President Pranab Mukherjee today said availability of timely and relevant financial and accounting data is critical requirement of the government for planning and managing the country's finances and budget.

He was speaking to a group of 16 probationers of Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) who called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He said the ICAS 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 organisation 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," a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said quoting the President.

"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 modernise their systems and make them citizen-centric. He said that he was happy that the reforms introduced by the organisation were in the correct direction," the statement said.

Mukherjee also said 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 organisation was one of the first organisations in India to have started using computers in government business initially," he said.

According to Mukherjee, 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 Organisation 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, Mukherjee said.

As internal auditors Civil Account Officers help ministries and departments accomplish their objectives by bringing a systematic and disciplined approach to risk managementrisk mitigation, internal control and governance processes, he said. Mukherjee 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 organisation truly values its human resources and is genuinely working towards engaging its employees in all such reforms through its training institute – Institute of Government Accounts and Finance (INGAF)." The 2012-batch ICAS probationers are currently 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.

Economic Times