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#1. Prelims It is the same as that of Civil services Preliminary Examination (same exam, held simultaneously).
The written examination consists of the following papers:
#3. Personality Test of candidates who qualify from Mains will be conducted by the UPSC. Maximum Marks- 300.
List of optional subjects:
(ii.) Agricultural Engineering
(iii) Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
(vi) Chemical Engineering
(vii) Civil Engineering
(xi) Mechanical Engineering
The following combination of subjects are not allowed:
(a) Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
(b) Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
(c) Agriculture and ·Forestry
(d) Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
(e) Mathematics and Statistics
(f) Of the Engineering subjects viz. Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering- not more than one
Eligibility– The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the following subjects:
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology, Agriculture, Forestry, Agriculture Engineering, Engineering.
The implementation of the National Forest Policy which aims to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance which are vital for sustenance of all life forms, human, animal and plant.
IFoS officers while in field postings in respective state cadres work for conservation, protection and development of forests and wildlife along with an aim to enhance livelihood opportunities of forest dependent communities of rural and tribal areas.
Their services are placed under various State cadres and joint cadres, even though they have the mandate to serve both under the State and Central Governments.
Let’s see how they are deputed technically…
As per Rule 6 of the Indian Forest Service (Cadre) Rules, 1966 deputation of IFS officers broadly falls into two categories: Central Deputation & State Deputation
#1. Central Deputation
For Central Deputation, there are two schemes devised for the purpose of regulating appointments in Government of India and organisations under its control:
Central Staffing Scheme
Non-Central Staffing Scheme
It was on deputation at AIIMS as deputy secretary and Chief Vigilance Officer that Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an IFoS officer exposed corruption and was later awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asia’s nobel) for emergent leadership
#2. State Deputation:
An IFoS officer may also be deputed for service under a company, association, corporation which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by a State Government, a Municipal Corporation or Local Body. Appointment is done by the State Government.
#3. Deputation under International Organisations
An IFoS officer may also be deputed for service under international organisation by Central Government in consultation with State Government.
Let’s know about life in IFoS from an IFoS himself…
Jayanti Prasad Sharma, an IFoS officer (retd.) served for 35 years from 1963 to 1998. Sharma retired as Chief Conservator of Forests after serving in different districts and commissionerates of Uttar Pradesh. In his long career span he gathered precious insight into the world of animals and nature that most modern youngsters can only imagine.
#1. Wildlife encounter:
As a young officer Sharma’s first posting was in Gorakhpur in 1965 and within days, he had his first brush with the most feared of all.
He encountered a Tiger merely 20-30 yards and was chased by him. He was literally frozen. But somehow he managed to hide himself and use all theory learnt during training into practice.
#2. Human encounter:
The problems and challenges faced are not from the wildlife itself, but most often from humans. Apart from the known illegal activities of poaching and felling of protected trees which the officers had to constantly check on, one of the biggest everyday challenge is to prevent encroachment of the forest land.
On the other hand, as chief protectors of the forest and its inhabitants, forest officers are also the chief negotiators who resolve conflict when a wild animal enters human settlements. Sharma says, it was a part of his day-to-day job to ensure that peace was maintained when such conflicts arose.
#3. Disappearing forests:
He says during the sixties when he joined the service there was lot of love and respect in the eyes of public for forest as well as foresters. There was in general, respect for forest law. Things have changed now. There is lots of political interference. In the name of development the pressure on land has increased and it has becomes the easiest prey, he adds.
Due to such policies to please the interests of few, the forest land has diminished a lot and is fast diminishing from what we inherited.
When he was in service, Sharma recalls there were no roads. They were trained to travel on foot on hills.
#4. Choosing to serve forests:
Sharma hopes more youngsters choose IFS. He advises them to join this service with a determination and zeal of serving the country and the environment. He also importantly asks the next generation to not stoop down to political pressures.
They must make an effort to change the mindset of people and politicians who have become anti forests, who value monetary gains over our mother nature. For them forests and forest departments are obstructions in their plans of grabbing forests land. They have to take up the task of making world aware of the natural wealth we have inherited and teach them to pass it on to our next generation. It should be taken up as our moral responsibility.
#5. Some vital career lessons:
As you have decided to join IFS, so now it is forests where you belong. Along with office work, field inspections are very important. Make it a habit to visit the fields and do lots of site inspections. Try not to be an arm chair officer but a one who is a field officer.
We have inherited a chain of rest houses in dense and remote places built by Britishers. Always stay few nights every month in them. It helps connecting with the locals in much better way and gives a great command over the area of one’s jurisdiction.
#6. Some other view:
Let’s see what a guy has to say about his father being in IFS…
Life’s been pretty much an adventure. His cadre is WB, sometimes it has been dangerous living around there – Bodo, Naxalite and Gorkhaland uprisings. Perks and power are the same as an IAS officer in such areas coz of extensive forest lands. Plenty of beautifully constructed colonial/modern times forest rest houses, postings in National Parks and Sanctuaries etc, discounted timber rates. Got to live in one of the nicest bungalows with fancy gardens.
On the less brighter side, the CM can bust you for anything from minimal tree-felling to an animal getting slaughtered on a railroad. More so in states with more rural populations and tribal areas. Especially now when everybody is waking up to the environment more consciously. I would’ve liked sitting for the exam myself if people from a non-science background were eligible.
Published with inputs from Swapnil