Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS) is an Indian Central Government service, free of control from any executive authority, under the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department serve in an audit managerial capacity. IAAS is responsible for auditing the accounts of the Union and State governments and public sector organizations, and for maintaining the accounts of State governments. IAAS is the government’s financial watchdog, and is a critical element in checks on the government. It role is somewhat similar to the US GAO and National Audit Office (United Kingdom).
The service has Principal Accountants General and Accountants General for every State in India. Generally, each state has one Principal Accountant General in charge of audit functions. In addition to Principal Accountant General, each state also has Accountant General in charge of accounts and entitlement functions ( Salary, Provident Fund, Pension etc.). Bigger states may have an Accountant General (Audit) in addition to the Principal Accountant General.
Recruitment and Training
Recruitment to the IAAS is through the joint competitive examinations (the Civil Services Examination) along with the Indian Foreign Service, Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Revenue Service(IRS).
Once recruited to IAAS, the officers are trained at National Academy of Audit and Accounts, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India. Shri V. Narahari Rao, the first Indian Comptroller & Auditor General of India (1948-1954) institutionalised the training arrangements for IA&AS officers by setting up the IAAS Training School at Chadwick House in Shimla in 1950. Prior to this the IAAS Training School functioned for a year at Madras (Chennai). The Training School is one of the oldest training institutions in the country. It was renamed as IA&AS Staff College in 1969, and upgraded on 28th February 1990, as the National Academy of Audit & Accounts.
Since its inception, more than 60 batches of IAAS officers have received all-round training at the Academy, and gone on to assist the Comptroller & Auditor General of India in discharging his constitutional and statutory responsibilities. During the mid fifties, probationers of the Indian Railway Accounts Service were also trained along with IA&AS probationers, while officers of the Indian Civil Accounts Service were trained here during 1984 to 1992. The Academy has also trained officers from foreign countries such as Nepal, Bhutan and Oman.
Since Independence the country has witnessed transformation in practically every aspect of life. Consequently, the IAAD underwent large-scale reorganisation in order to meet the challenging tasks, with their ever-increasing volume, complexity and variety. The Academy too had to constantly update and reorient its functioning to suit the ever changing and challenging profession of auditing/accounting and to maintain its relevance to the audit department’s needs and trends. Over the years it has made a steady transition from merely being a training institute to become a respected Institution within the department, and a centre of excellence.
The officers of IAAS are required to acquire and possess not only the professional skills of an accountant and auditor but also the administrative competence to manage the staff of the Indian Audit & Accounts Department, which has a strength of over 60,000 personnel. Their job requirements include scrutiny of intricate contracts, understanding of tax and revenue laws, assessing the financial health of commercial corporations. Industry knowledge may be required also, grasping for instance the complexities of oil exploration or the working of an atomic power plant and comprehensively reviewing the effectiveness of implementation of country-wise schemes for rural development, health services, education etc.
Sanctioned strength of IA&AS Cadre (As on 01.08.2009) Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General: 5 Additional Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General: 5 Principal Accountant General: 26 Senior Administrative Grade: 107 Junior Administrative Grade: 161 (Selection Grade 80 and Ordinary Grade 81) Senior Time Scale: 256 Junior Time Scale: 136.
A Historical Perspective
The Indian Audit & Accounts Department has a history of over hundred and forty years. The Audit Department was formed in 1860 when Government Accounting and Auditing functions were amalgamated and placed under the Auditor General of India. In 1919, the Auditor General was given statutory recognition. In 1935, the status of the Auditor General was further enhanced and in 1950, when the Constitution came into force, the Auditor General was re-designated as the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. In 1971, the CAG’s DPC (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act was formulated which defines the duties and powers of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India and derives its authority from article 149 of the Constitution.
The Comptroller & Auditor General of India has a unique position because unlike most countries, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India has been assigned both accounting and auditing functions. He is neither an officer of Parliament nor a functionary of the executive.
Audit is one of the four main pillars of democracy viz. (i) Parliament, (ii) Judiciary, (iii) Press and (iv) Audit. Article 148 of the Constitution describes the appointment, removal, salary, terms and conditions of the service of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.
For carrying out diverse functions, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India is assisted by one of India’s oldest and premier services – The Indian Audit & Accounts Service, whose officers are deployed in offices spread throughout the country besides two overseas offices located at London and Washington.
In the discharge of his duties, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India conducts both regularity audit and efficiency-cum-performance audit of all units and formations of the Union and State Governments, Government Companies, Autonomous Bodies and such other organisations that are substantially financed by the Union and State Governments. The Committees of the Parliament and State Legislature examine the results of audit, which are brought out in the Audit Reports of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India and recommend corrective action. Another important role performed by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India is the compilation of accounts of the State Governments and in many states, regulation and authorisation of entitlements such as provident fund and pensionary benefits of State Government employees.
The officers of IA&AS are required to acquire and possess not only the professional skills of an accountant and auditor but also to develop administrative competence to manage the staff of the Indian Audit & Accounts Department which has a strength of over 60,000 personnel. Their job requirements include scrutiny of intricate contracts, understanding of tax and revenue laws, assessing the financial health of commercial corporations, grasping for instance the complexities of oil exploration or the working of an atomic power plant and comprehensively reviewing the effectiveness of implementation of country-wise schemes for rural development, health services, education etc. IA&AS officers also go abroad to conduct embassy audit i.e. audit of Embassies and High Commissions of India situated all over the world.
Some of the famous report which led govt of india and state in political turmoil eg, 2G scam, Bofors scam, Fodder Scam, CWG scam etc to name a few. Performance review of many central schemes has led to reform at various level in various governments. Biggest advantage which IAAS officers have is of independence from political executive. The biggest drawback is that parliamentary committee are not abreast with the expertise and hence report is not well understood leading to partial implementation.
IA&AS officers mainly go abroad to conduct embassy audit i.e. audit of Embassies and High Commissions of India situated all over the world. However, IAAS officers are seconded to Middle East (Oman, UAE) and African countries (Botswana) to serve in audit departments as specialists. Many also join the United Nations and its allied agencies for a short term.