Tuesday, October 04, 2016

IFS or IFoS? Confusions between Indian Foreign Service and Indian Forest Service slip into govt order

TAKE a close look at this screenshot first. Here, the name in the appointment list of the Establishment Office of the DoPT, as this article is being written, is one of Amit Shukla — who according to this order, is a 1999 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer. But in reality, Amit Shukla is not an IFS, but an IFoS — Indian Forest Service officer, and it can be clearly guessed from the…
full order placed in the same DoPT website. The order issued on October 3 said, Shukla, a 1999 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IFS officer is appointed as private secretary to the minister of state in human resources development ministry Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey at the level of a director till September 5, 2018, the day he completes the maximum of seven years of stay outside the cadre in a single stay.
The confusion occurs because the government uses both the abbreviation — IFS and IFoS to describe Indian Forest Service. But Shukla can’t be an Indian Foreign Service officer though he is described as IFS in the order, as he belongs to a cadre — Manipur-Tripura. And officers belonging to Indian Foreign Service don’t have any state cadre as they are diplomats representing India outside the country. In fact, in full order of Shukla’s appointment, IFS is used, but as a copy of the order is issued to secretary of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, which is the cadre controlling authority of Indian Forest Service, Shukla can't be a foreign service officer.
So, why shouldn’t the government make a clear distinction in nomenclature between Indian Foreign Service and Indian Forest Service, possibly using IFS for Indian Foreign Service and IFoS for Indian Forest Service. Why should such confusions linger? At the end of the day, even the government officers get confused whether IFS is Indian Foreign Service or Indian Forest Service. 
Similar confusions do arise in case of IRS— Indian Revenue Service as well. Both customs and central excise, and also Income-Tax officers tend to use the simple abbreviation -- IRS. But BoI often makes a distinction — by using IRS-IT for Indian Revenue Service -Income -Tax and IRS (C and CE) for an officer belonging to Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise).


  1. Indian Railway Service people are also called IRS

  2. Why not rename it Indian Jungle service or Indian wildlife service to avoid this confusion.

  3. The All India Services comprises namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS). A unique feature of the All India Services is that the members of these services are recruited by UPSC and there liable to serve both in state as well as the centre. These three services are regulated by All India Services Rules relating to pay, conduct, leave, various allowances. Hence Indian Foreign Service should be renamed as Indian External Affair Service (IEAS).

  4. Indian Forest Service had been created so long before Indian Foreign service was born...and a person with commonsense can understand IFS in the state/ other ministries is forest service....

  5. The Imperial Forest Service (IFS) during the Britist Rule was renamed as India Forest Service (IFS) after Independence. Better choose some other name/abbreviation for the India Foreign Service.