Career in Indian Economic Services

Gauri Chhabra
Does the topic of ever increasing prices, the bank interest rates, the announcement of the annual budget interest you? Are you curious about economic advice, regulation of money and generation of employment opportunities? Do you wish to be a part of the excitement of contributing to the shaping of the economy? If the answer to all these questions is yes, Indian Economic Services is the right option for you.
The Indian Economic Service (IES) is the administrative civil service under Grade Aof the Central Civil Services of the executive branch of the Government of India.It was constituted in 1961 with the objective of institutionalizing a core professional capacity within the Government to undertake economic analysis and render advice for designing and formulating development policies, strengthening delivery systems, and monitoring and evaluating the public programs. With the initiation of large-scale economic reforms in 1991 and the proliferation of the regulatory role of the Government, such analysis and advice within the domain of the service has escalated exponentially.
By opting for Indian Economic Services, your role would include providing economic advice, economic administration, and implementation of development programs, besides dealing with other areas such as economic reforms, regulation, price fixation, monitoring and evaluation of various economic policies and reforms.
Getting in
At the entry grade of IES i.e. Junior Time Scale (Grade-IV), 60 per cent of the posts are filled through direct recruitment and the remaining 40 per cent by promotion of feeder post holders. Direct recruitment is on the basis of an All-India open competitive examination called the IES Examination, conducted by the Union Public Service Commissionnormally in the month of November. The notification for conduct of the Examination will, as far as possible, announce the number of vacancies including reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Physically Disabled categories and Other Backward Classes to be filled, as indicated by the Cadre Controlling Authority.The 40% departmental promotion quota at the entry-level is filled by promotion of Economic officers or officers holding equivalent posts recognized for this purpose as feeder grade by the Cadre Controlling Authority.
Educational qualifications and age limit
You must be a Post-graduate in Economics or Applied Economics or Business Economics or Econometrics from a recognized University. If you have appeared at a qualifying examination but are waiting for your result, you can also apply for admission to the examination.
Besides, you must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on the first day of January of the year in which the examination is held, subject to relaxation in the upper age limit for such categories as notified by the Government from time to time.
Examination and appointment
The IES examination is structured into: (i) Written Examination [consisting of papers viz. General English (100 marks), General Knowledge (100), Economics Paper-I (200), Economics Paper-II (200), Economics Paper-III (200) and Indian Economy (200)]; followed by (ii) Viva-voce (200). Economics Papers-I, II and III include mainstream Economics topics such as Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Public Finance, International Economics, Monetary Economics, Growth and Development, Econometrics and Environmental Economics.
In case you obtain the minimum qualifying marks in the written examination, as fixed by the UPSC at their discretion, you would be called by UPSC for viva-voce. You would also be required to undergo Medical Examination Part-I (i.e. Medical Examination minus X-Ray examination of Chest) by the Central Standing Medical Board.Offer of appointment would be made in case you are declared fit consequent to the Medical examinations, and after receipt of your satisfactory character verification reports.
After being offered appointment, you will have to undergo a comprehensive probationary training comprising the Foundation course conducted for the All India Services and the Central Civil Services, training on Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, and training at various national level Institutes of repute across the country. Besides, an ongoing capacity building program in case of serving officers is carried out by conducting various in-service training programs building up professional capacity at work as well as developing soft skills. The flagship in-service training program is the mid-career training of six-week duration comprising domestic learning and foreign learning component. Officers of the service are required to participate in three such mid-career training courses at different phases in their career.
Hierarchy and Career Pathways
The Indian Economics Service (IES) offers many career offshoots. You would be placed in the planning commission, planning board, ministry of economic affairs, National sample survey and other allied offices.
You would start your career as Assistant Director. The existing hierarchy in the service is as follows:
1) Higher Administrative Grade (*Principal/Chief Advisor)
2)Higher Administrative Grade (*Senior Economic Advisor / Senior Advisor,
3)Senior Administrative Grade (*Economic Advisor)
4)Non-Functional Selection
5)Junior Administrative Grade (*Joint Director/ Deputy Economic Adviser/Deputy Adviser, Equivalent to the posts of Deputy Secretary to the Government India)
6)Senior Time Scale (*Deputy Director/ Assistant Adviser/ Assistant Commissioner/Senior Research Officer, Equivalent to Under Secretary to the Govt. of India)
7)Junior Time Scale(*Assistant Director)
Roles and Responsibilities
The role of IES officers has gone full circle due to the on-going reforms pursued by the Government. Your entry in the IES would mean you would be working on a broad spectrum like finance, rural development, education, health, agriculture, industry, trade, transport, IT and the like. Even if you are in the nucleus of cadre posts as in the Planning Commission, you would be taking care of snags in development across various sectors and industries and play a pivotal role in both planning and formulating policies pertaining to micro and macro level economic issues. With the economic reforms ushering a whiff of fresh air into the economy since 1991 onwards, IES proves as a hub towards providing you an economic expertise that is well placed to meet the growing demand for analytical economic inputs for policy-making in the Government.
You would also be required to ensure that policy pursued by individual Departments is consistent with the overall direction of economic policy contained in the Union budget, Five-Year Plans, etc., the Economic Advisors posted to different Ministries/ Departments would interact with the Chief Economic Advisor in the Department of Economic Affairs, on a continuous basis, and ensure that economic implications of policy changes are comprehensively analyzed, and facilitate individual Departments to spearhead reforms in the direction envisaged by the Government.
IES Services
The service is an inter-Ministerial and inter-Departmental service. You would be required to work in departments dealing with economic and social sectors. In the rapidly globalizing environment, decision-making is increasingly guided by economic rationality.
Besides cadre posts, you would go on deputation to serve in various domestic and international organizations such as UN bodies, foreign Governments, state Governments and regulatory bodies. Officers from the service are also appointed on deputation to posts in the Central Departments under the Central Staffing Scheme.
Therefore, it is time to channelize your passion for holding the purse strings to being a part of planning and managing the upswings and downswings of the economy through Indian Economic Services…