Indian Economic Service officials hone their skills

The Indian Economic Service (IES) of the Ministry of Finance of India constitutes specialised officers, trained in economic analysis, policy formulation and implementation. Officers of the IES are by qualification post-graduates in various economic disciplines entering the service through highly competitive exams, thereby representing the brightest young economists in India. Twelve such economists arrived at the LKY School to conclude their year-long probationary training period at the Ministry by undertaking a comprehensive Executive Programme on Policy Development.

This two-week programme was customised to incorporate interactive classroom discussions, leadership tests, negotiation simulations, interactions with Singapore government officials, as well as site visits, including an outer island, Semakau Landfill. Courses offered ranged from public financial management, environmental macroeconomics, Europe’s debt crisis, energy security, to leadership and tools for decisionmaking.

Twelve economists from the Indian Economic Service (IES) concluded their year-long probationary training period at the Ministry by undertaking a comprehensive Executive Programme on Policy Development at the LKY School.

In addition to the classroom-learning experience, the probationers were exposed to Singapore’s policies through site visits to Semakau Landfill, Land Transport Authority, NEWater water treatment facilities, and Marina Barrage. Additionally, the current state and outlook of Singapore’s economy was gleaned from interactions with officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Monetary Authority of Singapore. These visits exposed the Indian officials to the Singapore model of governance in waste management, housing, transport and water management—areas that are important to India’s economic growth/development agenda.

The programme concluded with six presentations by the IES officers, comparing Singapore’s policies to those in India, bringing to light challenges and opportunities India faces in adopting the Singapore model. One such presentation was a comparative analysis between India and Singapore’s transport policy, analysing challenges India will face in implementing schemes such as the Area Licensing Scheme, Electronic Road Pricing Scheme etc. Others included comparative analyses of education policy, water policy, waste management techniques, as well as the differences between Singapore Airlines and Air India, each country’s national carrier.

The programme was a strong success. In the words of Prof. Mukul Asher, one of the course teachers, “The IES officials combined sound fundamentals in economics with the awareness of learning and approaching issues from varying perspectives. It was the most satisfying experience.” This customised executive programme for the IES truly exemplified LKY School’s vision of “Improving lives, Inspiring leaders, Transforming Asia” by engaging and in the process building strong links with the best and brightest of the future generation of public leaders of India.


Aditi Rao is an Executive at Executive Education. To read more about Executive Education programs by the LKY School, please visit our website.