Saturday, 15 March 2014

Probationers of Indian Civil Accounts Service call on the President

A group of 16 probationers of Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (March 14, 2014). 

Addressing the probationers, the President said that the Indian Civil Accounts Service was carved out of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service in 1976 as part of reforms in India’s Public Financial Management System. The idea was to separate statutory audit and accounts at the federal level. The President stated that he was happy to note that the system has worked well. The Civil Accounts Organization has, over the years, progressed in the right direction and has developed systems not only to keep pace with developments in Information and Communication Technology but also to fulfill the aspirations of the common people. 

The President said that Indian Civil Accounts Service has very rightly chosen its motto ‘Koshpoorvah Samarambhah’ from Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’. A strong and well-managed treasury function is the base for all kind of planning in governance and development; and also the outcome of good governance. Today there is a rising expectation among the public for greater efficiency in delivery systems. To address these concerns it is imperative for government departments to modernize their systems and make them citizen-centric. He said that he was happy that the reforms introduced by the organization were in the correct direction. 

The President stated that use of modern ICT tools is the key for all government agencies to achieve higher efficiency and make optimum use of available human resources. The Civil Accounts Organization was one of the first organizations in India to have started using computers in government business initially. He said that he had an opportunity to inaugurate the ‘Government e-Payment Gateway’ (GEPG), developed by the Civil Accounts Organization on October 31, 2011 in his capacity as the Finance Minister. The idea behind developing an e-payment system was to eliminate beneficiary-dependence on government offices and officials; and instead directly credit funds into their accounts. With e-payment initiative the Payment Life Cycle has shrunk, thereby improving systemic efficiency. 
The President said that availability of timely and relevant financial and accounting data is critical requirement of the government for better planning and management of our finances and budget. The Civil Accounts Organization plays an important role in this through the timely presentation of the Union Finance and Appropriation Accounts in Parliament. The Civil Accounts Organization is also responsible for the Internal Audit function in Civil Ministries and Departments. As internal auditors Civil Account Officers help Ministries and Departments accomplish their objectives by bringing a systematic and disciplined approach to risk management, risk mitigation, internal control and governance processes. 

The President said that the Civil Accounts Organization is also responsible for management, disbursement and accounting of pension payments to Government employees of all Civil Ministries, All India Service Officers and Freedom Fighters through the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO). This is an onerous responsibility that the Civil Accounts service is entrusted with. 

The President said that human resources are the most critical component of all change management efforts, specially so when it comes to IT based efforts. He said that he was very happy to note that the CGA’s organization truly values its human resources and is genuinely working towards engaging its employees in all such reforms through its training institute i.e. ‘Institute of Government Accounts and Finance’ (INGAF). INGAF, apart from taking care of the training needs of Civil Accounts Organization, also organizes training programmes in public financial management for State Governments, Banks, Public Sector Enterprises, Autonomous bodies and other stakeholders of Government. INGAF, as the Secretariat of the ‘Association of Government Accounts Organizations of Asia’ (AGAOA), also plays an important role in regional cooperation as well. 

The ICAS probationers of 2012 batch are presently undergoing training at Institute of Government Accounts and Finance, New Delhi and the ICAS probationers of 2013 batch at National Institute of Financial Management, Faridabad. 

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