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Govt Depts must modernise systems using ICT: President

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pranab-mukherjeeGood Public Financial Management System (PFMS) is the key to good governance, as organised accounting services help in building and maintaining a strong and robust system of financial management, President of India Pranab Mukherjee has said.

The President was addressing the probationers of Indian Defence Accounts Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service and Indian P&T Finance & Accounts Service as they called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday, according to a government press release.

“In almost all countries of the world today, there is a move towards developing ‘Integrated Financial Management Information Systems’ (IFMIS) and towards setting up Standards in Accounting, Auditing and Budgeting. The Government of India is also moving towards such a system. In India today, this is a necessity in view of the increasing quantum of public expenditures which require a sound system of tracking, monitoring and reporting to be in place. In developing such a system, we need to learn from best global practices and build upon them,” President Mukherjee said.

He went on that there are rising expectations amongst the public for greater efficiencies in service delivery accompanied by transparency and accountability in government processes. “In order to address these concerns, it is imperative for the Government Departments to modernise systems by making best use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and to make such systems citizen-centric, secure, efficient, economical and transparent. The Tax Information Network, OLTAS and the National Pension System are all extremely fine examples of pan-India systems, which have simplified life for the ordinary citizen and have introduced greater efficiency and transparency in key areas of Government’s functioning.”

The President also emphasised that this trend shall only intensify in the future, so he urged all officers to take part in the development of such pan-India systems, as and when they have the opportunity to do so.

He further said that he has been informed that the National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), apart from a multitude of on-campus activities, also organises attachments for probationers with various offices and organisations of relevance where they are exposed to practical aspects of governance. He expressed happiness that probationers are also taken to the USA for exposure to financial management practices at the federal and the provincial government levels. He urged the probationers to assimilate the learnings that they gather from such important exposures and apply them appropriately in the Indian context.

The President said that keeping pace with the fast-changing world of ICT also requires constant up-gradation of systems and processes. “We need to examine how best we may use technology to make our payment and accounting systems seamless, as also progressively use IT tools in auditing to not only unearth frauds but also to evaluate and monitor the processes and outcomes of various government schemes. The challenges are many and the opportunities are vast and immense. But I am sure that all of them will rise to the occasion and live up to the expectations of their countrymen,” he added.

President Mukherjee said that the Government of India decided to establish NIFM in 1993 to train the newly recruited officers of the Finance and Accounts Services. The idea behind setting up NIFM was not only to train probationers in subjects related to financial management but also to inculcate a sense of camaraderie and esprit d’ corps amongst service officers. “The opportunity of staying and learning together with officers from the different accounting services shall prove to be extremely beneficial to them in the years to come.”

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