The Indian Forest Service is one of the Civil Services of India and belongs to the apex All India Services group, with other two All India Services being the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS). Officers are recruited via a rigorous competitive examination and then trained for about two years by the Central Government. The Indian Forest Service is a Central Civil Service of Group A and Group B under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (GoI) is the cadre controlling authority of Indian Forest Service.
The main mandate of the Indian Forest Service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which aims to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance which are vital for sustenance of all life forms, human, animal and plant. IFS officers while in field postings in respective state cadres work for conservation, protection and development of forests and wildlife along with an aim to enhance livelihood opportunities of forest dependent communities of rural and tribal areas.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Indian Forest Service Examination once in a year to recruit officers for this service and is one of the toughest open competitive exams conducted in India. The examination is open to graduates in any science or engineering discipline and has a three-stage selection process. The IFS officers are recruited and trained by the Central government but their services are placed under state cadres, and they have to serve both under the state and Central governments.
UPSC Indian Forest Service Exam Pattern & Selection Procedure
The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (objective type) is done for screening and selection of the candidates for Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination. After passing Preliminary exam you will go through Indian Forest Service, Main Examination which consists written test and interview.
The Indian Forest Service Examination consists of two successive stages:
- Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type)
- Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the Indian Forest Service.
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All the applicants will have to take an objective type exam called the Preliminary Examination that is common to other Civil Services Examination. It consists of two papers, which are compulsory, and having 200 marks each. The duration of each paper will be of 2 hours. They are tested on areas such as economics, politics, history, geography, environment, awareness of current affairs, reading comprehension, logical reasoning, basic numeracy skills, inter-personal skills and decision making. The marks of Preliminary Exam is not counted in making final overall merit.
Mains Examination consist of six descriptive papers. Each candidate has to select two optional subjects (two papers each) from among the subjects allowed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and has to take one General Studies paper and an English language paper.
The Indian Forest Service (Mains) written examination consists of the following papers:-
Paper I – General English – 300 Marks
Paper II – General Knowledge – 300 Marks
Paper III, IV, V, VI – Any two subjects to be selected from the optional paper list; each subject will have two papers – 200 marks each
The syllabus for optional subject is based on the Bachelors Degree and lowers than the Master Degree.
Interview for Personality Test: The Interview/Personality Test is worth 300 Marks. Only candidates who clear the written examination would be called for the Interview.
Candidates securing highest marks in the Main Examination are called for the interview conducted by UPSC board members.
Interview or personality assessment is followed by a medical check-up and a physical test which requires all male candidates to complete a 25 km walk/run in less than 4 hours. For ladies the distance is reduced to 14 km. The test is usually conducted at the National Zoological Park in Delhi.
After selection for the IFS, candidates are allocated state cadres. There is one cadre for each Indian state, with the exception of three joint cadres: Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur-Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT).
A candidate must be either :‐
- a citizen of India, or
- a citizen of Nepal, or
- a citizen of Bhutan, or
- a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
- a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
Provided that a candidate belonging to above categories shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.
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(a) A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on 1st August, 2016, i.e. he must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1984 and not later than 1st August, 1995.
(b) The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable:‐
- upto a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
- upto a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
- upto a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st day of December, 1989.
- upto a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof:
- upto a maximum of five years in the case of ex‐servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2016.
Minimum Educational Qualifications
The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the subjects namely Animal Husbandry &
Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology, Agriculture, Forestry and in Engineering of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or StateLegislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University or possess an equivalent qualification.
Number of Attempts
- Every candidate appearing at the Examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts at the examination.
- Provided that this restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribe candidates who are otherwise eligible
- Provided further that the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward
Classes who are otherwise eligible, shall be nine.
- Provided further that a physically handicapped will get as many attempts as are available to other non‐
physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the condition that a physically
handicapped candidate belonging to the General Category, shall be eligible for nine attempts. Necessary
action to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to Indian Forest Service is
being taken separately. The relaxation will be available to the physically handicapped candidates who are
eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Indian Forest Service Examination.