Indian Forest Service
The Selection Process
Forest Service (IFS), offers a highly challenging and rewarding career.
It offers an exciting opening where an IFS officer not only acts as
custodian of forests under his area of responsibility but also derives
mundane pleasure of being instrumental in protecting and preserving the
environment and wild life. This exotic satisfaction of protecting
forests, environment and wild life also adds a lot of adventure to the
Recruitment to this service is done by the Union
Public Service Commission (UPSC) through a competitive examination
every year. The candidates selected for the service are allotted a
State/Union Territory cadre and they serve in that particular
State/Union Territory thereafter till superannuation, except for a few
deputations to the Central Government in between. The service has
inherent time-bound promotions and higher scales which are comparable
to the best in government sector in the country. After completion of
training, the IFS officers are usually posted as Divisional Forest
Officers (DFOs)/Deputy Conservators of Forests (DCF) with the
independent charge of a forest division with a large number of Forest
Guards, Block Officers, Range Officers and Assistant Conservators of
Forests working under them. After putting in a specified years of
service as a DFO/DCF, the IFS Officers are promoted as Conservators of
Forests with several DFOs/DCFs under their control. A direct recruit
IFS Officer can hope to rise upto Chief Conservator of Forests or even
upto the post of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, the Head of
Forest Department in a State.
Some of the State
Governments have State Forest Development Corporations also and the IFS
Officers can also be posted as Divisional Managers, General Managers,
Executive Directors and Managing Directors in these Corporations. Thus
IFS officers also get an exposure to the corporate functioning in the
government sector, adding another dimension to their job. In addition,
the IFS officers also enjoy certain powers of police officers in
respect of several offences under the Indian Forest Act.
competitive examination for the IFS is usually held by the UPSC in the
month of July every year. The advertisement for the examination
normally appears in the month of December/Janaury in all leading
newspapers as well as in the "Employment News". It carries details
about the examination, subjects, etc.
Eligibility: The candidates applying for the IFS examination must fulfil the following conditions:
(a) They must have attained the age of 21 years but should be less than 30 years of age.
They must be graduates with atleast one of the following subjects:
Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Mathematics, Statistics and
Geology; from a recognized university, or must have Bachelors Degree in
Agriculture or Engineering or Forestry from a recognized university.
Examination: The scheme of examination has two stages:
(a) Written examination.
(b) Personal Interview.
the eligible candidates are first tested through a written examination
which consists of two compulsory and two optional subjects. The
compulsory subjects are General Knowledge and General English. Every
candidate has to offer two optional subjects out of (1) Physics (2)
Chemistry (3) Botany (4) Zoology (5) Forestry (6) Statistics (7)
Mathematics (8) Geology (9) Agriculture (10) Civil Engineering (11)
Agriculture Engineering (12) Mechanical Engineering (13) Chemical
The compulsory papers are designed to
test the candidates command over the language, comprehension,
analytical power and overall general awareness. The General English
paper carries the questions on use of words of common parlance,
passages, precis, comprehension, idioms etc. In addition the candidates
are also required to write an essay out of a few given topics. The
standard of this paper is such as is expected of an average
science/engineering/forestry/agriculture graduate of an Indian
The second compulsory paper on General
Knowledge is aimed at testing the general awareness and knowledge of
the candidates in subjects other than those studied by them in their
academic curriculum. This paper also tests the knowledge of candidates
on current events of national and international importance. There are a
few questions on Indian Political System, Indian History, Economy,
Geography and applied aspects of Science and Technology. The standard
of this paper is again such as is expected of an average
science/engineering/forestry/agriculture graduate. The questions in
this paper are multiple choice objective-type in nature.
far as the choice of optional subjects is concerned, list of subjects
offers a vast choice. Every eligible candidate is usually expected to
specialise in atleast one of the optional subjects which he/she would
have offered during his/her academic degree. The choice of second
subject is also not difficult. It is recommended that the candidates
appearing for the first time in the examination should go through
previous question papers before finally deciding on the optional
subjects. The standard of optional subjects is that of degree level
academic examination. Further details regarding syllabi of all optional
subjects are available in the instructions received alongwith the
application form supplied by the UPSC.
written examination is followed by a personality test in the form of
personal interview. The interviews are held by the UPSC soon after the
result of written test is declared. The marks obtained in the interview
are added to the marks obtained by a candidate in the written test to
draw up the final merit list. The main aim of personality test is to
judge the suitability of candidates as officers of Indian Forest
Service. The candidates appearing in the interview may expect some
questions on common day-to-day observations and current affairs of
importance. Questions on Indian Polity, Planning Process, Budgeting and
Economic Geography may also be expected. The personality test also aims
at testing leadership qualities, mental alertness, initiative, balance
of judgement, analytical capabilities and variety of interests.
Preparation and Coaching
IFS being among the most prestigious services of the country, the
competition for examination is quite tough and needs meticulous
preparation. So far as optional subjects are concerned, most of the
students are expected to do well. It is the performance of candidates
in compulsory subjects which makes the real difference. Any candidate
who does well in optional subjects and also excels in the compulsories
can expect to qualify the examination. It, therefore, requires
systematic planned study with added emphasis on both the compulsory
subjects which are usually neglected during the academic examinations.
have a sound base in the General Knowledge paper the candidates must
refer to a basic and standard general knowledge book like "General
Knowledge Refresher" by O.P. Khanna, regularly supported by "The
Competition Master". This would keep the candidates posted upto date as
far as general knowledge and current affairs are concerned and would
give them an edge over others in this paper.
personal interview also requires an exhaustive preparation. Passing of
written examination must not lead a candidate to a state of
complacency. Personality test being the final test of suitability of
the candidates for the service, thus assumed greater importance.
Indepth study of all important aspects of general interest as well as
brushing-up of optional subjects offered in the written examination is
required. Thorough self-appraisal is also an effective way of preparing
for the interview.
There are certain private
institutions/agencies imparting coaching and guidance for IFS
examination as well as personal interview. By taking due precautions
for not falling into unscrupulous hands, coaching from a reputed
institution will go a long way to help the fresh candidates to do well
in this examination.