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Economic activity forms the foundation of national and international development. Economics is concerned with the study of productive resources - their organization, utilization, distribution, - both nationally and internationally. This includes the study of political, industrial and social relationships and of economic theories, processes and institutions.



Economists work in a variety of settings. For instance, they may be involved in market research, in equity research, in the financial services sector, in rural development, in demographic studies and in the formulation of economic analysis and policies. Government organizations as well as the public and private sectors utilize their services in various capacities.

An economics graduate degree enables persons to join the Central Government or state government civil services where they function in a general administrative capacity. They may also join commercial banks in the official cadre.

As specialists, economics graduates may opt for the Indian Economic Service, which is a Class, I government (Central) service. The IES officers join through a specialized scheme of examination and are liable to be posted anywhere in the country, mainly in the bigger towns and cities. They are attached to state planning boards, departments of institutional finance, industries/agriculture departments, the Planning Commission, the National Sample Survey and other bodies involved in economic analysis and policy-making.

Insurance companies and commercial banks employ economists -in the executive cadre of specialized departments.

Apex financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India offer openings to postgraduate degree

holders in economics in their Department of Economic Analysis and Policy (DEAP), which they join as research officers at the middle management level. DEAP concerns itself with the analysis of monetary, banking and price trends in the country, study of financial markets and the emerging aspects of domestic and foreign banking, preparation of the RBI's annual report and other related reports, compilation of various statistics and analysis of the country's balance of payments and all other economic activity. The research officers in DEAP, therefore, have their fingers on the pulse of the economic activity in the country.

The financial services sector analyses the trend of economic and corporate activity through its economists who conduct equity analysis and research.

Population studies and town planning are some other areas where economists can utilize their training and education. The work is mainly academic and research-oriented for the economist wherever he/she is placed.

Personality Traits:

An academic bent of mind, some degree of numerical ability, ability to communicate through data and words, interest in current social and political activities and affairs; and an interest in problem solving.


Economics is taught as a part of graduate studies and may be taken up as an Honors subject in which one specializes. In the usual three - year Honors curriculum, students are exposed to economic theory, monetary theory, public finance, taxation, business organization, international trade, financial systems and banking, economics of growth, welfare and planning, economic thought and economic history - all aspects of economic activity, processes, systems, etc., with special emphasis on the Indian economy.

Most of the recognized universities in the country offer an honors program in economics at the graduate level.

In the postgraduate program in economics, which is usually a two-year program, the syllabus deals with the abovementioned topics and areas in greater depth and more analytically. Students get an opportunity to specialize in a specific branch such as rural economics, agricultural economics, welfare economics, and public financial, monetary economics and so on. Although postgraduate courses in the subject are offered at most universities, not all of them offer facilities for specialization in all spheres. It is best, therefore, to ascertain the course curriculum/ structure before applying. Graduate level courses are open to students who have completed plus two or equivalent level of education on the basis of marks secured, generally. The best universities prefer students who have studied mathematics as a subject at the plus two stages as mathematical models of economics are better understood with this background. The postgraduate programs are usually open to students who have completed their graduation with Honors in economics. Admission to the top universities is through an admission test, which evaluates the candidates' understanding and knowledge of the subject.

Placement/ Services/ Prospects:

Postgraduate degree holders in economics find placement from the campus of central universities in equity research and other financial services in the corporate sector. Market research organizations also offer middle management jobs to start with.

Economics postgraduates may also opt for research fellowships and after completing their thesis apply for teaching assignments in universities and management institutions.

Indian Economic Service: This service is open to graduates in economics if they are between 21 and 28 years of age as on 1 January of the year of applying. The examination for recruitment to the service is conducted by the UPSC, usually every year in the month of September {the announcement being made four to six months prior to the date of the examination). The examination is held in two parts: Part I is the written examination while Part II is the viva voce. The questions of the written examination are usually set only in English and the answers also have to be written only in English.

The written examination normally is of the conventional essay type. The subjects of the written examination are general English, general studies, general economic theory and Indian economics. The English paper includes an essay, prcis / letter writing, comprehension and other questions to assess English usage and proficiency.

The general studies paper evaluates knowledge of Indian history and polity, geography and general science of the standard as may be expected of a graduate of a recognized university.

The papers in economics, numbering three, require knowledge of the subject at the postgraduate level of a recognized central university .Examinees should be able to handle questions requiring the application of economic theory to practical problems and they should be able to illustrate theory with facts. The answers have to be presented systematically and the approach has to be analytical and backed up by facts/ data.

Research officers in DEAF (REI): Postgraduates in economics/ econometrics/ commerce from a recognized Indian or foreign university are eligible to apply for these posts if they are between 21 and 28 years. Those who have higher qualifications are permitted some age relaxation.

At the first stage applicants appear for a written examination, which has both objective type and descriptive type questions. The objective as well as descriptive test papers assesses the applicant's knowledge of the subject at the Master's level. The subject areas covered in the testing pattern are usually a part of the postgraduate economics syllabus of a central university.

Prospects for economists are good in all sectors of the economy. The economies of the world are growing in unison and most are growing rapidly and naturally with the increased economic activity, economists will find many more opportunities to utilize their educational qualifications remuneratively.

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