How to Join the Indian Forest Service?

How to Join Indian Forest Service

India recognised the need to conserve and manage forest, nature and its adjoining fields almost 150 years ago. The Imperial Forest Service was established in 1867 under the British government. Following Independence, in 1966, Indian Forest Service was re-established under the All India Service Act. Indian Forest Service is one of the most prestigious government jobs in India which maintains ecological stability and prosperity so that India and its population can survive with enough resources. If you wish to be amongst nature and serve the country all your life, this blog on how to join the Indian Forest Service is for you!

What is IFoS?

Indian Forest Service is one of the 3 All India Service- Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service. It is the duty of the Indian Forest Officer to ensure that all forest enclosures are working under the National Forest Policy. India was one of the first countries to have formed a department that implements scientific management of forests and nature. The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) conducts the IFoS examination every year to select the best candidates for the Indian Forest Service. There are three stages that you have to clear if you wish to join the Indian Forest Service. 

Also Read: Career in Forestry

Skills Needed to Join the Indian Forest Service

It is important that you ask yourself why you should join the Indian Forest Service and also check the necessary skills for joining the IFoS. 

  • Decision Making Skills– If you want to join the Indian Forest Service, one thing that you have to ace is at being quick. On the field, there might be scenarios where you have to take swift decisions, calculating the risks and consequences. 
  • Technical Skills– A lot of responsibilities of an Indian Forest Officer lies in preserving, checking, recording different species and maintaining a huge database. Surveillance and records require you to be well-equipped in Word, Excel, etc. 
  • Communication Skills– Communication skills are a must in all services. To encounter people of different regions and cultures, communicating without discrimination or offence is extremely important.  

Apart from these 3 basic skills, more forest-intensive skills are taught during the training period after you clear all examinations and interviews. 

Eligibility Requirements

The Indian Forest Service is very rigid when they select its officers. The eligibility criteria can be divided into these categories:

Physical Eligibility You have to be physically fit without any long-term illnesses or allergies. 
National Eligibility Citizen of India OR
The subject of Nepal or Bhutan People of Indian origin migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and East African countries to permanently settle in India.
Whoever is not a citizen of India but of Indian origin and wishes to join the Indian Forest Service have to proclaim a certificate of Eligibility from the Government of India.
Academic Eligibility  Bachelor’s degree with at least one of these subjects- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology, Agriculture and Forestry, Engineering. OR
If you are appearing for the undergraduate exam, you can still apply and then submit your passing certificate.
Age Eligibility  Minimum 21 years of age and maximum 32 years of age.
Minorities are allowed relaxations of up to 10 years on the maximum age eligibility.  

Guide to Join the Indian Forest Service

The academic journey of joining the Indian Forest Service starts with your stern decision of preparing for the UPSC Preliminary Exam for the IFoS. Once you have graduated or are in your last year of graduation, you can apply for the UPSC IFoS- Forest Exam. 


As mentioned before, there are three stages that you have to complete to join the Indian Forest Service and they are:

Stage  Total  Average Cutoff (2019)
UPSC Preliminary Exam  400 marks ( 2 papers) 116
IFoS Main Exam  1400 marks 686
Interview  300 marks  N/A

Looking at the cutoffs, you can see how challenging is the academic journey to become an Indian Forest Officer. You can apply for the exams from the UPSC portal.


Keep a note that you can only give the exams once a year. It is also important to know how many attempts or how many times you can give the Main exam to qualify for the Indian Forest Service. 

Category  Attempts 
General 6 attempts 
SC and ST No limit
Other Backward Classes  9 attempts 


Once you clear the examinations, you will be asked for an interview which will be conducted by UPSC. The sample questions for the same are given below:-

  • Questions about the National Forest Policy
  • What are tribals? (Sensitive Question)
  • What kind of strengths are required for an Indian Forest Officer?
  • What is the significance of the years 1972 and 1973?
  • Questions about Climate Change
  • What is JFM (Joint Forest Management)?
  • What will you do if illegal activities occur in your area and your department is under investigation?
  • Questions about various forest preservation andolans like the Chipko Movement


After the interview, if you are accepted to the Indian Forest Service, you are put under training for 2 years. Officer trainees are trained for 15 weeks at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration and then transferred to the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy for the rest of their training. After completion, you will be awarded the MSc in Forestry by the Forest Research Institute. 

IFS Exam Important Dates for 2022

Event  Important Dates 
Release of Online Application Form February 2022
Deadline for Online Application Form First Week of March 2022
Release of Admit Card  May 2022
UPSC Preliminary Exam First Week of June 2022
UPSC Preliminary Exam- Results   Second Week of July 2022
IFoS Mains Exam December 2022
IFoS Mains Exam- Results  TBD 


The examination fee for the Indian Forest Service exam is INR 100/- and the below categories are exempted from the application fee:

  • Female
  • Scheduled Tribes 
  • Scheduled Castes
  • PwBD (Person with Benchmark Disability) 

Roles and Responsibilities of an Indian Forest Officer

As an officer of the prestigious Indian Forest Service, your roles and responsibilities are of national importance. The primary role of an Indian Forest Officer, at any level, is to conduct sustainable management of resources and wildlife, keeping in mind the National Forest Policy. 

These would be your duties as an Indian Forest Officer at your posting:

  • Preserving and maintaining the heritage of forest and forest resources
  • Check on illegal cutting on forest trees and other such illicit activities
  • Plant more trees and promote activities to plant more trees in the forest
  • Make legal commercial exploitation for timber plans
  • Make reports to be submitted to the ministry 
  • Regular surveys and guarantee that the work is being done by the subordinates 
  • Ensure wildlife is protected and not exploited

More such post-specific responsibilities are added once you are posted to a certain forest enclosure. 

Employment Sectors

The Indian Forest Services has divided India into 26 cadres according to the regions, states and union territories. Each cadre has different vacancy strengths and responsibilities. As an Indian Forest Officer, you have to work for both state and central governments. You are posted as per your experience and qualities to one of the 26 cadres. As an officer of the Indian Forest Service, you will be posted at these locations in the 26 cadres:

  • National Parks
  • Tiger Reserves
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries 
  • Other protected areas of the country 

Salary After Joining the Indian Forest Service

The salary of an officer in the Indian Forest Service depends upon your level of duty and experience. These are the posts and salaries given in the 7th Central Pay Commission:

Posts  Salary per month (INR)
Junior Time Scale 56,100-1,77,500
Senior Time Scale 67,700-2,08,700
Junior Administrative Grade 78,800-2,09,200
Deputy Conservator of Forests 1,18,500-2,14,100
Conservator of Forests  1,31,100-2,16,600
Chief Conservator of Forests  1,44,200-2,18,200
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests 1,82,200-2,24,100
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests  2,05,400-2,24,400
Head of Forestry  2,25,000


Is the UPSC Preliminary exam needed to join the Indian Forest Service?

Yes, you have to first give the UPSC Preliminary exam needed to join the Indian Forest Service. 

What are the perks of joining the Indian Forest Service?

Free accommodation, free medical treatment, transport, bodyguard, house help and retirement benefits are some of the major perks of joining the Indian Forest Service

What is the number of attempts available for the general category for the IFoS exam?

You are allowed 6 attempts for the IFoS exam in the general category.

What is the highest pay you can get as an Indian Forest Officer?

You can be paid as high as INR 2.25 lakhs per month in the Indian Forest Service.

Do you have to give an interview for joining the Indian Forest Service?

Yes, the interview is a part of the selection process for a candidate of Indian Forest Service.

How many years of training is required before you become an Indian Forest Officer?

15 weeks of foundation training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration and a minimum of 2 years of training at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy is required after your interview and before you become an Indian Forest Officer. 

Do women have to pay the application fee for the IFoS exam?

Women are exempted from any application/examination fee for the IFoS exam. 

Joining the Indian Forest Service is the dream government job but requires years of dedication and the challenge of cracking the IFoS exam. Hope this blog helped you understand the requisites of how to join the Indian Forest Service. Stay tuned for more informational blogs at Leverage Edu!

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