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IAS versus IFoS (Indian Forest Service)

Both the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS) are all-India services with recruitment for happening through exams conducted by the UPSC. In fact, interested candidates can apply for both the exams together through the official website of the UPSC.

The prelims exam is the same for both the administrative service and the forest service. It is only in the subsequent stages (mains and interview) that the process bifurcates. This article draws comparisons both the UPSC exam and the IFoS (IAS Vs Indian Forest Service).

If you clear the IFoS exam, you will be recruited as an Indian Forest Service Officer. You will work in the state forest department. All top posts in the state forest department are occupied by IFoS officers. Also, top positions heading the various national parks and wildlife reserves go to IFoS officers. The chief mandate of the Indian Forest Service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy.

To know what are the other civil services posts, visit the linked article

IAS Vs Indian Forest Service

A comparison of IAS and IFoS is given below:

Service IAS IFoS
Exam conducted by UPSC UPSC
Competition High Higher due to lesser vacancies
Eligibility Nationality: Indian citizen Nationality: Indian citizen
Education: Any Graduate Education: Science or Engineering Bachelor’s Degree*
Age limit: 21-32 excluding relaxations for reserved communities Age limit: 21-32 excluding relaxations for reserved communities
Starting post Sub-District Magistrate (SDM) Divisional Forest Officer (DFO)
Highest post Cabinet Secretary Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF)

No. of Optionals

One Two

* Detailed educational criterion for eligibility to the Indian Forest Service:

The candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the following subjects: animal husbandry & veterinary science, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, statistics, physics, zoology; OR, the candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, forestry or engineering.

Syllabus Comparison of IAS and IFoS

  • The Prelims exam is the same for both and hence, the syllabus is the same. You can check the UPSC Prelims syllabus here.
  • The mains syllabus is different. You can download the mains syllabus for both the exams from the links below:

UPSC Civil Services Syllabus (Mains): Download PDF Here


Indian Forest Service Syllabus (Mains): Download PDF Here

Aspirants must also carefully review the CSE syllabus and exam pattern for a better understanding of the examination and accordingly move ahead with the preparation plan.

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IAS Vs Indian Forest Service – Career Comparison

Even though the civil services exam has better visibility in India and undoubtedly great prestige associated with it, the IFoS is also a lucrative career option for those interested in government service. There are no good or bad choices here, and it all really depends on the individual’s interests and aptitude.

  • If you have a love for forests and wildlife, the forest service is a good choice of career for you.
  • If you are hesitant to live in forest areas for most of your career span, do not go for the forest service. You can sometimes get posted in towns depending on the area of your work. (You may be assigned to timber production, for instance.)
  • If you want variety in your work, the IAS is the better choice.
  • The IAS has a higher social standing in our society.
  • The perks and salary are on par for both the services.
  • In the forest service, you will have to grapple with poachers and smugglers.
  • One perk as forest officers is that you (plus family) will have VIP access to wildlife reserves and national parks in the country.

To find out details about the IAS Exam, visit the linked article.

Furthermore, for details about the success stories of top rankers from the previous years, candidates can check out the IAS Toppers list.

For more exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below:

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