India is blessed with diversified wildlife. It contains three biodiversity hotspots including the Western Ghats, Himalaya, and Indo-Burma hotspots. It houses 92 national parks and 492 wildlife sanctuaries to protect this flora and fauna. However, Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officers, are the people who protect, conserve, preserve, and maintain this wildlife.
How to become an IFS officer is a complicated procedure. Here, in this blog, we have tried to gather information about the Indian Forest Service in one place. Hope you find this information useful.
- 1 What is IFS?
- 2 How is IFS and Wildlife management/conservation related?
- 3 How will being an IFS officer fulfill your dream about a wildlife career?
- 4 How to become an IFS office?
- 5 Three stages to become an Indian Forest Service officer
- 6 Fees of the UPSC examination
- 7 Syllabus for UPSC examination
- 8 Important dates for IFS
- 9 Roles and responsibilities of an IFS
- 10 Designations of IFS officer
- 11 Salary of an IFS Officer
What is IFS?
Indian Forest Service (IFS) is one of the three All India Services of the Union Government. However, the other two are the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS).
Only the Government of India recruits the Indian Forest Service Officer. Based on their qualification and expertise, candidates get different positions. No private sector is allowed to interfere in this field.
Indian Forest Service (IFS), sometimes with the abbreviation, might confuse you with Indian Foreign Service. Thus, to make it easier to understand, it is also abbreviated as IFoS.
Wildlife career and IFS are closely related as the primary objective of IFS service is to implement the National Forest Policy (NFP) that aims to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance.
How will being an IFS officer fulfill your dream about a wildlife career?
Wildlife and Indian forest services are inter-related. Did you know that All top positions in the state forest department are held by IFS officers?
Yes, that’s true. If you wish to work in the field of wildlife, being Indian Forest Service officer will help you abundantly.
How to become an IFS office?
Subjects to study for Indian Forest Service, before appearing for UPSC exam are Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Zoology, Agriculture, Forestry, and Engineering. IFS Officer studies one of these subjects in his / her graduation. Once he/she is passed with 55%, they are eligible to give the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam.
The five categories are recognized as the eligibility criteria for giving the UPSC exam.
- Nationality: Going into further details, Nationality includes,
- a citizen of India, or
- a subject of Nepal, or
- a subject of Bhutan, or
- a Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
- a person of Indian origin (PIO) who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
- Age limit: The candidate must have reached the age of 21 years as on 1st August of the year in which the exam would be held. However, the upper limit of the age is 32 years. That means the candidate should not cross the age of 32 years as on 1st August of the year in which the exam would be held.
- Number of attempts: The number of times candidates are permitted to take the IAS exam depends on the caste system. The candidates from general category are allowed to have 6 attempts, Other Backward Class (OBC) have 9 attempts, Schedule caste (SC) or Schedule tribe (ST) have no restriction of attempts.
- Education: The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree with at least one of the following subjects: animal husbandry & veterinary science, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, statistics, physics, zoology, agriculture, forestry, or engineering.
- Physical fitness: A candidate should be physically fit as he / she has to visit various forests periodically.
Three stages to become an Indian Forest Service officer
1) The civil services (Preliminary) Examination
2) Indian Forest Service (Mains) – Written Examination
3) Indian Forest Service (Mains) – Interview
Unless the candidate clears the first stage, he/she is not allowed to attend subsequent examinations. Clearing all the three stages one after another is mandatory. If the candidate clears stage one and stage two but fails in the interview; he/she must appear for stage one and stage two once again. All the papers are compulsorily in the English language. No other language is allowed here.
The civil services (Preliminary) Examination
The Preliminary exam of the Indian Forest Service is as same as the preliminary exam of the Indian Administrative Service. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the authority that conducts these exams.
The UPSC Preliminary examination comprises of two objective type papers. First is General Studies I and second is either General Studies II or Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) for a total of 400 marks. Generally, both papers are carried out on the same day. However, there are two sessions.
Indian Forest Service (Mains) – Written Examination
In the mains exam, there are 6 papers. All of which are descriptive in nature. Each paper is for a duration of 3 hours. However, there are two optional subjects that a candidate has to opt for. The optional subjects include – Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Forestry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Statistics, Zoology, Geology, and Chemistry.
However, the candidates are not allowed the following combination of optional subjects: Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering, Agriculture and Forestry, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and of the Engineering subjects namely, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering – not more than one subject.
Indian Forest Service (Mains) – Interview
Next and the final stage is the interview. It is of a total of 300 marks. Generally, the candidate is assessed on the basis of general awareness, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, critical powers of observation and assimilation, the balance of judgment and alertness of mind, initiative, tact, capacity for leadership, etc. A panel of experts decides the result. There is a physical test followed by the interview, wherein male candidates have to complete a 25 km walk or run in under 4 hours, and female candidates have to complete a 14 km walk or run in less than 4 hours.
The cut off marks of UPSC preliminary examination are based on General Studies I only. However, the General Studies II or the CSAT paper is only considered for qualifying. Candidates are bound to score at least 33% in General Studies II paper to be eligible for the mains. Ranking is not based on the General Studies II or CSAT paper. The cut-off marks of Prelims and Mains are declared after the result is announced. It depends on the highest score of the batch and the number of seats available. Depending on this, they declare the lowest score that has qualified the exam.
Fees of the UPSC examination
The form fee of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam is Rs. 100/-. However, for candidates who are females, Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe or a person who has benchmark disability of 40% or more (PwBD); the payment of fee is exempted.
Syllabus for UPSC examination
General Studies Paper-1 includes-
a) Current events of national and international importance.
b) Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
c) Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
d) History of India and Indian National Movement
e) General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
f) Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
General Studies Paper-2 or Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) includes-
b) English language comprehension skills
c) Interpersonal skills including communication skills
d) Logical reasoning and analytical ability
e) Decision-making and problem-solving
f) General mental ability
g) Basic numeracy – numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.
h) Data interpretation – charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc.
Important dates for IFS
Here are some important yet tentative dates for different procedures of UPSC exams.
1) Date of notification of UPSC examination – First half of February
2) Last date of submission of the application – First week of March
3) The civil services (Preliminary) Examination – First week of October
4) Indian Forest Service (Mains) – Last week of February (next year) onwards.
Roles and responsibilities of an IFS
Career in Indian Forest Service is challenging. An IFS officer has to work in the administration as well as on the field. He has different work profiles at different times. These include –
- IFS officer job, primarily, is to protect and conserve the forest and working towards the preservation of the resources of the forest.
- The plantation of new trees as well as taking a decision of removal of weeds to accelerate the growth of indigenous flora. (Afforestation + Agroforestry)
- IFS duties include protection of the forest (both flora and fauna) from illegal activities with the help of forest guards and patrolling panels.
- The implementation of new National Forest Policy is their main responsibility.
- Completing the required paperwork as well as the reports to present in front of the forest department and the Ministry.
- Conservation and development of the forest
- Management of the Biodiversity and Wildlife
- Solving environmental issues including Climate Change
- Development of tribal and hill area
- Looking after the social welfare of tribal and forest dwelling communities.
- Management natural resource
- Training and capacity building
- Finding out different and advanced techniques using Research and development (R&D) and biotechnology.
Designations of IFS officer
The candidates that are selected, have different positions open for them. These positions are the hierarchical levels. Thus, qualification and expertise matter a lot.
The Union Ministry designation of IFS officer includes-
- Director General of Forests
- Additional Director General of Forests
- Inspector General of Forests
- Additional Inspector General of Forests
- Deputy Inspector General of Forests
- Assistant Inspector General of Forests
The state government designation of IFS officer includes-
- Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
- Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
- Chief Conservator of Forests Regional Chief Conservator of Forests
- Conservator of Forests
- Deputy Conservator of Forests or Divisional Forest Officer
Salary of an IFS Officer
IFS Officer Salary varies depending on the post they are holding onto. The average salary of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) is around Rs. 15,00,000 per annum. After this, according to their rank and experience, salary decreases by 1,00,000. For example, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) has a salary of around Rs. 14,00,000 per annum, Inspector General of Forest or Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) has a salary of around Rs. 13,00,000 per annum, Deputy Inspector General of Forest or Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) has a salary of around Rs. 12,00,000 per annum and Assistant Inspector General of Forest has salary around Rs. 10,00,000 per annum.
Note: This is the approximate salary amount of an IFS officer. It changes according to the experience and the expertise of the person holding the position.
Perks of Indian Forest Service Officer include the permanent and attractive employee benefits. The salary of IFS keeps increasing with experience as well as promotion. Being an IFS officer, he or she, along with the family, reside in beautiful, isolated and forest adjacent locations.
Indian Forest Services is a beautiful career. It needs smart work as well as hard work. Pursuing this career is an ultimate combination of respect, prosperity and healthy lifestyle.