Indian Forest Service

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) is the Forestry service of India. It is one of the three All India Services of the Indian government, along with the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service; its employees are recruited by the national government but serve under the state governments or Central Government. Recruitment to the Forest Service is made through the Indian Forest Service Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. Entry is open to candidates who hold a Bachelor's degree with at least one of the subjects namely Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Geology, Statistics and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science or a degree in Engineering, MBBS, Forestry or Agriculture from a recognised University or equivalent and who are between the ages of 21 and 30 as on July 1 of the year of the examination. Upper age limits are less restrictive for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBC).

Notification of the Indian Forest Service Examination is generally in February. The written essay-based examination is conducted in July and is conducted in English. Each paper is of three hours' duration.

Applicants are tested in General English, General Knowledge, and two optional science subjects from a list of 14 subjects, which includes among them four branches of engineering (Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, and Agricultural). The level required for the option subjects is at least of the Honours degree level.

Candidates who qualify the written examination appear for an Interview, where they are questioned on academics; current affairs; basic knowledge of forest-related issues and policies and the status of their implementation; knowledge of the geographical features, forest cover, wildlife, and economic and cultural issues of one's community.

Selected candidates are sent for foundation training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussourie. This is followed by Forest Service-specific orientation at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy at Dehradun, with training on forest and wildlife management, soil conservation, surveying, Scheduled Tribes, and handling weapons.

After completing the academies, candidates go through a year of on-the-job field training in the state to which he or she is assigned. There is a probationary period four years during which they are posted as Assistant Conservators of Forests. On completion of this, officers are appointed to the Senior Time Scale and are entitled to be posted as the Deputy Conservators of Forests or Divisional Forest Officers in charge of districts/forest divisions.

Ranks of the Indian Forest Service are as follows:

* Assistant Conservator of Forests
* Deputy Conservator of Forests
* Conservator of Forests (CFs)
* Chief Conservator of Forests
* Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
* Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) - highest post in a State

* Director General of Forests - highest post at Centre, selected from amongst the senior-most PCCFs of states.


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