The Union Public Service Commission or the UPSC is a Board that conducts several national-level examinations which include IAS, IPS, IFS, etc. Since millions of students in India prepare and appear for these exams, it is important to know the differences between each of the above-mentioned exams. The IAS, IFS, and IPS exams differ among themselves on several levels, the first level being their syllabus. You would probably also know that the role, power, and duties of an IAS Officer would differ from that of an IPS or IFS officer. In this article, we will focus on the key differences between IAS and IFS. You will get to know the exam required to be taken to become either of these, alongside the salaries of IAS and IPS officers, their powers, responsibilities, and duties.
How to Become an IAS Officer?
First, you need to understand what the IAS exactly is. The IAS or the Indian Administrative Services Exam is held nationally every year by the UPSC Boards. As of now, among 4926 posts, 3511 candidates are selected for the IAS through the exam held by UPSC. India’s main civil services collectively include the IAS, IFS, that is, Indian Forest Service, and the IPS, which is the Indian Police Service. If you are an aspirant for the IAS, you need to know the eligibility criteria of the IAS exam. After that, you must also qualify for all the rounds of the IAS exam. The syllabus of IAS is massive so ensure that you have prepared thoroughly before sitting for the exam. Below you can read about the eligibility criteria for the IAS exam.
- Firstly, any candidate applying for the IAS exam must be a citizen of India
- Next, there is an age limit for all general category candidates. Every person who is below or of the age of 32 years can apply and appear for the IAS exam. The age limit has some relaxation for candidates belonging to other categories
- Any candidate applying for the IAS exam must have also completed their Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized Institute or University
How to Become an IFS Officer?
As mentioned above, the IFS is short for Indian Forest Services. To become an IFS officer, a candidate needs to clear all rounds of the exam which includes the Prelims, main examination, and the round of interview. One of the main objectives of being a forest officer is safeguarding forests from illegal activities like poaching, encroachment, and tree-felling. Besides these, there are many other responsibilities of an IFS officer. Before delving into more details about the IFS exam, here are the eligibility criteria that candidates require to meet before applying for the IFS.
- Firstly, the candidate can be a citizen of any of these countries- India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan but they must have stayed in India
- The age limit for all general category applicants is from 21 years of age to 30 years. There will be some concession in the age limit for candidates belonging to SC, ST, or OBC categories
- As an aspirant of the IFS, a candidate must be physically and mentally fit. They should be able to meet the health standards laid down by the UPSC. To check if you are fit for the role of an IFS Officer before your interview round, you can take a medical exam at a specific hospital that has CSMB, or Central Standing Medical Board
- The applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or any discipline of science from a recognized institute or University
Which is Tougher: IAS or IFS?
As you would have seen already, most of the eligibility criteria for both the IAS and IFS exams are similar; the main difference between IAS and IFS lies in the duties and functions performed by IAS and IFS Officers. One example to explain this would be that IFS Officers have the duty of conserving and safeguarding the forests from all kinds of illegal human activities. This can be defined as one of the fundamental duties of an IFS officer. Whereas, an IAS Officer can be defined as a bureaucrat as they primarily enforce regulations laid down by the government.
Considering the duties of both an IAS Officer and an IFS Officer, you would have already gauged that the IAS exam is a lot tougher than the IFS Exam. However, it must be noted that the IFS Exam has more of a competitive edge. That is because there are lesser slots in the IFS than in the IAS.
Salary of IAS vs IFS
As mentioned before, the IAS can arguably be said as the highest of all other civil services. Thus, the salary of an IAS salary is around INR 56,000. This amount does not include all other allowances of an IAS Officer which include House Rent Allowance, Dearness Allowance, Travel Allowance, etc. These allowances are provided extra to IAS officers.
For an IFS Officer, the salary per annum is around INR 3, 71,000. However, this amount is subject to change depending on many factors like the location of the posting, the candidate’s background, and experience. This amount would also increase if a candidate has a higher posting. It must be noted that if a candidate has a higher posting, they would have many more responsibilities. Most of these responsibilities would involve less fieldwork and more decision-making and desk work.
Which is Better: IAS or IFS?
The question about whether the IAS is better than the IFS has been asked by applicants every year. There is no answer to which is better- IAS or IFS. It all depends on independent preferences. Both the IAS and IFS exams are conducted by the UPSC board and candidates get qualified through these exams only. You can even apply for both exams at the same time if you visit the official website of UPSC. Though the prelims for both the IFS and the IAS are the same, you must note that the main exams for both IAS and IFS are different, as are the interview rounds.
If you are a candidate who is still trying to figure out whether to appear for the IAS or the IFS exam, we might be able to help. If you are interested in dealing with the conservation and preservation of forests in our country you could apply for the IFS exam. IFS Officers are generally posted within the forest department of a state. If you get promoted you could be in top positions in the various wildlife reserves and national parks. Whereas, IAS Officers, unlike IFS Officers, can control the rules and regulations made by the Government of India, and thus, they have more power in this regard.
Powers and Roles of IAS vs IFS
Here are more individual powers that IAS and IFS Officers enjoy respectively:
- Firstly, IAS Officers look after the development of an area under a supervising minister when they get posted there
- Next, IAS Officers have the duty of implementing different programs that will help the development of the districts where they are posted
- They must uphold law and order at every moment
- They are charged with the duty of implementing financial and commercial policies. It must be noted, though, that the supervising minister, under which the IAS Officer, makes the final decisions on policies
- IFS Officers have the duty of implementing the National Forest Policy
- IFS Officers are charged with the duty of keeping forests, national parks, and wildlife reserves safe from any kind of external harm from poachers, smugglers, etc.
- Anyone who has a great love for forests and wildlife and wants to do their part for the nation should apply for the IFS
- One of the great perks of being an IFS Officer is that you and your family would get VIP access to national parks and wildlife reserves all over the country
Life of IAS vs IFS
When IAS and IFS Officers have just begun their careers, they work in sub-divisional towns in remote areas and districts. Unlike IFS Officers, IAS Officers are also required to travel within their respective districts. This is a part of their job description as they have to look after under-developed areas and work towards their development.
Since IAS Officers are higher in power, they have great responsibilities and they have to work a lot for their country. On the other hand, IFS Officers are responsible for anything that might affect the Forest policy of our nation.
There are numerous posts offered by the UPSC and you can know more about them through research. Asan a UPSC aspirant, it all depends on you whether you want to pursue IAS or IFS, and based on what you like, you can choose either.
In this article, you would have gotten to know many details about the IAS and IFS exams, the salaries and allowances of IAS and IFS officers, and more. If you have made your decision about whether to pursue IAS or IFS or even both, ensure that you have all the details mapped out in your mind. Also, it will be beneficial for you to appear for both exams if you haven’t made a decision yet. In case you need to know more information on the exams, visit the official website of UPSC and prepare well.