Indian Engineering Services abbreviated as IES are the civil services that meet the technical and managerial functions of the Government of India. Like most countries, the Government of India recruits its civil servants and officials on the basis of merit, the middle management positions in the bureaucracy are filled through competitive exams. Large number of candidates take these exams, competing for limited posts. IES officers are selected by the union government on the recommendations made by the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC). A combined four-stage competitive examination (comprising six tests), called the Engineering Services Examination (ESE) is conducted by the UPSC for recruitment to the Indian Engineering Services.
IES remain the most sought-after careers for the engineering graduates in India.In the year 2010, a total of 157,649 candidates applied for 434 vacancies (includes all branches and cadres). In 2011, a total number of 693 candidates were recommended for appointments in these four lists include 317 General, 209 Other Backward Classes, 113 Scheduled Castes and 54 Scheduled Tribes (including 44 candidates belonging to Physically Handicapped category). ESE 2012 was conducted for the recruitment of candidates to as many as 560 posts, which also includes 47 vacancies available only for the PH (physically handicapped) category. ESE 2013 was conducted for the recruitment of candidates to as many as 763 posts, which also includes 19 vacancies available only for the PH (physically handicapped) category.
ESE is therefore considered as the toughest exam in India and amongst the toughest in the world due to less number of posts having a selection ratio of 0.00275 (based on 2010 statistics) and its technical nature. Most toppers of this exam are graduates of institutes like the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science. Because of this difficult selection procedure, IES officers carry high respect and stature in society and are able to manage activities in diverse areas. Government spending comprises more than 15 percent of India’s GDP and given the extent of tasks and functions managed by the public sector, this extends to a fairly broad segment of the economy covering the railways, roads, defense, manufacturing, inspection, supply, construction, public works, power, telecommunications, etc.