Comptroller and Auditor General of India
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India, which audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government. The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking/ non-insurance company in which Union Government has an equity share of at least 51 per cent or subsidiary companies of existing government companies. The reports of the CAG are taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of India and the state legislatures. The CAG is also the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, the affairs of which are managed by officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service, and has over 58,000 employees across the country.
|Comptroller and Auditor General of India|
|Nominator||Prime Minister of India|
|Appointer||President of India|
|Term length||6 yrs or up to 65 yrs of age|
(whichever is earlier)
|Inaugural holder||V. Narahari Rao|
|Deputy||Deputy Comptrollers and Auditors General of India|
|Salary||₹250,000 (US$3,600) per month|
The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151.
The CAG is ranked 9th and enjoys the same status as a judge of Supreme Court of India in Indian order of precedence. The current CAG of India is Rajiv Mehrishi, who assumed office on 25 September 2017. He is the 13th CAG of India.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India is appointed by the President of India following a recommendation by the Prime Minister. On appointment, he/she has to make an oath or affirmation before the President of India.
Oath or affirmationEdit
"I,(name of the person being appointed), having appointed Comptroller and Auditor-General of India do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgement perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.
Duties of the CAGEdit
As per the provisions of the constitution, the CAG's (DPC) (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was enacted. As per the various provisions, the duties of the CAG include the audit of:
- Receipts and expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of the State and Union Territory having legislative assembly.
- Trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets, and other subsidiary accounts kept in any Government department; Accounts of stores and stock kept in Government offices or departments.
- Government companies as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.
- Corporations established by or under laws made by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the respective legislation.
- Authorities and bodies substantially financed from the Consolidated Funds of the Union and State Governments. Anybody or authority even though not substantially financed from the Consolidated Fund, the audit of which may be entrusted to the C&AG.
- Grants and loans given by Government to bodies and authorities for specific purposes.
- Entrusted audits e.g. those of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies under Technical Guidance & Support (TGS).
In June 2012, Lal Krishna Advani a veteran Indian politician and former Deputy Prime Minister of India (as well as former Leader of the Opposition in Indian Parliament) suggested that CAG's appointment should be made by a bipartisan collegium consisting of the prime minister, the Chief Justice of India, the Law Minister and the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Subsequently, M Karunanidhi, the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and five times Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu supported the suggestion. Advani made this demand to remove any impression of bias or lack of transparency and fairness because, according to him, the current system was open to "manipulation and partisanship". Similar demand was made by many former CEC's such as B B Tandon, N Gopalaswamy and S Y Quraishi, however the government did not seem too keen.
CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta wrote a letter to the PM and demand CAG has appointed by the collegium of consisting the PM, the CJI and the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha but the PM declined. Former CAG V. K. Shunglu has suggested in its CWG scam report that CAG be made a multi-member body.
PMO minister V.Narayanasamy in his interview with PTI said Government is considering the Shunglu panel report but PM and Finance Minister declined it. Later V. Narayanasamy said he misquoted but PTI reaffirmed it.
The salary and other conditions of service of the CAG are determined by the Parliament of India through "The Comptroller and Auditor-General's (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971". His salary is same as that of judge of the Supreme court of India. Neither his salary nor rights in respect of leave of absence, pension or age of retirement can be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. The CAG is not eligible for further office either under the Government of India or under the Government of any State after he has ceased to hold his office. These provisions are in order to ensure the independence of CAG.
|1 January 2016||₹250,000 (US$3,600)|
The CAG can be removed only on an address from both houses of parliament on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. The CAG vacates the office on attaining the age of 65 years even without completing the 6 years term by impeachment also.
Indian Audit and Accounts ServiceEdit
The Constitution of India [Article 148] provides for an independent office to the CAG of India. He or she is the head of Indian Audit and Accounts Department. He/she has a duty to uphold the Constitution of India and laws of the Parliament to safeguard the interests of the public exchequer. The Indian Audit and Accounts Service aids the CAG in the discharge of his/her functions.
Scope of auditsEdit
Audit of government accounts (including the accounts of the state governments) in India is entrusted to the CAG of India who is empowered to audit all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the union or state governments, whether incurred within India or outside, all revenue into the Consolidated Funds and all transactions relating to the Public Accounts and the Contingency Funds of the Union and the states. Specifically, audits include:
- Transactions relating to debt, deposits, remittances, Trading, and manufacturing
- Profit and loss accounts and balance sheets kept under the order of the President or Governors
- Receipts and stock accounts. CAG also audits the books of accounts of the government companies as per Companies Act.
In addition, the CAG also executes performance and compliance audits of various functions and departments of the government. Recently, the CAG as a part of thematic review on "Introduction of New Trains" is deputing an auditors' team on selected trains, originating and terminating at Sealdah and Howrah stations, to assess the necessity of their introduction. In a path-breaking judgement, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the CAG General could audit private firms in revenue-share deals with government.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- United Nations Secretariat (Volume 1)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Escrow (Iraq) Account
- United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)
- Strategic Heritage Plan (SHP)
- United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC)
- International Trade Centre (ITC)-Capital Master Plan (CMP)
- United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS),
- Information Communication Technology (OICT)
Reforms suggested by former CAG Vinod RaiEdit
In November 2009, the CAG requested the government to amend the 1971 Audit Act to bring all private-public partnerships (PPPs), Panchayti Raj Institutions and societies getting government funds within the ambit of the CAG. The amendment further proposes to enhance CAG's powers to access information under the Audit Act. In the past, almost 30% of the documents demanded by CAG officials have been denied to them. The PPP model has become a favourite mode of executing big infrastructure projects worth millions of rupees and these projects may or may not come under the audit purview of the CAG, depending on sources of funds and the nature of revenue sharing agreements between the government and the private entities. As of 2013, it is estimated that 60 percent of government spending does not come under the scrutiny of the CAG.
Prominent audit reportsEdit
Following are some of the most debated CAG reports:
2G Spectrum allocationEdit
A CAG report on issue of Licences and Allocation of 2G Spectrum resulted in a huge controversy. The report estimated that there was a presumptive loss of ₹1,766 billion (US$26 billion) by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. In a chargesheet filed on 2 April 2011 by the investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the agency pegged the loss at ₹310 billion (US$4.5 billion)
All the speculations of profit, loss and no-loss were put to rest on 2 February 2012 when the Supreme Court of India on a public interest litigation (PIL) declared allotment of spectrum as "unconstitutional and arbitrary" and quashed all the 122 licenses issued in 2008 during tenure of A. Raja (then minister for communications & IT in the UPA government) the main accused. The court further said that A. Raja "wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer" and "virtually gifted away important national asset".
Revenue loss calculation was further established on 3 August 2012 when according to the directions of the Supreme Court, Govt of India revised the reserve price for 2G spectrum to ₹140 billion (US$2.0 billion).
However, the special court in New Delhi acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum case including prime accused A Raja and Kanimozhi on December 21, 2017, the verdict was based on the fact that CBI could not find any evidence against the accused in those 7 years. Per the judgement, "Some people created a scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels."
Coal mine allocationEdit
A 2012 CAG report on coal mine allocation received massive media and political reaction as well as public outrage. During the 2012 monsoon session of the Parliament, the BJP protested the Government's handling of the issue demanding the resignation of the prime minister and refused to have a debate in the Parliament. The deadlock resulted in Parliament functioning only seven of the twenty days of the session.
The CAG report criticised the Government by saying it had the authority to allocate coal blocks by a process of competitive bidding, but chose not to. As a result, both public sector enterprises (PSEs) and private firms paid less than they might have otherwise. In its draft report in March, the CAG estimated that the "windfall gain" to the allocatees was ₹10,673 billion (US$150 billion). The CAG Final Report tabled in Parliament put the figure at ₹1,856 billion (US$27 billion)
While the initial CAG report suggested that coal blocks could have been allocated more efficiently, resulting in more revenue to the government, at no point did it suggest that corruption was involved in the allocation of coal. Over the course of 2012, however, the question of corruption came to dominate the discussion. In response to a complaint by the BJP, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) directed the CBI to investigate the matter. The CBI named a dozen Indian firms in a First Information Report (FIR), the first step in a criminal investigation. These FIRs accuse them of overstating their net worth, failing to disclose prior coal allocations, and hoarding rather than developing coal allocations. The CBI officials investigating the case have speculated that bribery may be involved.
The scandal was first exposed due to the CAG report in the matter in December 1995. The report alleged of fraudulent withdrawal of government funds worth ₹9.5 billion (US$140 million) in the Bihar animal husbandry department against non-existent supplies of fodder and medicines. Subsequently, based on Patna High Court's orders, CBI investigated the case and registered as many as 63 cases. Many accused have been convicted while many cases are still under trial.
Krishna-Godavari (KG) D-6 gas blockEdit
The oil ministry imposed a fine of ₹7000 crores on Mukesh Ambani's company for the sharp drop in production of gas and violations mentioned in CAG's 2011 report. Oil ministry did not approve company's US$7.2 billion stake in deal with BP. So Jaipal Reddy known for his honesty was shifted from oil ministry to the Science and Technology ministry owing to pressure from Reliance group of Industries. RIL allowed the CAG to begin the audit in April this year after stalling it for a year. But unresolved issues could stall audit of KG Basin again. Then Reliance appointed Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma as new CAG to audit KG Basin, said Prashant Bhushan. In KG D-6, most of the cost had been recovered by the private player and the increase in price would only go as profit. About 90% of receipts from K-G D-6 were so far booked as expenditure and in the remaining 10%, only 1% was paid to the government and rest 9% went to the operator as profit.
List of Comptroller and Auditors General of IndiaEdit
|No.||Comptroller and Auditor General of India||Year tenure began||Year tenure ended|
|1||V. Narahari Rao||1948||1954|
|2||A. K. Chanda||1954||1960|
|3||A. K. Roy||1960||1966|
|7||T. N. Chaturvedi||1984||1990|
|8||C. G. Somiah||1990||1996|
|9||V. K. Shunglu||1996||2002|
|12||Shashi Kant Sharma||2013||2017|
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