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26 AUGUST, 2017 (MAINS)

TODAYS ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS-II

 

Q1. The CAG has managed to protect its integrity and Independence, despite pressure from various arms of the state. Critically examine this statement in the context of functions and limitations of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). (200 words)

 

Please write the answer in comments section

  • Osho Korde

    CAG in India is more of an Auditor-General & less of a Comptroller. While constitution has given enough independence to CAG, measures to give enough effectiveness is missing. To some extent, CAG has been used by successive political parties as a political tool, which is evident as per following points:-

    1. Appointment of CAG by President, following a recommendation by PM, while no involvement of other parties.

    2. Lack of publicity to CAG reports, but publicized when reports suggest malpractice of opposition party governments.

    3. Ignorance & misinterpretation of CAG reports by political parties to solve their purpose.

    4. Although CAG has managed to protect its integrity & independence despite pressure from various arms of the state, but its approach has become very passive.

    CAG is not merely Auditor, but the guardian of public purse and a conscience-keeper, hence it must be strengthened by taking following majors:-

    1. A collegium type mechanism (bipartisan collegium) to choose a new CAG.

    2. Implementation on CAG’s suggestions to amend 1971 Audit Act
    a) Government departments to reply on audit enquiries within 30 days
    b) Clear timeframe for tabling of completed audit reports.
    c) Bringing the legal mandate of CAG up to the speed with changes in governance.

    3. Bring all Public-private partnerships, panchayati raj institutions and government-funded societies under ambit of CAG

    4. CAG & its teams are mostly generalists, hence mechanism for associating outside specialists & experts (Audit board), as suggested by 1st ARC, should be strengthened.

    5. To benefit from exchange of experience among International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (IOSAI) members.