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IFoS Full Form

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The IFoS Full Form is Indian Forest Service (IFoS का फुल फॉर्म भारतीय वन सेवा है) which is one of the three All India Services of the government of India along with IAS and IPS. It was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951. The main mandate of IFoS service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which aims to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance. An IFS officer is largely independent of district administration and exercises administrative, judicial, and financial powers in their domain. The first Inspector General of Forests, Hari Singh, was instrumental in the development of the Forest Service. All top positions in the state forest department are held by IFoS officers. Recruitment of officers for IFoS is done by UPSC on an All India basis to get the best talent. for the scientific management of its forests. Under various State cadres & joint cadres, IFoS officers are placed during service. As compared to the civil services examination(CSE) there are fewer vacancies (approximately 100 every year) in the IFoS exam.

Table of Contents:-

  1. Role of IFoS
  2. Job Roles of Indian Forest Officer (IFoS)
  3. Pros of IFoS
  4. Cons of IFoS
  5. Salary Structure
  6. Exam Pattern for IFoS (Prelims, Mains and Interview)
    • Prelims
    • Mains
  7. Syllabus of IFoS
    • Prelims Syllabus
         o General Paper 1
         o General Paper 2
    • Mains Syllabus
         o List of Optional Subjects
    • Interview
         o Training      o Deputation
  8. Eligibility Criteria for IFoS (Nationality, Educational, Age & Attempts)
  9. How To Apply for IFoS
  10. IAS vs IFoS
  11. Editor's Note
  12. FAQ Regarding IFoS

Role of IFoS

The responsibilities and roles of an Indian Forest Service official include:

  1. Forest conservation and development
  2. Biodiversity and Wildlife management
  3. Solving environmental issues including Climate Change
  4. Dealing with forest and wildlife-related crimes
  5. Afforestation + Agroforestry
  6. Tribal and hill area development
  7. Social welfare of tribals and dwellers in the forest
  8. Natural resource management
  9. Training and capacity building
  10. R&D + Biotechnology
  11. Forest Personnel Administration
  12. Policy Making

Job Roles of Indian Forest Officer (IFoS)

  • Principal Chief Conservator of Forest: This officer is the head of the forest force. The major responsibilities of this officer are to manage the forest, wildlife, and environmental issues of different states. Moreover, it is the highest position in the Indian Forest Service.
  • Additional Chief Conservator of Forest: Firstly, this officer plays an important role to assist the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest. Secondly, this officer is directly answerable to the chief and should complete the duties assigned by him.
  • Deputy Conservator of Forest: This officer is also known as Divisional Forest Officer. Further, the main duties of the officer are to manage the forest, wildlife, and environment-related issues.
  • Assistant Conservator of Forest: The responsibility of this officer is to assist higher-level officers. Moreover, they also do some tasks according to their post which are assigned upon joining.
  • Forest Range Officer (FRO): This officer is responsible for the effective management of the forest. Also, this officer has custody of government property associated with the forest. Moreover, this officer follows the Deputy Conservator of Forest.
  • Maintaining forest trees is an essential task for IFoS officers. he/she needs to keep a constant watch on the illegal logging of trees & work in coordination with the security personnel & forest guards.
  • As Animals are also forested resources & IFoS officers need to assure their safety & have to restrict illegal activity.
  • IFoS officers have to do the required paperwork and prepare reports that need to submit to the forest department & ministry. He/she needs to conduct regular surveys of the forest & ensure that work is being done in the right way.

Pros of Becoming an IFoS?

  • The job of IFOS is permanent with attractive employee benefits.
  • The salary keeps increasing with experience and promotion.
  • Also, there is an added benefit of getting to reside in beautiful homes in some of the most beautiful locations. Nature lovers will be able to pursue wildlife photography as well as spend time in the natural habitat of the wild.
  • Further, eco-tourism is one of the perks of being in the Indian Forest Service.

Cons of IFoS?

  • Since Forest Range Officers work in the forest, there is the risk of animal attacks.
  • Forest officers are more accountable for the government property i.e. Forests. Therefore, they need to be more careful in protecting the animals and resources in the forest.
  • IFoS officers also have to face land mafia, cases related to mining, and even naxal problems.

However, every job has its disadvantages. But the real fun and satisfaction that the job brings is the ability to give back to nature, protect it, the chance to be able to spend time in some of the purest locations. This job is a dream for many, especially for nature lovers.

Salary Structure

Job Profile Salary Per Annum
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Rs. 15,00,000
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Rs. 14,00,000
Inspector General of Forest (Chief Conservator of Forest) Rs. 13,00,000
Deputy Inspector General of Forest (Deputy Conservator of Forest) Rs. 12,00,000
Assistant Inspector General of Forest Rs. 10,00,000

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IFoS Exam Pattern

The IFOS exam is divided into 3 parts - Prelims, Mains and Interview.

IFoS Prelims Exam Pattern :

  1. The Prelims exam of both the forest services exams and UPSC CSE(civil services Examination) is exactly the same.
  2. It is an objective type paper based on multiple-choice questions.
  3. It has 2 mandatory papers. Each paper comprises 200 questions and the time duration is 2 hours in each.
  4. Moreover, there is a negative marking (1/3rd) for every incorrect answer. Also, candidates should not select more than one answer.

IFoS Mains Exam Pattern (1700 Marks) :

  1. The IFoS exam’s mains is different from the civil services exam(CSE).
  2. The eligibility criterion for IFoS is also slightly different compared to the civil services exam(CSE).
  3. It is important to note for candidates that the language of all the papers can be only in English & is the only medium of examination in the IFoS.
  4. The mains exam of IFoS has 6 papers . In Mains, All 6 papers are written in nature. Duration of each paper is 3 hours. Paper 3, 4, 5 and 6 are based on optional subjects.
  5. Paper 1(General English) and Paper 2(General knowledge) carry 300 marks each. But, Paper III, IV, V, VI carry 200 marks each.
  6. After passing the Prelims exam, candidates get shortlisted for the IFoS Mains exam if they also meet IFoS-related, especially criteria.
  7. The Prelims-qualified candidates must keep in mind that their candidature is provisional. As per UPSC IFoS rules, the Detailed Application form-I (DAF) related to IFoS (Main) Exam is required to apply candidates after passing the Prelims exam.

IFoS Exam Syllabus

To understand the IFoS exam properly, you must have a thorough knowledge of the syllabus. It is the most qualified way to know the demand and extent of any exam.

IFoS Prelims Syllabus (Paper 1 – GS & Paper 2 - CSAT)::

It should be noted that the syllabus of IFOS Prelims is the same as Prelims of Civil Services.

General Paper 1

  • Current affairs that are of national as well as international importance.
  • Indian history with more attention on the Indian national movement.
  • The world geography with a special focus on India- the physical, social and economic geography of India is particularly important.
  • Also, Indian polity and governance- thorough knowledge of the constitution, Panchayati raj, political system, public policies and schemes, fundamental rights, etc.
  • Sustainable, economic, and social development, demographics of poverty, employment, inclusion, and social sector initiatives.
  • Environment, biodiversity, social issues related to the environment, climate change, on a generic basis, Subject specialization is not required.
  • General Science

General Paper 2

  • English comprehension
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Logical and analytical reasoning
  • Problem-solving and decision making based questions
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numerical ability- orders of magnitude, number, and their relations, charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency.
  • Basic English language, grammar, and vocabulary.

Mains Syllabus:

  • 1st Paper is on General English
  • 2nd paper is on General Knowledge
  • Paper III, IV, V, VI are optional subjects

List of Optional Subjects are -

  • Agriculture
  • Maths
  • Agriculture Engineering
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Botany
  • Forestry
  • Zoology
  • Geology
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Statistics

It is important to note that, unlike IAS, IPS or IRS exams where there is only 1 optional, here in IFoS candidates have to choose 2 optional subjects.The candidate must know that some subject combinations are not allowed. Also, we have created that list for you -
  • Agricultural Engineering and Agriculture
  • Forestry and Agriculture
  • Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
  • Statistics and Maths
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Agriculture.
  • Not more than one engineering subjects

IFoS Interview (300 Marks)

This is the last stage of the examination. However, the candidate must keep in mind that this stage is much more than bookish knowledge. It is about the candidate's calibre and presence of mind. Also, the selected candidate must possess the following qualities -

  • Mind Alertness
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Balance judgement
  • Physical and Mental Caliber
  • The desire to explore unknown places and
  • Positive attitude to the most unexpected questions

Moreover, a physical test is also a part of the selection process. In this test, the male candidates have to walk 25 km in less than 4 hours and female candidates have to walk 15 km in less than 4 hours.

TRAINING: Officers are recruited through an open competitive examination conducted by the UPSC annually and then trained for about two years by the Central Government. As forest service officials, the selected candidates have to perform various duties ranging from administrative, judicial, financial, forest resources-related crime management, thus their training curriculum follows a multi-disciplinary approach. During the training period candidates visit Lal Bahadur Shashtri national academy of Administration, Mussoorie for foundational training of nearly 3 months. After that, they are trained to Indira Gandhi National Forest Institue Dehradun, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), etc. They also go on tour in India and abroad.
DEPUTATION: Their services are placed under various State cadres and joint cadres, being an All India Service they have the mandate to serve both under the State and Central Governments. Thus they might serve in central government, state government, or international organizations.

IFoS Eligibility Criteria (Nationality, Educational, Age & Attempts)


Citizens of India who are eligible for IFoS, can apply. Furthermore, the candidates can be from Nepal & Bhutan. However, candidates who have an Indian origin & have moved to Pakistan, Burma, East African countries of Kenya, Sri Lanka, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zaire, Zambia, Vietnam and Ethiopia can also apply for the IFoS exam. As per physical standards for the IFoS exam, candidates must meet physically fit physical criteria. Candidates should carefully go through IFoS official notification to get an idea of detailed rules & regulations.

Age Limit

The candidate must be of minimum 21 years old and maximum of 32 years old.


  • The candidates belonging to SC/ST caste have 5 years of relaxation.
  • Other Backward Classes have 3 years of relaxation.
  • Also, the ex-servicemen have 5 years of relaxation.
  • Disabled people have 3 years of relaxation.

Number of Attempts

  • General Candidates have 6 Attempts.
  • SC/ST candidates have no limit on the number of attempts. The limit is on their age only.
  • On the other hand, OBC and other backward classes get 9 attempts.

Educational Qualification

The candidates must have a passing degree from a government-authorized University or any degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree in any of the streams from a reputed university.

How to Apply for IFoS

  1. UPSC Civil Services notification(CSE) & IFoS notification both are the same, released by UPSC annually.
  2. pplication mode for the Indian Forest Service(IFoS) Exam is the same as UPSC CSE(civil services examination). During application for the IFoS exam, candidates have to mention the exam for which they are applying.

However, candidates can apply for both exams i.e. Civil service Exam(CSE) and Indian Forest Service(IFoS).

  1. The candidates need to submit an application form related to IFoS. Aspirants can apply through online mode only.
  2. Step-by-step process for application
  • Log on to IFoS Official Website
  • Go to DAF - Indian Forest Examination.
  • Check the official notifications which have all the important dates. Also, must check if candidates are meeting all the required criteria.
  • After that, go to the UPSC home page, click on the link related to registration & fill required details. Also, make sure to upload all required documents to proof.
  • After the completion of the application form. Complete the payment step.
  • Finally, candidates are advised to take a printed out of the final submitted application form & keep it safe for future requirements


  1. Both IAS( Indian Administrative Service) and IFoS( Indian Forest Service) recruitment happens through the same prelims exam. So, interested students can apply for both of them in the same application form.
  2. However, the mains and interview stages are different for both the services. There are different syllabi for both and the selection procedure also varies from this stage on.
  3. IAS is the most prestigious job without a doubt but IFoS is the service you should opt for if you are a nature lover and have to zeal to tackle environment-related issues. Also, you will enjoy your job and make the best out of it when you have the desire to be a part of nature by protecting it. On the other hand, if the candidate wants to make a bigger change in society, then IAS is the way candidates should go.
To sum up, the benefits of both jobs are quite amazing. An IFoS officer deals with forest problems like poachers, environmental degradation, animals, etc. Further, the IFoS officer and the officer's family will get VIP access to wildlife reserves of the country. This is one of the most cherished benefits of IFoS officers today. Anyways, whether you are an IAS or an IFoS officer, you will be serving the country to the best of your abilities.

Editor's Note

  1. The candidate must prepare thoroughly and do hard work because the vacancies are very less in IFoS.
  2. The cut off usually goes high due to fewer vacancies and high competition.
  3. It is advised aspirants not to grab every book or source that you find. Instead, try to find your strengths and weaknesses and keep your sources limited and focus on revision.
  4. Further, prepare yourself for the physical test as the candidate must be fit in order to clear the last round.
  5. Finally, focus on yourself and attempt mock tests and Interviews. This is the most reliable way of polishing yourself before the actual day of the exams.

FAQ Regarding IFoS

1. What is the Full Form of IFoS?
The Full Form of IFoS is Indian Forest Service.

2. Is IFoS Prelims and Civil Services Prelims the same?
Yes, the prelims exam to All India Services and IFoS is the same. However, the Mains and Interviews differ in syllabus and approach. Also, the IFoS exam has an added level of physical fitness test.

3. Is there any risk in IFoS Job?
Every job is a mixed bag of perks as well as risks. In the case of IFoS, there are risks of animal attacks, land mafias, etc. because of posting in forest areas that sometimes stretch as deep as the interiors of the forest. However, you will be always backed by a team, guards, and your intelligence while dealing with such situations.