About the Service
•The Indian Railway Accounts Service is a Group A Central Service of the Government of India.
•The Officers of this Service are responsible for the Accounts and Finance Management of the Indian Railways.
•About Only 10–15 IRAS officers are recruited every year through Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission.
•At present, the IRAS Cadre has a Strength of about 650 Officers only.
•Indian railway finances were initially overseen by the railway branch of the Public Works Department of the Indian Government, headed by the Accountant General, Public Works Department.
•In 1921, on the recommendations of the Acworth Committee, a Financial Commissioner for Railways was appointed in 1923.
•In 1929, the responsibility for the compilation of accounts for the Railways was taken over by the Financial Commissioner, Railways from the Auditor General.
•The Accounts organisation was thus brought under the control of the Financial Commissioner, Railways, and the Indian Railway Accounts Service was constituted simultaneously.
•The probationers of Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) are required to undergo a two-year training programme before induction into service on various railway zones.
•The two-year training program includes classroom training at Railway Staff College Vadodara and specialised training institutes, as well as field training on zonal railways, divisions, construction organisations and manufacturing units of the Indian Railways.
•Recently, Railway Board has entered into an agreement with Indian Institute of Management Calcutta for a 12-week executive general management programme as a part of regular training of IRAS probationers. The general management programme covers topics in economics, human resource management, management information systems, public policy, behavioural sciences, operations management, marketing, ethics, finance and accounting and strategic management. The training programme also includes sessions with industry experts and visits to various industries.
•Maintaining of accounts of the Indian Railways.
•Giving financial advice to the executive in matters related to railways.
•Scrutinising all investment and expenditure proposals of the various departments in railways.
•Preparation of the budget.
•Carrying out periodical financial reviews.
•Engaging in fund raising and funds management.
•Maintaining accounts and book keeping for railways.
•Conducting stock inventory control.
•Settling claims and recovering dues.
•The IRAS officers can be sent to work on deputation to other central/state government ministries or departments under the Centre Staffing Scheme.
•They can also be sent to work in PSUs to hold finance portfolios.
•They can be deputed to different factories working under the Railway Ministry
Specific Features of IRAS
•IRAS officers are responsible for the accounting and finance of Indian Railways and thus have considerable influence in the department
•They work in close coordination with all other departments in the railways
•They can reach upto the apex level of the Ministry of Railways as Financial Commissioner, who is ex-officio Secretary to Government of India.
•This service offers a good personal life as they don’t have to deal with day to day operation of the Railways
•They also get all the perks of Indian Railways like Bangalows, personal assistant etc.
•They also have ample deputation opportunities within and outside Indian Railways.