The Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (also known as IP & TAFS) is a Group “A” Central Civil service of the Union of India. The service was started in the year 1972 for prudent and professional management of the finances of the Department of Posts and Department of Telecommunications which were the sole provider of the communications needs of the country at that time. Gradually, over time the service has crystallized into a professional cadre of over 225 officers. The officers are recruited through the Civil Services Examination organised by the Union Public Service Commission. The Services recruited through Civil Services Examination include IFS, IAS, IPS and Central Services Group “A”, viz., IRTS, IRS, IA&AS, IP&TAFS, IRAS, IDAS etc.
After the foundation of Service in 1972, the first batch was recruited in 1974. Mr S.D. Saxena (Retired as Director Finance, BSNL and Ms Ruchira Mukherjee (Ex Adviser Finance), belong to the first batch of 1974. Initial batches of the service were very small in number, however, with growth in Telecom in India need was felt for more number of officers, hence subsequent batches of the service (e.g. 1994, 1995 etc) were large batches.
Recruitment and induction
After recruitment through Civil Services Examination, the officers undergo a foundation course with the officers of other services (IAS, IPS, IFS & Central Services Group “A”)lasting about 4 months. This is followed by a year of rigorous professional training in Financial Management at the National Institute of Financial Management, Faridabad which is a specialised training institute under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Thereafter, for further training in Telecom technologies and Postal procedures the officers are deputed for 10 months at National Institute of Communication Finance (NICF) at Ghaziabad (U.P.) In between this classroom training schedules, the officers are also deputed for on job field training in various areas.
After successful completion of training the officers are posted to work in the Department of Post or Department of Telecommunications as Assistant Chief Accounts Officers in the Junior Time Scale Grade. IP&TAFS has also a Group-B Cadre and Asst Accounts Officers,Accounts Officers and Sr.Accounts Officers are placed under this cadre with All India Service liabilities.These Officers are appointed on promotion selected through a Departmental Examination.
Placements of the Officers
As in the other Central Services, the officers are liable to be transferred and posted in anywhere in India. Officers from this service are also presently occupying the posts of Director (Finance) on the Board of Directors of prestigious PSUs viz., MTNL, BSNL, NPCIL and ITI. The officers of IP&AFS are working in Department of Telecom, Department of Posts, BSNL, MTNL and various other Ministries and Statutory bodies of Govt of India.
The following officers of IP&TAFS are currently working as Chief Financial Officers in various PSUs of India:-
Mr S.D. Saxena, Director Finance, BSNL [Retired]
Mr Mathew George, Director Finance, ITI [now working as Member (Finance) Kerala State Electricity Board]
Mrs Anita Soni, Director FInance, MTNL
Mr J.K. Ghai, Executive Director Finance, NPCIL In the Department of Telecommunications the officers are posted at DOT Headquarters as Adviser, Sr DDG, DDG, Directors & ADG.
In field units the officers are posted as Controller / Joint Controller of Communication Accounts which is involved in the settlement of pension cases of BSNL Employees, maintaining General Provident Fund accounts of BSNL Employees, collection of License fees and Spectrum Charges from BSNL, MTNL and other service providers and for checking and disbursing claims received under the Universal Service Obligation fund. The amount collected under licensing is approximately Rs.7700 crores for the Financial Year 2004-05. The CCA units also assist in the administration of Universal Service Obligation Fund under the Ministry of Communications & IT for providing telecom service in the rural/remote areas of the country involving (a) planning & forecasting, (b) tendering (c) costing (d) disbursement of support to service providers and (e) monitoring. The collection towards USO for the 10th Plan Period is around Rs. 13000 crores.
The officers in BSNL and MTNL are working at the level of Sr DDG / PGM, DDG / GM & Jt DDG / DGM. In field units they are mainly working as head of finance in various Telecom Circles of BSNL & MTNL.
In the Department of Post, the officers from this service are manning the offices of FA / DDG / GM, Director, ADG /Dy Director / ACAO of Postal Accounts located at DOP Headquarters and in all states. The work in these offices mainly comprises maintaining General Provident Fund accounts of the staff employed in a particular postal circle, settlement of pension cases, checking of money order deliveries and NSCs, budgeting and financial control, Internal Audit of Postal Units and rendering financial advice to the concerned Head of the Circle.
Cadre Controlling Authority
Member Finance, Telecom Commission of India is Cadre Controlling Authority of IP&TAFS, Group “A”& “B”. Member Finance is Ex-officio Secretary to Government of India. Dr. Vijayalakshmi K. Gupta is currently working as Member Finance.
Performance of this cadre
The recruitment to this service is like any other civil service including IAS where generalists are selected. They are supposed to be specialist in due course of their working. They have contributed significantly to professional management of finance in Department of Post and Telecom.