Indian Forest Service (IFS or IfoS) comes under the ambit of All India Services (AIS). There are two more well-known and reputed All India Services namely The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and The Indian Police Services (IPS). Being an AIS, the forest service officers are appointed by the President of India through an annual All India Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). IAS and IPS are appointed through a common Civil Services Examination of the UPSC along with various Central Services like Indian Foreign Service and Indian Revenue Service, among others. However, IFoS are recruited through a separate exam – the Indian Forest Service Examination.
The predecessor of IFoS is Imperial Forest Service which was constituted by the British Government during colonial era in 1867. Later the Constitution of India reorganized it into an All India Services and renamed it. Being mentioned in the Constitution, this service comes with amazing power, responsibility and reputation. Recently, the debate about climate change and the needs to protect forest, biodiversity, etc. have given it more responsibility. Officers are expected to protect the environment, regulate mines and forest activities in the protected areas and look after the needs of forest dwellers.
Salary of Indian Forest Service Officers
The current emoluments and other perks of IFoS officers are in accordance with the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. Following is the salary structure of officers
1. Junior Time Scale:
15,600 – 39,100 with Grade Pay of 5,400
Officers join the service on Junior Time Scale. They remained in this scale for around two years. The take home salary at this level comes out to be around Rs. 51,000.
2. Senior Time Scale:
15,600 – 39,100 with Grade Pay of Rs. 6,600
IFoS officers get first promotion with this scale. Note, their designation may not change at this level. They are now supposed to be well acquainted with the basic functioning of the forest department. The basic pay scale, as can be seen above, also remained the same. Only Grade Pay gets a hike and subsequently the officers didn’t notice much change in take home salary.
3. Junior Administrative Grade
15,600 – 39,100 with Grade Pay of Rs. 7,600
At this level officers started to get real job. They are also expected to perform some secretarial position at this level.
4. Deputy Conservator of Forest (Selection Grade)
37,400 – 67,000 with Grade Pay of Rs. 8,700
When officers become the Deputy Conservator of Forest, he is entitled to look after a forest and all related activities including managing various centrally sponsored schemes. This level gives lots of power and prestige to an officer.
5. Conservator of Forests
37,400 – 67,000 with Grade Pay of Rs. 8,900
6. Chief Conservator of Forests
37,400 – 67,000 with Grade Pay of Rs. 10,000
It is one of the most reputed field jobs related to environment in India. Chief Conservator is one of the most powerful positions since the British days. Though only Grade pay gets upward revision at this level.
7. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
67,000 – 79,000
The Sixth Pay Commission has recommended steep salary hike from this level. The take home salary is really high and officers also gets large secretarial assistance at this level.
8. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
75,000 – 80,000
It is the second highest position in forestry and environment department in any state. Officers are placed in the secretariat in the state capital.
9. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Chief of Forestry Department of a state)
Fixed Pay Scale: 80,000
The Sixth Pay Commission, on the line of its recommendation for IAS officers, had fixed the pay scale of the top most position of IFoS. The take home salary at this level is much more than this fixed amount.