The full form of IRAS is Indian Railway Accounts Service. It is a group A cadre service under the civil services governed by UPSC. The Indian Railways are one of the oldest working organizations in India. The department of railways consists of various divisions like operations, management, maintenance, human resources, stores, and many more. Handling the financial and accounting aspects of all these departments for smooth functioning is the quintessential task of IRAS officers.
The IRAS cadre came into being only after the year 1929. It was at this juncture that the government realized a separate department to look into the financial aspects of the Indian Railways and gave birth to IRAS. Until then, the public works department of the Indian Railways also took charge of the accounting and financial matters. Later they were bifurcated, and the financial responsibility took from the PWD. This move was considered by the government to bring in a surge of efficiency, transparency in bureaucracy, and better governance with growing expansions of the Indian railways.
To become an IRAS Officer, a candidate have to clear all three rounds of the Civil Services Exam, i.e. prelims, main and interview. This article provides information about roles and responsibilities, training, career progression, job profile, perks and salary of IRAS officer. The eligibility criteria, education qualification, exam pattern, and syllabus remain the same as of the UPSC Exam.
Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) – Roles and Responsibilities
IRAS officers provide varied responsibilities in their tasks. They are of utmost importance in duty as they are the chief account managers and financial onlookers of the Indian railways. They have to perform to the fullest of their responsibilities for the smooth and efficient functioning of one of India’s largest and oldest organizations. Some of their prominent functionalities include:
- Budget allocation and management.
- Planning and controlling expenditures of their respective departments.
- Accounting for the earnings and expenditures created and gained by the departments.
- Execution of proposals and tenders. Financial scrutiny in matters of accounting and record keeping.
- Marking all investments and studying them for further collaborations and actions.
- Conducting financial analysis and reviews of every department for ensuring smooth transactions within the department.
- Reviewing inventory, managing stocks, keeping fund options open, and managing various fund sources and resource allocation.
- Customer service, handling any legal issues and settlements.
Training Offered to Probationary IRAS Officers
The training for IRAS officers extends into a comprehensive course for about 90 weeks. During this period, they are trained on a host of subject-specific and general modules ranging from accounting, financial operations, management, public policy development initiatives, governance, applying these concepts in the context of railways, understanding the functioning of railway departments, etc.
- Successful candidates have first to undergo the common training provided to all civil services at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for administration (LBSNAA). Mussoorie.
- Soon after the general training, specialised training commences. The first wing of training is held at the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) at Vadodara. This is later followed in succession by training probationers at National Academy for Direct Taxes (NADT), which is in Nagpur. After the two levels of specialised training, they are sent to the National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) located in Faridabad. This completes the second level of training, which is specialised for these probationary officers.
- Next, after imparting accounting and financial modules to the probationers, they are given intensive training in executive management at the Indian Institute of Management (Calcutta). This is a 12-week program.
- Later, probationers are called in for a higher level management Development Program. This is conducted for a total duration of 8 weeks at the Management Development Institute (MDI) located at Gurgaon.
Postings after Training
Soon after the conclusion of the training program, candidates will receive their posting to various railways divisions and units concerned with their cadre. They are also posted to PSUs that have a role and functionality in railways accounting and financial operations. At various levels, these officers are allocated a different range of postings, including:
- Financial Advisors and Chief Account Officers at zonal levels.
- They take in charge as Divisional Finance Managers at the Division level offices.
- Under the purview of Divisional Railway Managers and General Managers, they are inducted as account officers and executives in the initial roles.
Indian Railway Accounts Service – Grade & Salary
The basic pay scales of IRAS officers range between INR 8000 to INR 26000. The perks and allowances, according to their ranking and grades, differ with every higher grade. These include rental allowances, house pay allowances, and other travel allowances too. Also, grade pay is allotted with promotion to every higher rank in the grade list.
|Grade||Pay Scales (INR)||Designation in Field||Designation in HQ|
|Junior Time Scale||8000-13500||Assistant divisional accounts officer||Junior accounts officer/ Workshop Accounts Officer|
|Senior Time Scale||10000-15200||Divisional accounts officer||Deputy director|
|Junior Administrative Grade||12000-16500||Sr. divisional accounts officer / Dy. Financial advisor & CAO||Joint Director|
|Selection Grade||14300-18300||Sr. divisional accounts officer / Dy. Financial advisor & CAO||Director|
|Senior Administrative Grade||18400-500-22400||Financial advisor & CAO||Executive director|
|Higher Administrative Grade||22400-525-24500||Coordinating financial advisor & CAO||Additional member|
|Higher Grade||26000 (fixed)||Financial Commissioner|