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Indian Forest Service
Service Overview
Motto: अरण्यः ते पृथ्वी स्योनमस्तु (Sanskrit)
"The Forest is Earth's delight"
Formerly known asImperial Forest Service
Date of establishment1864; 160 years ago (1864)
(as Imperial Forest Service)
1966; 58 years ago (1966)
(as Indian Forest Service)
Staff CollegeIndira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Dehradun, Uttarakhand
Cadre Controlling AuthorityMinistry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
General natureGovernmental, Natural Resources
Cadre strength3131 (2182 Direct Recruits and 949 Promotion Posts)
Service Chief
Director General of ForestsShri Jitender Kumar IFS
Head of the All India Services
Cabinet SecretaryRajiv Gauba, IAS

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) is the premier forest service of India.[1][2][3] It was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951.

The service implements the National Forest Policy[4] in order to ensure the ecological stability of the country through the protection and participatory sustainable management of natural resources. The members of the service also manage the National Parks, Tiger Reserve, Wildlife Sanctuaries and other Protected Areas of the country. A Forest Service officer is wholly independent of the district administration and exercises administrative, judicial and financial powers in their own domain. Positions in state forest department, such as District/Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Conservator of Forests, Chief Conservator of Forests and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests etc., are held, at times, by Indian Forest Service officers. The highest-ranking Forest Service official in each state is the Head of Forest Forces. A forest service officer also hold positions of Chairman and Member Secretary in the State Pollution Control Boards.

Earlier, the British Government in India had constituted the Imperial Forest Service in 1867 which functioned under the Federal Government until the Government of India Act 1935 was passed and responsibility was transferred to the provinces.

Administration of the Service is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.


Dietrich Brandis is widely considered as the father of the Service

In 1864, the British Raj established the Imperial Forest Department; Dietrich Brandis, a German forest officer, was appointed Inspector General of Forests.[5] The Imperial Forestry Service was organized subordinate to the Imperial Forest Department in 1867.[6][7]

Officers from 1867 to 1885 were trained in Germany and France, and from 1885 to 1905 at Cooper's Hill, London, also known as Royal Indian Engineering College. From 1905 to 1926, the University of Oxford (Sir William Schlich), University of Cambridge, and University of Edinburgh trained Imperial Forestry Service officers.

Modern agency

The modern Indian Forest Service was established in 1966, after independence, under the All India Services Act 1951. The first Inspector General of Forests, Hari Singh, was instrumental in the development of the Forest Service.

India has an area of 635,400 km2 designated as forests, about 19.32% of the country. India's forest policy was created in 1894 and was subsequently revised in the years 1952 and 1988.


Officers are recruited through an open competitive examination conducted by the UPSC[8] and then trained for about two years by the Central Government at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy. 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.[9]

They are eligible for State and Central deputations as their counterpart IAS and IPS officers. Deputation of Forest Service officers to the Central Government includes appointments in Central Ministries at the position of Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary etc.; appointments in various Public Sector Units, Institutes and Academies at the position of Chief Vigilance Officer, Regional passport officers, Managing Directors, Inspector General, Director General etc.


On acceptance to the Forest Service, new entrants undergo a probationary period (and are referred to as Officer Trainees). Training begins at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, where members of many civil services are trained for the period of 15 weeks.

On completion of which they go to the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy at Dehradun, for a more intensive training in a host of subjects important to Forestry, Wildlife Management, Biodiversity, Environment Protection, Climate Change, Forest Policies and Laws, Remote Sensing and GIS, Forest Dwellers and Scheduled Tribes.[10][11] After completion of their training, the officers are awarded a master's degree in Science (Forestry) of Forest Research Institute.[10][11] The officers are taught more than 56 subjects of life sciences. The officers undergo 13 months of Phase 1 training , then after 4 months of on job training in their respective cadres and finally complete 3 months of Phase 2 training in the academy[10][11][12]

They are also taught weapon handling, horse riding, motor vehicle training, swimming, forest and wildlife crime detections. They also go on attachments with different government bodies and institutes such as Indian Military Academy, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Wildlife Institute of India, Bombay Natural History Society etc. They also undertake extensive tours both in India and a short tour abroad.

Forest Research Institute in Dehradun

After completing training at the academy, candidates go through a year of on-the-job field training in the state to which he or she is assigned, during which they are posted as Assistant Conservators of Forests/ Assistant Deputy Conservators of Forest or Deputy Conservator of Forests.

State Cadres

Cadre Allocation Policy

The Union Government announced a new cadre allocation policy for the All India Services in August 2017.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][excessive citations]

Under the new policy, a candidate has to rank the five zones in order of preference.[19] Subsequently, the candidate has to indicate one preference of cadre from each preferred zone.[19] The candidate indicates their second cadre preference for every preferred zone subsequently. The process continues till a preference for all the cadres is indicated by the candidate.[19]

Officers continue to work in the cadre they are allotted or are deputed to the Government of India.[20]

Zones under the new Cadre Allocation Policy
Zone States
Zone-I AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories including erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir), Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Zone-II Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Zone-III Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Zone-IV West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland.
Zone-V Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Old Cadre Allocation Policies

Till 2008 there was no system of preference of state cadre by the candidates; the candidates, if not placed in the insider vacancy of their home states, were allotted to different states in alphabetic order of the roster, beginning with the letters A, H, M, T for that particular year. For example, if in a particular year, the roster begins from 'A', which means the first candidate on the roster will go to the Andhra Pradesh state cadre of the Forest Service, the next one to Bihar, and subsequently to Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and so on in alphabetical order.[21] The next year the roster starts from 'H', for either Haryana or Himachal Pradesh (if it had started from Haryana on the previous occasion when it all started from 'H', then this time it would start from Himachal Pradesh). This highly intricate system, in vogue since the mid-1980s, had ensured that officers from different states were placed all over India.

The system of permanent State cadres has also resulted in wide disparities in the kind of professional exposure for officers when we compare officers in small and big and developed and backward states.[21] Changes of state cadre were permitted on the grounds of marriage to an All India Service officer of another state cadre or under other exceptional circumstances. The officer may go to their home state cadre on deputation for a limited period, after which one has to invariably return to the cadre allotted to him or her.[22]

From 2022 to 2028 Forest Service officers were allotted to State cadres at the beginning of their service. There was one cadre for each Indian state, except for two joint cadres: AssamMeghalaya and Arunachal PradeshGoaMizoramUnion Territories (AGMUT).[22] The "insider-outsider ratio" (ratio of officers who were posted in their home states) is maintained as 1:2, with one-third of the direct recruits as 'insiders' from the same state.[23] The rest were posted as outsiders according to the 'roster' in states other than their home states,[23] as per their preference.

Career Progression

Pay structure of Indian Forest Service

Grade/level on pay matrix Position in the state government(s) Other positions or designation in Government of India (GOI) Basic salary (monthly)
Apex scale (pay level 17) Principal Chief Conservator Of Forests

(Head of State Forest Force)[24]

  • Director General of Forests
  • Secretary in GoI
₹225,000 (US$2,818)
HAG+ Scale (pay level 16) Principal Chief Conservator of Forests


  • Additional Director General of Forests
  • Additional Secretary in GoI
205,400 (US$2,600)—224,400 (US$2,800)
HAG scale (pay level 15) Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests(APCCF)
  • ----
182,200 (US$2,300)—224,100 (US$2,800)
Senior administrative grade (pay level 14) Chief Conservator of Forests(CCF)
  • Inspector General of Forests
  • Joint Secretary in Central Government
144,200 (US$1,800)—218,200 (US$2,700)
Super time scale (DIG/Conservator grade) (pay level 13A) Conservator of Forests (CF)
  • Deputy Inspector General of Forests
  • Director in Central Government
131,100 (US$1,600)—216,600 (US$2,700)
Selection grade (pay level 13) Conservator of Forests(CF)
  • Deputy Inspector General of Forests
  • Deputy Secretary in Central Government
118,500 (US$1,500)—214,100 (US$2,700)
Junior administrative grade (pay level 12) Deputy Conservator of Forests(DCF)/

Divisional Forest Officer(DFO)

  • Assistant Inspector General of Forests
  • Deputy Secretary in Central Government
78,800 (US$990)—191,500 (US$2,400)
Senior time scale (pay level 11) Deputy Conservator of Forests(DCF)/

Divisional Forest Officer(DFO)

  • Assistant Inspector General of Forests
  • Under- Secretary in Central Government
67,700 (US$850)—160,000 (US$2,000)
Junior time scale (pay level 10) Assistant Conservator of Forests(ACF)/ Assistant Deputy Conservator of Forests(ADCF) Assistant Inspector General of Forests 56,100 (US$700)—132,000 (US$1,700)

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Hindi: प्रधान मुख्य वन संरक्षक) is the highest-ranking officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service who is responsible for managing the Forests, Environment and Wild-Life related issues of a state of India.[25] It is the highest rank of an officer of the Indian Forest Service in a State.

At times the states may have more than one post of PCCF and in that case, one of them is designated as the Head of Forest Force (HOFF). HOFF/PCCF is supported by APCCFs, Chief Conservator of Forests, Conservator of Forests, and field level functionaries, such as DFOs and Range Forest officers in their work.



As per media reports, some Forest Service officers have been found corrupt[26][27][28] and have been arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation for bribing and corruption.[29][30][31]

Dubious PhD degrees

In 2015, Tehelka reported that more than 30 names of Forest Service officers who might have been awarded dubious or suspect Ph.D. degrees.[32][33][34]

Changing Name

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has proposed the idea of renaming the Indian Forest Service as the ‘Indian Forest and Tribal Service’.[35][36]

Notable Officers

Imperial Forest Service Officer

Indian Forest Service Officers

Jal Ardeshir Master ( Chief Conservator of Forests Madras Presidency )

Died in the line of duty

See also


  1. ^ "Public Service". Official website of Government of India.
  2. ^ "rti". 31 December 1997. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy : Indian Forest Service". Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  4. ^ "NFP 1988" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  5. ^ "The colonial origins of scientific forestry in Britain". Environmental History Resources. 25 June 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Indian Forest Service (History)". Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  7. ^ Academy, Indira Gandhi National Forest. "Indian Forest Service". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  8. ^ from Direct Recruits: 66.33 percent of the cadre strength of the service is filled by Direct Recruitment done through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) by conducting an all India level competitive examination open to graduates with a science background. After qualifying for the written examination, the candidates have to appear for a personality test, a walking test, and a standard medical fitness test.
  9. ^ "IFS Diaries". 1 March 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "IFS PROBATIONERS' TRAINING COURSE". Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "The Training". Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  12. ^ Training Course, IFS probationers. "Indian Forest Service (Probationers' Training and Evaluation) Rules, 2023".
  13. ^ Dutta, Amrita Nayak (21 August 2017). "New cadre Policy which focuses on National Integration of All India Services". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  14. ^ "New cadre policy for IAS, IPS". The Indian Express. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  15. ^ Bhaskar, Utpal (24 August 2017). "Govt's proposed cadre policy for IAS, IPS officers draws ire". Live Mint. HT Media Ltd. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  16. ^ Shrivastava, Ashwini, ed. (23 August 2017). "Govt finalises new cadre policy for IAS, IPS officers". India Today. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  17. ^ "IAS, IPS allocation policy rejigged for 'national integration of bureaucracy'". Hindustan Times. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Central government finalises new cadre policy for IAS, IPS officers". Deccan Chronicle. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  19. ^ a b c d "Cadre Allocation Policy for the All India Services-IAS/IPS/IFS — Reg" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Consolidated Deputation Guidelines for All India Services" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 28 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Old Cadre allocation policy for All India Services – IAS/IPS/IFS" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 30 May 1985. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  22. ^ a b Ganihar, N.; Belagali, Dr. H. V. (2009). Indian Administration (Vol. 2) (Educational Philosophy of Dr. Zakir Hussain). Global Vision Publishing House. p. 325. ISBN 9788182202412. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Revised Cadre Allocation Policy w.e.f. CSE-2009, dated 15.06.2011" (PDF). Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  24. ^ "PCCF HOFF" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Home | Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head of Forest Force | Government Of Assam, India".
  26. ^ "Raids on forest dept official yield assets worth Rs 100 crore". Hindustan Times. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  27. ^ "Anti Corruption Bureau raids houses of 9 babus, including 3 Indian Forest Service officials in Chhattisgarh". The Economic Times. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  28. ^ "Forest dept officials find ways to skirt transparency". Deccan Herald. 27 December 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  29. ^ "CBI arrests two senior Indian Forest Service officers for bribing environment ministry official in Arunachal". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 9 November 2020.[dead link]
  30. ^ "Corruption has Kerala Forest Department's boats rot". Deccan Chronicle. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  31. ^ "Haryana forest scam: MoEF indicts politicians and senior officers". The Times of India. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  32. ^ "Tehelka Investigation: How forest officers net their PhDs". Tehelka. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  33. ^ "J&K IFS officer in trouble, completes PhD under 'dubious circumstances'". Early Times News. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  34. ^ "Investigation: The Unending Saga Of 'Forest' Fake PhDs". InLive News and Media Group. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Change the name, make it Indian Forest and Tribal Services, ST panel to tell govt". The Print. November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  36. ^ Sharma, Nidhi. "Government plans to rename Indian Forest Service ahead of 2019 election". The Economic Times. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  37. ^ "Life term for four Maoists, 10 years' RI to one, in DFO Sanjay Singh murder case". Hindustan Times. 5 July 2017.
  38. ^ "Sanjay Kumar Singh: The IFS Officer Who Gave His Life Battling Bihar's Mining Mafia". 7 March 2020.
  39. ^ "Remembering Dr. Manikandan". 4 March 2018.