis. 
  • From the very beginning, RAW had a secret Liaison relationship with Mossad, Israel’s External Intelligence Agency.
    • The purpose of the same was to benefit from Israel’s knowledge of West Asia and North Africa and to learn from its counterterrorism techniques.

Also Read: What is the Right to Information Act in India?

Selection Process

Furthermore, there is a criteria that needs to be fulfilled to join RAW Agency:

Requirements to Join RAW

Moreover, these involve the educational qualification, age limit, and experience of the applicant. 

Educational Qualification

Candidates have to graduate from a reputed university/organisation to apply for an Intelligence Officer post. In the case of RAW Agency, candidates should have a good education from a reputed University. Along with that, learning one foreign language is necessary to become a RAW agent.


There is no official record of a RAW agent’s remuneration, but approximately it falls in the range of Rs. 80000 to Rs. 130000 per month. There are additional benefits of being a RAW agent and they are as follows:

  • The officials are paid for an extra two months each fiscal year.
  • Moreover, the officials stationed abroad receive a special Dearness Payment along with a foreign service allowance.
  • The officials receive a unique security allowance. This allowance may also exceed their income.

Age Limit

For a job in the Bureau, the age of the applicant has to be under 56 years. In addition, to become a RAW agent one would need to have 20 years of experience. 

Other Criteria

The candidate has to be a Citizen of India and not have any criminal record or background and should not be a drug addict. 

Also Read: What is Citizenship Amendment Act?

How to Get into RAW Agency

To get recruited into a RAW Agency, the process is tough. The candidate has to give a written examination which is then followed by an interview. 

  • The individual has to appear for the Combined Graduate Preliminary Exam (CGPE) which is conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
  • Then the individual has to take the “Group-A” Civil Services examination which falls under the Central Staffing Scheme.
  • All the stages of the respective examination have to be cleared and the qualified candidates will then be allowed to write the RAW Agency test.

Also Read:- How to join RAW in India?

Benefits of Working in RAW Agency

Furthermore, here are the Benefits of working in RAW Agency:

  1. Impactful Work: RAW agents have an important part in protecting our national security. Moreover, their work directly contributes to the safety and well-being of the country.
  2. Competitive Salary and Allowances: RAW agents receive a competitive base salary along with additional allowances like special security allowance, hardship allowance (for difficult postings), and foreign service allowance (for overseas missions). They also get two months’ extra pay per year.
  3. Global Exposure and Travel: RAW agents get opportunities to travel to different countries undercover, hence acquiring exposure to diverse cultures and geopolitical landscapes.
  4. Develop Unique Skills: The job demands developing a variety of skills, including intelligence gathering, analysis, self-defence, and foreign languages. These skills can be valuable throughout your career.
  5. High Regard and Post-Retirement Opportunities: RAW agents are highly respected for their service. After retirement, their experience can open doors to opportunities in various government departments.

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#1. Who found RAW?

#2. Which body conducts CGPE?

#3. What is the age under which only, can the individual apply for recruitment in RAW?


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