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Home » Civil Services » IFS

IFS (Indian Forest Service)

Indian Forest Service
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Name of Civil Services : IFS (Indian Forest Service)

Exam Date : 2nd week of July

Eligibility Criteria :

Entry into the Indian Forest Service is open to candidates between the ages of 21 and 30 years, as on 1st July of the year of the examination, with a Bachelor's degree in Science with at least one of the following Subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Geology, Statistics, Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry; or Bachelor's degree in Engineering (any stream) / Forestry/ Agriculture; or MBBS.

Description :


The Indian Forest Service was created in 1966 for protection, conservation and regeneration of forest resources. The recruitment to this Service is made through the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of annual Competitive Examination. While the service is an All India Service, it is not to be confused with Indian Foreign Service, which is commonly thought to be in the same league as Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service. A separate examination, which is slightly different from the Civil Services Examination as having Science background compulsory for candidates, is held for the Indian Forest Service.

India is one of the first countries in the world to have introduced scientific management of its forests. In 1864 the then British India Government started the Imperial Forest Department and in 1866 appointed Dr. Dietrich Brandis, a German Forest officer, Inspector General of Forests. Having recognized the need to have a premier forest service to manage the varied natural resources of the vast country and to organize the affairs of the Imperial Forest Department, Imperial Forestry Service was constituted in 1867.

Having realized the importance of a multi-tier forest administration in the federal and provincial Governments for effective management of forest resources, the British India Government also constituted Provincial Forest Service and Executive & Subordinate Services, which were quite similar to the present day forest administrative hierarchy.

The officers appointed to the Imperial Forestry Service from 1867 to 1885 were trained in Germany and France. Thereafter, until 1905 they were trained at Cooper's Hill, London, which had been one of the prestigious professional colleges of Forestry at that time. From 1905 to 1926 the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh had undertaken the task of training the officers of the Imperial Forestry Service. The Imperial Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, popularly known all over the world today as FRI, was established at Dehra Dun in the year 1906. The baton to train the IFS officers was passed on to Forest Research Institute, which it did successfully from 1927 to 1932. Subsequently the Indian Forest College (IFC) was established in the year 1938 at Dehra Dun and the officers recruited to the Superior Forest Service by the provinces/states were trained there.

The subject of "Forestry" which was managed by the Federal Government until then, was transferred to the "Provincial List" by the Government of India Act, 1935 and subsequently recruitment to the Imperial Forestry Service was discontinued.

The Indian Forest Service, one of the three All India Services, was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India. In the Government of India, at the Centre, the Director General of Forests is the highest post. The Director General of Forests is selected from amongst the senior-most PCCFs of all the states.

The main mandate of the service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages scientific management of forests and to exploit them on a sustained basis for primary timber products, among other things. Since 1935 the management of the forests remained in the hands of the Provincial Governments and even today the Forest Departments are managing the forests of the country under the respective State governments.

Forest policy

India has an area of 635,400 square kilometres notified as forests, representing some 22.27% of geographic area. India is one of the few countries which have a forest policy since 1894, revised in 1952 and again in 1988. The main plank of the current policy is protection, preservation and development of forests.

Creation of Indian Forest Service

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) was created to cater to the need for inter-state coordination and uniformity of approach in dealing with the scientific management of forests and the environment. Mr. Hari Singh was the Inspector General of Forests in 1966 and was instrumental in the creation of the IFS. Being an All India Service, the members are recruited by the Centre but their services are put under the various State cadres, with the privilege of serving both under the State and under the Centre.

Standards and syllabus

General English consists of essay writing, precise/summary writing and questions to assess your comprehension and verbal ability in English. General Knowledge paper covers questions relating to the Indian political system, the Constitution of India, history of India, geography (India and world), general science and current events (national and international). Higher secondary level of knowledge is a good base. As for the optional subjects, the level of testing is at least of the Honours degree level. A good bibliography for the subjects provides the base material for study.


The Indian Forest Service Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It provides the opportunity for direct entry into employment. The candidates are trained by the government to play a vibrant role at the grassroots level as also in policy formulation. Within the specified age slot (upper age limits are relaxed for SC/ST/ OBC and other categories), a general candidate may get up to four attempts. An OBC candidate is allowed a maximum of seven attempts and there are no limitations on number of attempts for SC/ST candidates.


Expected questions could revolve around subjects of academics; current affairs; basic knowledge of forest-related issues / policies and status of their implementation; knowledge of one's state of domicile with respect to geographical features, forest cover, wildlife, economic status, cultural outlook. The interview board wishes to see evidence of leadership qualities, tact, diplomacy, initiative, alertness, observation, mental and physical energy and enthusiasm, love for the outdoors, a sense of adventure, curiosity in surroundings and balance of judgement.


Selected candidates are sent for foundation training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie which is followed by specialised orientation for the Forest Service at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun with inputs on forests management, wildlife management, soil conservation, engineering survey, tribal welfare and weapon handling. After this comes one year "on the job" field training in the particular state to which the candidate is allotted and on successful completion of probation period on completion of four years of service with reference to the Year of Allotment, the officers are appointed to the Senior Time Scale. On getting the Senior Time Scale the officers are entitled to be posted as the Deputy Conservators of Forests or Divisional Forest Officers in charge of Districts/Forest Divisions.

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