Indian Economic Service

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Indian Economic Service
Service Overview
Abbreviation I.E.S.
Formed 1961
Country  India
Civil Service academy Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
Controlling authority Ministry of Finance
Legal personality Governmental: Government service
General nature Policy Formulation
Policy Implementation
Economic Analysis
Advisors to Ministers
Preceding service Null
Cadre Size 511 (2011)[1]
Service Chief
Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India
Current: Arvind Subramanian
Head of the Civil Services
Cabinet Secretary
Current: Ajit Seth

The Indian Economic Service (IES) is the administrative civil service under Grade A[2] of the Central Civil Services of the executive branch of the Government of India.

The IES 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 programmes. 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 increased manifold. The Cadre strength of IES is periodically reviewed by the IES Board chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and the final Cadre strength is approved by the Cabinet. A review of the IES Cadre was undertaken in 1991. Subsequently, Cadre reviews were undertaken in 2000 and 2005. The present Cadre strength of IES at various grades was approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 4.8.2005. The sanctioned strength of the IES Cadre at present is 501, consisting of 461 duty posts and 40 leave reserves. The duty posts are spread over 35 Ministries/Departments of the Government of India.

The civil list details the authorised numbers of posts, and their utilization.[3]

Work profile[edit]

The service is, therefore, an inter-Ministerial and inter-Departmental service. The posts are primarily located in Ministries/ Departments dealing with economic and social sectors. Even within organizations that account for a large proportion of its Cadre posts, like the Planning Commission, IES officers posted therein serve in a diverse range of subject areas, such as finance, social sector, rural development, education, health, agriculture, industry, trade, transport, and information technology. IES officers are, thus, exposed to development issues in diverse sectors and contribute to policy-making in the Central Government over the entire span of their service career. With the economic reforms having transformed the nature and domain of economic policy-making in the country, the IES, as a service, provides a pool of in-house economic expertise that is well placed to meet the growing demand for analytical economic inputs for policy-making in the government.

Direct recruits joining the service, after being offered appointment, 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/ attachment at various national level Institutes of repute across the country. Capacity building of serving officers is carried out on an ongoing basis by conducting various in-service training programmes suited to the officers’ needs, from the point of view of building up professional capacity at work as well as developing soft skills. The flagship in-service training programme is the mid-career training of six-week duration comprising domestic learning and foreign learning components, conducted at a reputed management Institute in the country. Officers of the service are required to participate in three such mid-career training courses at different phases in their career.

Role of IES officers[edit]

Role of the service can be broadly categorized in terms of economic advice, economic administration, implementation of development policy and programmes, besides dealing with other areas such as economic reforms, regulation, price fixation, and monitoring and evaluation. In the rapidly globalizing environment, decision-making is increasingly guided by economic rationality. In view of the on-going reforms pursued by the Government, the role of IES officers has assumed much significance. Apart from the purely economic sectors, IES officers are making crucial contribution towards policy making in social sectors.

IES officers are exposed to almost all the sectors of government functioning. These officers also provide link and continuity in policy-making, which is essential even for policy change. It is because of these factors that IES officers have been increasingly playing a versatile role, of an in-house economist with domain knowledge and experience. While the role of IES officers described above is broad in nature, the role and responsibilities of the officers, particularly Economic Advisers, was sought to be clearly enunciated by the Cadre Controlling Authority through its communication dated 31.8.2005. As per its provisions, Economic Advisers are required to be closely associated with and involved in the economic reforms in the Ministry/ Department to which they are posted. They would advise the concerned Ministries/ Departments, on a continuous basis, on all policy matters having a bearing on internal and external economic management, and facilitate reforms in the fields/ sectors concerned.

The Economic Advisers would provide the Ministries/ Departments with inputs on all policy-related matters, and their economic implications. The officers could be required to monitor and evaluate the policy parameters from the economic angle laid down in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2003, and assist the Ministry of Finance in preparing annual or any other periodical statement required for complying with the provisions of the said Act. The Ministries/ Departments could also consult the concerned Economic Adviser before finalization of their Annual Plan Budgets. To ensure that policy pursued by individual Ministries/ Departments is consistent with the overall direction of economic policy contained in the Union budget, Five-Year Plans, etc., the Economic Advisers posted to different Ministries/ Departments would interact with the Chief Economic Adviser in the Department of Economic Affairs, on a continuous basis, and ensure that economic implications of policy changes are comprehensively analyzed, and facilitate individual Ministries/ Departments to spearhead reforms in the direction envisaged by the Government.

Career progression[edit]

Candidates recommended for IES start their career as Assistant Director. The existing hierarchy in the service is as follows:

  1. Higher Administrative Grade +(Principal/Chief Adviser, equivalent to the level of Secretary in the Government of India)
  2. Higher Administrative Grade (Senior Economic Adviser/Senior Adviser, equivalent to the level of Addl. Secretary in the Government of India)
  3. Senior Administrative Grade (Economic Adviser/Adviser, equivalent to the level of Joint Secretary in the Government of India)
  4. Non-Functional Selection Grade (Director/Additional Economic Adviser, equivalent to the level of Director in the Government of India)
  5. Junior Administrative Grade (Joint Director/Deputy Economic Adviser/Deputy Adviser, equivalent to the level of Deputy Secretary in the Government of India)
  6. Senior Time Scale (Deputy Director/Assistant Adviser/Assistant Commissioner/Senior Research Officer, equivalent to the level of Under Secretary in the Government of India)
  7. Junior Time Scale (Assistant Director)


  1. ^ "2011 Civil List of IES officers" (PDF). Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ Complete Civil Service Schedule of the Civil Services Group A of India." Civil Service Group A - Government of India 1 January 2011.
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]