All you need to know about the Indian Forest Service

Amidst the ever-increasing wildlife destruction today, the one service that immediately would come to rescue in the first place. If we look at the All India Services list, it is one of the top three prestigious services of the Government of India. The Indian Service was established in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India. The primary mandate of this service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy to ensure protection and sustainable management of the natural resources and thereby maintain a stable national ecology.

Role of IFS

The members of the Indian Forest Service play a crucial role in integrating the entire ecology under one roof and work for its conservation and safe sustenance. They are responsible for managing the National Parks, Tiger Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and other protected areas of India.

A Forest Service officer works independently without the involvement of the district administration. He exercises the administrative, judicial as well as financial powers within his domain. The positions in the state department are also held by the Forest Service’s officers. These positions include District/Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Conservator of Forests (CF), Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), etc.

History of IFS

In 1864, the British Raj formed the Imperial Forest Department. Later, the Imperial Forestry Service was known to be a subordinate to the Imperial Forest Department in 1867. It was the time when five candidates got selected for training in France and Germany. Subsequently, officers were appointed from the period 1867 to 1885 except for a short interval due to the then-ongoing war between France and Russia.

The officers were trained in Germany and France initially up to 1885 and later at Cooper’s Hill, London, also known as the Royal Indian Engineering College. Furthermore, the University of Oxford also joined in the queue of training the officers of the Imperial Forestry Service. However, in 1920, the Government of India decided to provide formal training to the IFoS probationers at a single center. It gave rise to the establishment of the Forest Research Institute at Dehradun, starting the training session in 1926.

During colonial rule, the British Government in India had set up the “Imperial Forest Service” in the year 1867. It functioned under the Federal Government until the department of ‘Forestry’ was transferred to the provincial list by the Indian Government under the Act of 1935. Subsequently, the recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service was ceased. Thus, in 1938, Indian Forest College was established and the superior forest service probationers from various states were trained in the college. During this time, large forest areas were brought under the control of the state through the reservation process under the Indian Forest Act of 1927.

The management and control of the forest went into the grip of the provincial government in 1935. Thereby, the forestry was further shifted to the concurrent list in the year 1977, where the central government plays a vital role in the management of forests through the execution of policies 

The forest management of the country witnessed a prominent shift in forest management, as the National Commission recommended on agriculture. It was the time when people’s need for biomass, sustainable yield, and social forestry activities were addressed on a large scale. Moreover, equal importance was given to broader areas like habitat and livestock management.

Modern Scenario of IFS

After independence, the modern Indian Forest Service was set up in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act of 1951. Hari Singh was the first Inspector General of Forests of the modern Indian Forest Service and contributed significantly to the upliftment of the service 

The forest policy of India was designed in 1894 and was revised in 1952 and subsequently in 1988. Presently, India acquires an area of 635,400 square kilometers as designated forest cover with over 2700 officers serving in the 31 forest departments in the states as well as Union territories. They are placed at various ministries and institutions of both the center and the state.

At present, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) serves as the principal cadre controlling authority of the Indian Forest Service.

We hope this article clears all your doubts regarding the past and the present-day functioning of the Indian Forest Service. With this, let’s pray that our country and its biodiversity stay intact forever.



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