Strategy for Indian Economic Service (IES) Examination

Strategy for Indian Economic Service (IES) Examination

ISS and IES are Central Government Services, which are involved, in economic planning and analysis through state boards, planning commission and other government owned bodies in the country. Out of several careers offered by the Government Sector, it is an attractive opening to post-graduates in Economics. Selected candidates are placed in the Planning Commission, Labour Bureau, Central Electricity Authority, Economic Advisers to many ministries, Forward Market Commission, Tariff Commission, Planning Board, Tariff Commission National sample survey and other allied offices where specialists in Economics are required. An illustrious yet highly specialized service where the appointees are giving critical inputs in the policy making of the financial and economic affairs, and, additionally, they can go on deputations to different agencies of United Nations. . 

Cadre Strength 

500 approx. with approximately minimum 60 vacancies are lying vacant. Every year vacancies available are 6-10 based on expenditure commission norms that maximum vacancies to be filled in any year should not exceed the 2% of actual cadre strength. Because of this the requirements are put together and nowadays vacancies for two years are jointly advertised by UPSC to manage the logistic part of conducting the exam in an efficient manner. 

Time Horizon of Planning

 At least Three (3) years so that any person can appear for this exam for minimum twice to give their best. Approximately 4000-4500 candidates are taking up this exam because of the eligibility of a Masters in Economics being prescribed. 

The Cadre Management 

It is done by the Ministry of Finance. A person starts as Assistant Director and can go upto Additional Secretary level in the Government of India . Many RBI governors and other board chairman also have come from this service. Many IES officers also give vitals inputs as economic administrators in Planning Commission, 


2003 Exam: For interview, the general criteria is to call 2.5 times the number of vacancies available. Like, for 2003 exam for which interview was being conducted in last week of September-October and result was declared on 13th October, 2004 in which Thirteen (13) people were being finally selected. The break-up was as follows: 
1. Reserved: 07
2.Others: 06 
In 2001/02: the vacancies were 09-10.

Written Examination 

The subjects of written examination, the marks allotted to each subject will be as under where allocation has been changed since the year 2000 with addition of a new paper i.e. General Economics-I with 200 marks and at the same time, the weight age was decreased for General Studies and General English from 150 marks each to 100 marks each . Also for interview, the weightage has been decreased from 250 to 200 marks. Now further changes are going to happen as already a committee under Dr. Vijay Kelkar has given a report on revamping the selection and training and cadre management of this service.

Sl. No. Subject Max. Marks
1 General English 100
2 General Studies 100
3 General Economics- I 200
4 General Economics- II 200
5 General Economics-III 200
6 Indian Economics 200
7 Interview 200

Strategy for English: 

It may be observed that General English is a full-fledged paper and unlike in the Civil Services Examination, where language paper is just qualifying in nature and the marks obtained are not counted in the final merit, the marks obtained in General English Paper in this examination form part of the total score of the candidate. Hence, knowledge of English Language plays an important role in this examination. The General English Paper includes an essay, precis and other descriptive questions to judge the candidates' comprehension of English Language. Candidates with good base of English Language can hope to do well. Essay, particularly, is very important, as it is an instrument for judging not only the command over the language but also the depth of knowledge and expression of the candidate on a given topical essay. The good score is 55-65 depending on the proficiency level of a candidate. 

Strategy for General Studies: 

Area wise time allocation based on last two years papers should be done like, polity, economy, general knowledge related to place, person, historical paces and any other general events of importance should be covered. Those who are preparing for civil services exam will find the GS paper easier to handle. The questions have word limit and it contains 75 words, 50 words and one sentence along with many 20 words questions. This is a potentially good paper where a candidate can expect upto75 marks out of possible 100. Paper-I and II are of vital importance as these papers assist a well-prepared candidate to get a higher percentage of marks. Paper on General Studies includes questions on Constitution of India, History, physical, regional and economic Geography, General Science, national and international affairs, etc. Preliminary and basic study of Indian Political System, History and Geography is required. A good book on General knowledge, supplemented by a good competitive magazine is a must for thorough preparations. In addition regular reading of a good and standard national newspaper also helps in updating the knowledge of current national and international affairs. The question paper may also have a question or two on planning and challenges (problems), which the candidates otherwise also prepare for General Economics-III and Indian Economics. 

Strategy for Economics 

The remaining four papers are on Economics and carry 200 marks each. First is the paper on theory consisting of Micro and Macro- Theories. The syllabi of Micro and Micro Economics conform to the syllabi of post-graduate classes in Delhi University.

To prepare for paper I of Economics, standard books prescribed at post-graduate level for theory are considered to be most suitable. Efforts of the candidates should be to acquire the conceptual clarity so that even the complicated questions are tackled properly. The questions, in fact, are directed at judging the depth of knowledge of the candidates in theory. A candidate with a clear understanding of the subject can expect to do well in this paper. Like define law of demand and are straight in asking the answers. 

Second paper of Economics consists of other allied theories of economics International Economics and Welfare Economics. The syllabus for this paper also consists of important aspects of the above disciplines of theory, which are taught at the post-graduate level in any university. The paper also includes some input on basics of statistics. The candidates are also advised not to leave any part of the syllabus untouched and should prepare all the aspects thoroughly.

Third paper deals with Environmental economics including Monetary and Fiscal Theory, Development, challenges of Planning, While the material for first two papers of economics is available in plenty and in a structured form, the preparations required for the third paper on Economy require special efforts as mentioned in the book list. The problem that a candidate faces in preparing for this paper is that even the latest edition of book on Economics does not contain the latest developments. With presentation and analysis of latest developments a only one can expect to score good marks. The standard textbooks as mentioned should be diligently followed according to the topics. 

The fourth paper is Indian Economics on Indian Economy, therefore, need supplementing with good and reliable sources of data on Problems. One good source of latest data on Economy is the latest Economic Survey, which is released every year by the Publications Division, Government of India. Another rich and reliable source is the latest Five Year Plan document which also gives an insight into the sector-wise five-year targets and performance of the previous plan. Yojana, a fortnightly magazine published by the Publications Division, is also useful. Magazines help in giving the latest data as well as analysis of the problems faced by Economy as well as its achievements. Understanding and knowledge of Economy is more important as even the questions on second paper on Economics are also asked with special reference to the Economy. A standard economy oriented newspaper also goes a long way in preparing for this paper. Every aspirant is presumed to be well versed with four papers on Economics. However, General Studies and General English should not be neglected. Thorough study, therefore, is a must to score over other candidates. Expect a call for interview if your score is 55% ie.e 550 out of 1000 marks. 

Books List:
[ The Following  books list  is prepared by successful candidate for the Aspirants. ]

Paper I: 

General Studies: Magazines and general knowledge book of upkar is sufficient.

General Economics-I: 

1. Micro: Koutsoyyiannis, Ahuja or any other good book.
2. Macro: Shapiro ,, Dornbusch and Fischer, Ahuja
3. For Mathematical Methods: class 11th and 12th NCERT Maths book is sufficient.
4. National Income Accounting: Class 12th book of CBSE- any one.

General Economics -II 
1. Monetary: SB Gupta (For both) M L Jhingan and RBI Report.
2. International Economics: Soderston ; , Mannur or any other book.
3. Growth and Development: M L Jhingan, Meir and Baldwin., read any one or two latest book of Amratya Sen.
4. Statistics: Class 11th and 12th NCERT books along with some chapters of any graduation level statistics book or Gujarati-Econometrics book. 

General Economics -III
1. Public Finance: Bhatia and one foreign author book. 
2. Indian Economy: Planning chapter of Uma Kapila.
3. Environmental Economics: Any good books-only topic wise coverage.

Indian Economics 
1. Indian Economy by Dutt and Sundaram.-topics wise coverage of syllabus. 
2. Indian Economy: Mishra & Puri 
3. Indian Economy: A N Agrawala 
4. Indian Economy: Uma Kapila 
5. Indian Economy: Economic Survey -Last two years
6. Indian Economy: Budget-3 years, Very important 
7. Indian Economy: latest two Monetary & Credit Policy (mid term and annual). Latest data about CRR, SLR and Repos rate should be known., 
8. Different reports like Human Development Report, World Development Reports (available on net) and many other good reports including report and papers by United Nations Environment Programme will help in GE-III paper, as questions are highly unconventional in paper III of Economics.
9. Any good economy newspaper


The interview is important for drawing-up the final merit list. Although the Candidates called for the interview have to be thoroughly prepared. The performance of the candidates and their academic record is before the interview board and hence, the interview is aimed at judging the depth of the knowledge of the candidates. The board not only judges the knowledge of the candidate in Economics, it also tries to ascertain the suitability of the candidate for the IES. The interest of the candidates in the current national and international events in economics perspective is also an important criterion to judge the versatility of the candidates. The candidates must also prepare adequately in the current economic and business events, both national and international. Regular reading of a standard competitive magazine and good newspaper would help the candidates to prepare well for the interview. Mock-interviews may help if conducted by the economists. Candidates having right aptitude and interest in a career in economic policy-making may, can start preparations early. Prepare a list of probable interview questions in a notebook and prepare crisp answers and practice them again and again. For entire duration between mains result and interview every moment should be devoted to preparing, which involves studies as well as mental preparations.

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