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IFS - Indian Forest Service

IFS - Indian Forest Service

Indian Forest Service is a part of the All India Service and one of the elite services of the Union Government of India. There are three who are categorized under the All India Service- Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and India Forest Service (IFS). It has formed under the All India Services Act 1951. In the British period, it was known as Imperial Forest Service and was established in 1864, 158 years ago, and later it was called Indian Forest Service from 1966. Its training and nodal ministry are Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change. Ministry of Environment is also a cadre controlling authority. This service has a strength of 3131, in which 2182 are filled with direct recruitment and 949 with promotional posts. The present chief is the Director-General of Forests Sanjay Kumar IFS. All India Service comes under the Cabinet Secretary, and the present Cabinet Secretary is Rajiv Gauba, who is from the Indian Administrative Service.

It is entrusted with the task of smooth implementation of National Forest Policy to maintain the country's ecological balance. It aims to do through sustainable development of natural resources. They are also responsible for the overall management of the Tiger Reserve, National Park, Biosphere Reserve, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and the other restricted areas which are sensitive to flora and fauna. Officers appointed in the 19 century were trained in France and Germany, and from 1885 to 1905, it shifted to Copper's hill, London. Sardar Vallabhai Patel made a powerful speech highlighting the important role of All India Services in the constituent assembly when the matter of All India Service was taken. The Inspector-General of Forest was Hari Singh, who played a key role in the development of the Forest Service.

Candidates are selected through Union Public Service Exam. The selection process is very tough in nature, and candidates have to qualify for the exam, which is held every year. Training of the selected candidates lies with the Government of India. After two years of rigorous training, they are sent to respective cadres as done in Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service. They have a responsibility to serve under both Central Government and in the state where they are posted. They are deputed in the ministries of the Government of India as joint secretary, additional secretary, Deputy Secretary, Director and served in a position like Chief Vigilance Officer, Regional Passport Officers, Managing Directors, Inspector General, and Director-General.

Perks and Allowances of the Indian Forest Service Officer

The salary is decided by the 7th Pay Commission. The Highest Salary is Rs 2,25,000, which is for the post of Director-General of Forests.

Post Salary
Assistant Conservator of Forests Rs 56,100
Deputy Conservator of Forests Rs 67,700
Deputy Conservator of Forests Rs 78,800
Deputy Conservator of Forests (Selection Grade) Rs 1,18,500
Conservator of Forests/ Chief Wildlife Warden Rs 1,50,000
Chief Conservator of Forests Rs 1,75,000
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Rs 2,00,000
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Rs 2,05,000
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Rs 2,25,000

Apart from a decent salary, they are also liable to get a house rent allowance, which differs from posting to posting. They are also entitled to get a special allowance by the Government for the incentive if they have performed well in the respective domain. The Government bears the medical expenses of the family.

Many officers of the Indian Forest Service are deputed to Central Government. They hold a position like Joint secretaries, secretaries, and Additional Secretaries in the various ministry of the Central Government. These posts are filled through Central Staffing Scheme, and there are two schemes, and it is under of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and other Department of Personnel and Training of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions. They are known as CSS of MoEFCC and CSS of DoPT. This scheme was formulated for the manning of offices of the ministry, subordinate offices, and regional offices in the country or elsewhere. These are exclusively for the members of the Forest Service. These positions are Director-General of the Forests, Additional General of Forests, Deputy Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, Director of Forest Survey of India, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Project Tiger, Project Elephant, National Zoological Park, Forest Education and Deputy Directors in the regional offices of the Ministry. An Officer can be appointed in the Company if the Government manages it or the state has some stakes in it. They can also be appointed in the International Organisation if the Central Government and State Government are on the same page.

Candidates are selected through the rigorous process of the screening, and the responsibility for carrying out these activities is of the Union Public Service Commission. It is a constitutional body responsible for supplying an educated workforce to the Government of India. Candidates have to qualify for the Exam, and they are trained in the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy for two years under the supervision of the Government of India. The examination process is conducted in three levels that are the preliminary paper, the mains paper, and the interview, which is held to evaluate the personality of a person.

Following Bachelors course subjects are required to sit in the IFoS exam:

  1. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  2. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Botany
  3. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Chemistry
  4. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Geology
  5. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Mathematics
  6. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Statistics
  7. Bachelor's degree having one subject as Physics
  8. Bachelor's degree having one subject as zoology
  9. Bachelor's degree in the field of Agriculture
  10. Bachelor's degree in Forest
  11. Bachelor's degree in Engineering Course

The candidate should be a graduate from a recognized University by the Government and State Government or deemed to be University according to the University grant commission Act, 1956.

Eligibility of a person

  1. A person should have attained the age of 21 years and not have 32 years. But the upper age limit is softened for the under prescribed conditions:
  2. Five years for the person who comes from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
  3. Three years for those who come from the other backward classes and on which reservation is applicable.
  4. Maximum of 10 years in the case of:-
    1. blow vision
    2. locomotor disability: acid attack and leprosy cured
    3. hearing impaired: Partially deaf


LBSNAA is a premier academy under the department of personnel and training, Government of India. When candidates accept the offer, they land in Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration Mussorie. They spend 15 weeks of their training interacting with their fellow officer. After spending a brief time in LBSNAA, they are sent back to their parent academy Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun, where their actual training starts. They are taught a series of subjects such as Climate Change, Environment Protection, Forestry, Wildlife Management, Biodiversity, Forest policies and Laws, GIS and Remote sensing, Forest dwellers, and Scheduled Tribes. When they complete their training at the academy, officers are given a Master's Degree in Science (Forestry). Officers learn about 52 subjects of life sciences in the training of two years. Apart from theoretical knowledge, they also learn about the handling of weapons, Swimming, Motor Vehicle Training, Forest and Wildlife Crime Detection. Officers have various attachments with the Government Bodies and organizations like the Indian Military Academy, Wildlife Institute of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Bombay Natural History Society. Officer trainees have to travel extensively in India and in international countries as part of their training program. After completion of training, they go for a probation period of 1 year. They conducted field visits and were given the rank of Assistant Conservators of Forests in that period.

The Government of India launched a new Cadre Allocation Policy for All India Service in August 2017. Officer spends large time of carrer into their respective cadre until they deputed for the Central post. Under this scheme, selected candidates have to fill their preference rankwise. Cadres are divided into five zones. Zones are divided in the following manner:

Zone -1: AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa- Mizoram and Union Territories that include Jammu and Kashmir), Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab.

Zone- 2: Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh

Zone-3: Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujrat

Zone-4: Nagaland Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal

Zone-5: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Kerala.

Earlier, these cadres were not divided into the states; they were given vacancies of home state and outsider state formula basis. Cadre interchanging is available only on the ground of Marriage. They are given a chance to serve in their respective cadre but for a fixed period. Everyone was allotted to respective states except Assam- Meghalaya, Arunachal- Goa - Mizoram - Union Territories. These are joint cadres.

Like in IAS, the highest rank is of Cabinet Secretary; in Indian Forest Service highest rank is the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests. It is the highest position at which a candidate is appointed by a committee of ministers led by the Chief Minister. It is equivalent to the rank of Chief Secretary and Director General of the State.

Like any bureaucratic structure, corruption issues always remain there, which is prevalent in the Indian Forest Service. Central Bureau of Investigation has caught some Indian Forest Service officers taking bribes red-handed. The National Commission has put forth suggestions for Scheduled Tribes that Indian Forest Service was renamed as Indian Forest and Tribal Service.

IFoS eligibility Criteria

They have to fulfill any one of the criteria:

  1. a) A citizen of India
    b) The Subject of Nepal
    c) The Subject of Bhutan
  2. Refugees who landed in India from Tibet before 1 January 1962 with the desire to settle permanently in India,
  3. That person who is of Indian Origin and has migrated to India from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burma( Presently called Myanmar), Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Vietnam, the United Republic of Tanzania with the desire to settle permanently in India

Those applying for the IfoS exam have to produce their certificate before the commission to become eligible for the exam. The candidates from the General and Other Backward Classes category have to pay the fee of Rs. 250 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been exempted from paying the fee

Pros and Cons of being an Indian Forest Service officer


  • It is a permanent job with several perks of being a government employee.
  • The income of an Indian Forest Service officer is dynamic, i.e., it keeps frequently changing according to roles and responsibilities. It keeps increasing on being promoted.
  • Being an IFoS officer, you are bound to visit those places surrounded by nature. It is a perfect place for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, and they can click their pictures from close to the habitat.
  • As IFoS Officer, you will also see eco-tourism.


  • Major forests are located in Left-Wing Affected areas. They sometimes have to face Naxalites in the jungle. They often encounter land mafias sometimes.
  • They are accountable to Government, and they cannot pit against Government if sometimes their policies go against tribal people.
  • Working in the forest also invites attacks from wild animals to these officials.

How to apply for IFoS?

  • Visit the official website of IFoS.
  • Then to DAF form- India Forest Officer
  • Check all the notifications, match your required criteria, and see the important dates.
  • Visit UPSC's official website, fill out the form and submit all the important documents like photographs and marksheet.
  • Later, the payment option will be shown on the portal, and pay the fees.
  • Take out the printed copy.

Indian Administrative Service versus Indian Forest Service

Both are prestigious services, and the recruitment process is similar to the Indian Administrative Service. Without disputing, IAS remains the most prestigious service in India, and IFos is also one of the prestigious jobs, and it is limited to the forest, environment, and climate change. IAS jurisdictions vary from position to position. IFoS holds very much significance in the present time as climate change is happening rapidly. The responsibility of implementing Government Environment Policy lies with them.

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