IDAS or Indian Defence Accounts Service can be termed one of the oldest government departments serving till date and fully operational in service.
IDAS is one of the Group A gazetted services categorised under UPSC services. To become a candidate serving in the services, prospective candidates must apply through the UPSC civil services examination.
AS the name suggests, the IDAS officers are in charge and solely responsible for the functioning, maintaining, and record keeping of exclusive defence accounts.
We all know that every year during the budget asset allocation process, the defence forces grab the largest share as they are the personnel guarding the country and looking after its safety and protecting from any threat, external or internal.
So this whole big process of budget allocation and resource monitoring and funding of defence resources is handled and well managed by capable IDAS officers.
The accounting functions and responsibilities of the defence systems are quite different and varied in nature, compared to normal company accounts. The controller general of defence accounts is responsible for heading the department of defence accounts that looks after the operational functionalities of the said unit.
The whole big umbrella of defence coming under these services includes the armed forces, naval forces, air force systems, the border road organisational units, ordnance factory setups, and defence research centres. In fact, under the civilian strata, the canteen stores and departments are also counted for the functionality prescribed for the IDAS collusion.
Financial accounting, payment and asset allocation, budgeting, and internal audit operations are some of the very important functionalities of IDAS officers. Aspiring candidates have to clear the three rounds of the UPSC CSE, namely the prelims, mains, and the interview to get selected into this service. It is again purely based on merit, a number of vacancies for the post, category vacancy related, and preferences sought by the candidate.
Training offered to selected IDAS Candidates
By nature, matters of defence are custom specific and specialized and intricate in nature. So the training required and given to IDAS officers too is very extensive and lengthy in nature. Here we present the various stages of the training in the correct flow. The whole training process takes place in a timeline of two years:
- The common foundation program with the combined all India services is given to candidates at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (Mussourie). This is the basic level of training at the first stage, following which candidates will be elevated to further high level training modules. The common training module is for a duration of four months.
- After the foundation training, officers get elevated to the induction training program. The second level of specialised training program takes place at CENTRAD, New Delhi, for the candidates.
- The third level of training imparts financial education with a specialization in defence accounts at the National Institute of Financial Management (Faridabad). Probationers are directly placed at the professional training course at the institute to specialize specifically with defence accounts.
- The last wing of the training takes place at the National Defence Academy, Pune. There is a financial wing in the NDA premises called the financial management institute that will train the students and make them job ready for their further roles.
- After the last element of training, candidates have to clear the specified departmental exam to get appointed into the initial junior roles.
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Various positions are offered to probationers after they clear the departmental exam and get inducted formally into the services. Some of the noteworthy postings are mentioned below:
- Soon after induction into the junior grade, officers are inducted as assistant controller of defence accounts.
- The controlling and officially the head of the IDAS is the Controller General of Defence Accounts. He holds a three-tier responsibility of leading the IDAS plus functions as an internal financial adviser. He is also nominated as the chief accounting officer, and he has to report to the three serving chiefs of Indian defence services, namely the army, navy and the air force services.
- They also hold various positions at miscellaneous government functionaries such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan office, passport offices across the country, cabinet secretariat offices, pay commissions, public sector unit heads, UPSC committees, etc.
- When deployed on international projects, they serve at the IMF, WTO, and ICAO, etc.
- High level specialized officers get to work at the famed RAW establishments, which are of international importance at the global level.
Roles and Responsibilities of IDAS officers
- Defence dealings largely consist of the acquisition of artillery, weapons, mechanisms related to differentially graded weapon systems, etc. IT is not just about procurement and implementation of these skilled weapons in the homeland, but a lot of legal activities like licensing, warranty production, etc. are necessary and in-built elements. For all these and more processes, it needs skilled advisors at higher posts who know them to carry out every phase of the activity with much ease. That’s where IDAS officers fit in. They are programmed to envisage and envision the financial costs and list the budgeting portraits for every defence activity.
- Every country’s defence mechanism has its own set of protocols, timelines, goals, and objectives. When it comes to time setting, the aspect of the latest technology kicks in. In other words, mechanisms rooted for the transfer of technology mainly with domestic units and foreign establishments for modern and robust defence machinery is directly the task of IDAS officers.
- Building robust financial support systems at defence PSUs and ordnance factories.
- Other major activities include skill building, payroll management, risk analysis, financial estimations, and calculating project overruns, etc.
The most important part of defence activities is distributed among the IDAS personnel. Right from managing financial operations to trading acquisitions and calling for procurements, sending tenders, handling production mechanisms, certifying and licensing, sending warranties, dealing with technology transfer with international players, and more, IDAS officers have the most dynamic career compared to any other group A cadre services. Some of the pivotal roles they hold during their tenure include:
- Assistant controlling officer of defence accounts – this position is acquired by the probationary officer right after his induction period. As obvious, this is the junior grade scale that he initially starts with and would generally be posted at cantonment available municipal towns.
- Deputy controlling officer of defence accounts – Almost for three-tier levels up after the junior grade, officers will work as deputy CDAs. The work locations are mainly concentrated in state capital cities.
- Coming to officers serving in senior roles in administration cadres, they would be serving at defence command headquarter areas. This step in their career would grant them the prestigious and fully fledged role of a responsible CDA officer. Thus the officer rises to the controller of defence accounts position.
- For commercial operations like auditing and inspection processes, additional secretaries IDAS officers are required.
- Then we have the position of Joint controlling officer of defence accounts, which is again a senior grade role.
Pay scale of IDAS officers
Depending on the ranking and the grade of the IDAS officer, the salary range can be anywhere between INR 20,000 to INR 80,000.
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