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IFS Varun Jain: Conquering UPSC and Becoming Nature’s Savior

2017 batch IFS officer, Varun Jain, cracked UPSC IFS in his third attempt with Rank 42 He also cracked the UPSC IES-15 exam with a rank of 46 He is currently posted in Chhattisgarh as Deputy Director, Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve
Indian Masterminds Stories

In the competitive world of UPSC exams, where millions embark on the journey but only a handful taste success, Varun Jain’s story stands out as a beacon of perseverance, dedication, and unwavering spirit. His journey to becoming an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer is not just inspirational but also a testament to the fact that with the right strategy and relentless effort, cracking one of the toughest exams in India is possible.

He cracked UPSC IFS-2016 on his third attempt, securing rank 42. He made a total of 10 attempts at the Civil Services exam in four years. Despite facing setbacks in the highly competitive UPSC CSE, Mr. Jain’s story is not one of defeat but of remarkable triumph and inspiration. His journey underscores an essential message for all UPSC aspirants: success is not just about passing an exam but about how you rise after falling.

After coming into service, he is doing remarkable work, fighting against encroachers and freeing hundreds of hectares of forest land.

Speaking exclusively with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Jain shared his journey and also gave some valuable tips to aspirants.

THE ODYSSEY OF ATTEMPTS

After completing his engineering degree in 2011, Mr. Jain worked at Bharat Petroleum in Mumbai for almost two years. In 2013, he left the job and started preparing for UPSC. He made his first attempt at UPSC CSE-2012 without any preparation. 

Over the years, he made four attempts in the UPSC CSE, three attempts in the IES, and three attempts in the IFS exams. He cracked the Indian Engineering Services (IES) – 2015 exam with a rank of 46. 

In the IFS exam, he failed in IFS-13 and 14 but successfully cracked the exam in IFS-16, securing rank 42.

In the UPSC CSE, he failed in his first three attempts in CSE-12, 13, and 14. He reached the interview round in CSE-15 but did not make it to the final list.

He said, “This journey is very unpredictable. It was in 2016, amidst the rollercoaster of highs and lows, that my persistence paid off.”

Varun Jain, IFS, Chhattisgarh Cadre

BACKGROUND 

He originally hails from Jaipur, Rajasthan. His parents are working in the private sector. He did his basic schooling in Jaipur until the 12th grade. 

After that, he completed his B. Tech. in Civil Engineering from IIT Roorkee. 

PREPARATION: FOCUS ON PRELIMS 

One of the key pieces of advice that Mr. Jain offers to UPSC aspirants is to focus on the prelims, especially for IFS. This stage of the examination is often underestimated but is crucial in setting the foundation for success in the subsequent stages. 

Mr. Jain emphasizes that a solid preparation for prelims can not only secure a spot in the mains but also build the confidence required to tackle the entire examination process. 

He prepared for prelims and mains together and focused on answer writing from the start. 

He shared, “Aspirants should practice answer writing as much as they can, within the time limit. Revise the test series; never read new things at the last moment; instead, revise what you have already studied.”

His optional For UPSC CSE was Civil Engineering, while in IFS, his optional was forestry. 

His advice to concentrate on the prelims highlights the need for a focused approach in preparation. It’s about quality rather than quantity, understanding the exam pattern, and strategizing accordingly. 

His multiple attempts across different examinations underscore the importance of not giving up. Each attempt, regardless of its outcome, is a step closer to understanding the exam better and refining one’s preparation strategy. 

INTERVIEW SUGGESTIONS 

As for the interview round, he feels that it is not an easy part. Board members are free to ask any question. And, you should never lie there.

He said, “If you don’t know the answer to any question and answer no to all of them, you’ll still score mediocre marks. However, attempting to deceive them will not benefit you.”

He also recommended that optional subjects should be adequately covered; the interviewer will ask questions based on those.

Some of the questions that he was asked in his interview round were – ‘How is an airport designed’? ‘Elaborate on Einstein’s theory e=mc2.’ ‘As an IAS officer, will you build concrete roads or asphalt roads? And why? Which is more durable?’ 

INITIATIVES AS AN IFS OFFICER

Varun Jain missed UPSC CSE selection in 2015 by seven marks. Later, he joined civil service as an IFS officer in 2017.

In February 2022, he was appointed as the Deputy Director in Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve, where he has done some remarkable works so far. Besides restoring vast stretches of forest terrain, he used modern methods and technology to counter the narratives of encroachers.

Within two years, he has managed to free more than 650 hectares of forest land from encroachers. Under his leadership, more than 200 encroacher families have been evicted till now under five major eviction programmes, earning him accolades from nature lovers and environmentalists alike.


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