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IFoS : Indian Forest Service

by priyanka singh

IFoS is the Indian Forest Service, it is India’s premier organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

The Indian Forest Service was established on 15th October 1949. It is a Government of India Central Civil Services (Group A) service that acts as the principal adviser to the Government on all matters relating to forest conservation, management and exploitation based on scientific principles and socio-economic factors. The main role of a ‘Dy. Collector’ in IFS is to ensure sustainable forest management, protection and regeneration so as to conserve biodiversity and prevent depletion of natural resources.

How to join IFoS?

One needs to pass the United States Civil Service (USCS) examination for entry into the IFS. The grade is based on one’s performance in Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Standardized Test in Testing Engineering Skills (STEP).

IFoS is a cadre of 8300 officers of various ranks including Junior Research Fellow. Assistant Professor and Professor holding joint/additional charge of Head of Department or Institute. IFoS officers are deputed for field jobs as District Forest Officers (DFO), Divisional Forest Officers (DFO), Conservator of Forests, Additional Director General/Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and even Additional Secretary; each with specific responsibility.

IFS officers retire at an age between 60 and 65 years.

Is this job easier than IAS?

IFS is only slightly less competitive than IAS. IFS also involves less paperwork. The minimum qualification for both is a graduate degree in any discipline from a recognized university. The training period for both is also the same, i.e. a year in Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie and two years at field postings(IFoS)/IAS probationary training at state level (IAS).

Education required for this job

All IFS officers are require to have a graduate degree in any discipline from a recognized university. One can apply for the IFS after having completed two years of schooling up to Std X (class 10) or equivalent. However, if one has already graduated from a government or private university and has passed the UPSC exams well, then one may opt for direct eligibility for IFoS by taking an entrance exam called NABARD challenge.

The selection process involves three rounds of screening through written tests and interviews. A candidate scores maximum marks in the written tests, a minimum marks in interview, is shortlisted for the third round (interview), which requires more formalities.

Selection process for this job

Applicants interested in this job should have a bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks (45% for SC/ST candidates) overall in any discipline from any university. Candidates must be qualify either through the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by CSIR or through the State level Eligibility Test (SLET), which are held every year. A minimum of 10 years of work experience is expected, with at least five years of work experience being required for the post of Joint Secretary and above.

What is their salary?

An IFoS officer draws Rs50,000 per month in the beginning of his career. Rs3 lakh at the end of his 28th year of service. There are several allowances for which an IFS officer may claim as well – medical allowance, entertainment allowance, overtime allowance and daily allowance for visiting remote areas etc.


IFoS officers also get a special pension scheme that provides retirement benefits. That are more than twice their last drawn salary every month till their life ends.

The government also provides free accommodation and other facilities to IFoS officers at places of posting according to the protocol they hold.

What is difference between IFS and this job?

Though IFS and IFoS are similar in terms of duties and responsibilities, there is a difference between the two.

IFS stands for Indian Foreign Service while IFoS stands for Indian Forest Service. The S, an abbreviation for service or service branch; IFS is a Government of India Central Civil Services (Group A) service that acts as the principal adviser to the Government. On all matters relating to forest conservation, management and exploitation. Based on scientific principles and socio-economic factors.

IFS officers must have at least 5 years experience before being eligible for promotion. While one has to have at least 3 years experience as Deputy Collector to apply for immediate promotion (these rules are specified in the UPSC notification).

Which is the highest post in this job?

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) is the highest post in IFoS. Who is the second in command of the state after Chief Minister. PCCF serves as a link between state government and Centre and is also a member of National Board for Wildlife. Under PCCF, function/operation of State Forest Corporation and inspection of forest department offices comes under Divisional Forest Officers (DFO).

IFS officers are also involve in many other activities like wildlife conservation, forest management and monitoring projects etc.

Benefits of this job

IFoS provides many job benefits like a government health insurance, free accommodation. Family pension schemes for the period of three years upon retirement. There is also a rise in seniority after one attains superannuation age.

IFoS officers are also provide with facilities such as cars, uniforms and office facilities etc. Under the IFS Act, senior personnel get privileges like special leave, holiday. Other allowances that are not available to other government servants.


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