(IAS Planner) : Job Profile of Indian Civil Accounts Service


(IAS Planner) : Job Profile of Indian Civil Accounts Service


Indian Civil Accounts Organisation performs a key role in delivery of financial management services for the Government of India. The organisation provides payment services, supports the tax collection system, performs government-wide accounting, financial reporting functions and carries out internal audit in civil ministries of the Union Government. Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in Ministry of Finance heads the organisation and is responsible for administering this system.

The organisation has been at the forefront in leveraging information technology for delivery of these services in consonance with the constantly changing technological environment and increasing ICT penetration in the country. The goal is to provide reliable information that brings transparency in the use and reporting of public funds through an integrated government-wide financial information system. Accordingly the focus has been on providing client oriented, integrated applications that aim at achieving operational efficiency across streams of public financial management system. 

Duties and Responsibilities :

Principles, forms and standards of accounting

On behalf of the President of India, CGA lays down the principles of government accounting, prescribes the form in which accounts are to be maintained and formulates the procedure for recording and consolidating the accounts of Union and State Governments with the objective of encouraging standardization and transparency in government accounts. 

Receipts and Payments :

Indian Civil Accounts Organisation administers the receipts and payment functions for more than 90% Government of India’s budget through a nation-wide network of 28,000 branches of twenty-nine scheduled commercial banks who act as agents of Reserve Bank of India, which is the banker to the Union Government.

The organisation performs accounting and reporting functions for the entire tax and non-tax receipts of the Union Government. It has accordingly developed and implemented policies to ensure timeliness and accuracy in  remittance and reporting of government receipts, from its initial deposit to its final credit in the government account. As part of the country’s on-line tax information network, the organisation promotes electronic reporting and collection of direct and indirect taxes. The system relies on single source data entry for tax payment at the collecting bank branch, a national database of tax payers and electronic transfer of funds to government account. The
accounting units of the organisation, through their customized IT applications, use this information for accounting, reporting and reconciliation purposes.

In addition, the organisation is responsible for payment functions in civil ministries. The exchequer control is exercised through the field level Pay and Account Offices (PAO) of different ministries who ensure compliance to budgetary appropriations made by the parliament. Payment, accounting and reporting functions in civil ministries have been e-enabled by the organization through the Computerised Accounting System (COMPACT). This application covers the entire business process of PAOs including receipts, provident fund and pension processing. It provides financial integrity to the process and has the necessary quality and security certification. COMPACT has been successfully implemented in over 400 Pay and Accounts Offices (PAOs) of Civil and some nonCivil Ministries of the Government of India. In addition, it is also being used by some sub-national governments. 

Pension:

The organisation is responsible for disbursement and accounting of pension payments to Government employees of all Civil Ministries as well as former Presidents/Vice-Presidents, retired Supreme Court/High Court Judges, Members of Parliament, All India Service Officers and Freedom Fighters.

The Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO) was established with the objective of enhancing service delivery for pensioners through simplification and standardization of the pension disbursement process. It is the central budgeting and accounting unit for civil pensions providing a single point interface between the government, banks and pensioners. The pension payments as processed and authorized by the pay and accounting units across
Ministries are channelized through this central office for onward transmission to the concerned bank branch for disbursement to pensioners. CPAO currently serves 900,000 pensioners across the country through a payment network of 40,000 bank branches. The CPAO strives to streamline pension disbursement, ensure timely credit of pension payment, arrears of pension/dearness relief and address the grievances of these pensioners.

CPAO has been able to leverage information technology and recent developments in the banking environment to institute a pension payment system that is accurate, efficient and transparent. The monitoring, tracking and processing of pension cases have been e-enabled and the CPAO website http://cpao.nic.in/ hosts these G2C and G2G interfaces. An e-Revision initiative has recently been rolled out in civil ministries for the expeditious periodic
revision of pension cases and is expected to provide relief to 500,000 pensioners.CPAO remains committed to a seamless integration of the business process flow for pension payment to maximize pensioner convenience and satisfaction.

Accounting and Financial Reporting :

CGA as head of the organisation is responsible for operating and overseeing the government’s central accounting and reporting system. The office of CGA has instituted a credible financial reporting system that is critical for enhancing transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and is consistent with the statutory obligations on financial reporting and proactive disclosure. 

CGA consolidates the monthly and annual accounts of the Union Government on the basis of accounts submitted by Ministries and Departments. Annual accounts are consolidated on a provisional basis within two months of the close of the financial year for managerial purposes. The annual audited accounts comprising of the Appropriation Accounts and Finance Accounts are prepared and published by CGA and are submitted to the Parliament within nine months of the close of the financial year. In addition a meaningful analysis of the annual accounts is prepared in the form of a document “Accounts at a Glance” for wider dissemination.  

CGA also prepares a monthly review of Union Government’s receipts and expenditure analyzing key fiscal performance indicators for submission to the Finance Minister. These reviews have been widely appreciated for their scope and content. Financial reports prepared by CGA are available in the public domain through CGA’s website www.cga.gov.in as per the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standards and are used by the private and public sector to monitor the government’s financial status. Similar reports are prepared for individual ministries by the Pr.CCAs / CCAs /CAs and placed on the website of respective ministries. In addition they also prepare customized financial reports for ministries as per their strategic requirements on internal debt, loans and grants to sub-national governments.  

The organisation has developed a web-based integrated system for accounting and reporting purposes that has received national and international recognition. E-Lekha is the Core Financial Information System for Government of India that has been operational since 2005. It is built around the COMPACT application running at PAOs of the civil ministries and other stand alone systems of Ministries of Defense, Posts, Railways and Telecommunications and other offline interfaces. The system provides for the integration of daily, monthly and annual accounting processes for real time value added reporting and financial monitoring for the Union Government.  

Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System :

The Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS) is one of the recent initiatives of this organisation and CGA is responsible for its design and implementation. CPSMS has been envisaged as a comprehensive expenditure tracking system for central plans schemes that, apart from enhancing transparency and accountability, will have far reaching implications for public financial management in the country. The Scheme aims at establishing an integrated financial information system for over 1000 plan schemes being administered by different ministries of the central government. It involves bringing together thousands of sub-national, local implementing agencies,  individual beneficiaries and bank branches that have till now, not been amenable to a central monitoring system.

The organisation has been able to leverage its core capability and experience in developing a web-enabled application that enables single point registration of implementing agencies, monitoring of fund flow from the central government to the implementing agencies, reconciliation with accounting data and generation of customized reports for the program managers on sources and use of funds. The process of implementation has been completed at
the Union government level and the application is able to report on disbursements to regional and local governments under individual plan schemes on a real time basis. These reports are now available on the CPSMS website http://cpsms.nic.in and have been widely appreciated by the program managers. 

The scope of CPSMS is being extended, technical feasibility studies have been carried out to understand the fund flow up to the grass root level and expenditure reporting has been introduced for selected schemes. CPSMS and Core Banking System interface has also been developed for interchange of data and is progressively being deployed for agency banks to enable tracking of plan funds on a real time basis. 

Internal Audit :

The organisation is responsible for monitoring of financial performance and effectiveness of various programs, schemes and activities of the civil ministries through its Internal Audit Units in the respective ministries. The Centre of Excellence for Internal Audit in the office of CGA has evolved as a resource centre and advises the internal audit wings of line Ministries on different aspects of risk and performance based audit. Accordingly it has developed a risk based control framework as a guide for internal audit in ministries. Its capacity building program focuses on dissemination of audit tools and techniques within the organisation.

The CGA office also has a Quality Assurance Wing that is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and reviewing service delivery standards for accounting units of the ministries. The wing is also responsible for the  mplementation of ‘Sevottam’, Government of India’s flagship quality management framework for delivery of citizen-centric services, within the organisation.

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