ICAS short for Indian civil accounts services is a civil service under the department of expenditure in the union ministry of finance. The service was created in 1976 to provide auditing and accounting services to the Government of India, it is headed by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) and functions through the Indian Civil Accounts Organization.
ICAS officers are selected mainly from India, Nepal, Bhutan or they can be migrants from Pakistan, Malawi, Zaire and Vietnam. All ICAS officer aspirants must hold a bachelor's degree before applying, with a minimum age of twenty-one and a maximum of thirty-two years of age. All officer aspirants have to pass a UPSC CSE exam which consists of three stages namely a preliminary, main and personality exam.
Roles and responsibilities of an ICAS officer
ICAS officers are trained to show financial brilliance to strengthen governance/administration.ICAS performs important tasks of consolidating the reporting and accounting functions for the entire non-tax and tax receipts of the Government. The organization manages the country’s budget of the receipts and payment functions.
Their roles through diversity are summarized below:
Development of accounting systems, methods, and forms for the states and Union of India.
Optimisation and formulation of accounting and payment rules, manuals, and procedures in accordance with Government Accounting Rules, 1990.
Consolidating and monitoring the Government of India's (GoI) cash balances with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Preparing monthly and annual financial statements, including auditing revenue, borrowings, and deficits.
Coordination of management accounting systems in Civil Ministries, as well as the implementation and development of human resource augmentation programmes for associated organisations.
Salary And benefits of an ICAS officer
The Assistant Controller of Accounts Officer receives a base salary of Rs. 56100 per month from the Indian Statistical Institute. A few assistant controller generals and deputy controllers of accounts received salaries ranging from Rs. 67700 to Rs. 78800 per annum. The compensation of a deputy controller general of accounts/controller of accounts is typically between Rs. 118500 and Rs. 144200 per annum, depending on the position. Joint controller general of accounts/chief controller of accounts, principal chief controller of accounts and additional controller general of accounts officers rake from Rs.182200 to Rs.225000 whilst the CGA pockets as much as Rs.250000 per month.
Perks of an ICAS officer
Residence: ICAS officers are provided with large houses to stay in for very little or no rent. In addition, they receive additional services such as housemaids, security guards, and so on.
Transport: Indian Civil Accounts Service officers are allotted one or more vehicles with drivers for official purposes.
Bills: Their electricity, water, gas and phone bills are mainly paid by the government.
Trips: ICAS officers enjoy subsidized accommodation in government guest houses or bungalows when on official or non-official trips.
Study Leaves: ICAS officials who wish to improve their education can apply for study leave. The federal government would also cover the costs of such courses for the ICAS officer.
Job Security: ICAS officers are covered by intense job security. Whilst it's not easy to fire an ICAS officer as the process requires extensive investigations and inquiries.
Lifetime Pension: ICAS officers are eligible for a lifelong pension as well as additional retirement benefits.
Powers of an ICAS officer
With great power comes great responsibility, ICAS officers weld such enforcing all kinds of information and communication technologies to achieve intended targets. ICAS officers have the ability and are given the power to create new standards of internal audits for improved transparency and accountability. They control the finances/spending of government departments and can perform some internal audits.
Challenges faced by an ICAS officer
ICAS responsibilities are fairly challenging and demanding, as an audit is a "post-execution" job. While being "hectic" is not "built-in" to the job nature, officers must undoubtedly occupy themselves with initiatives that bring public service closer to the people. For instance officers in audit can be in charge of at least 10 - 15 audit parties in the field across any state/country, hence to have greater control over his/her team, the officer also needs to visit the parties in the field, that involves greater movement which may result in fatigue and nausea.
The ICAS is a department within civil ministries of the Union Government, performing government-wide accounting, providing payment services, financial reporting functions, supporting the tax collection system, budget estimates preparation and carrying out Internal Audit. Whilst roles may be challenging, promotion and benefit schemes are amazing.