Chapter 44: COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA

Introduction

Created under article 148 of the constitution. He is the head of accounts and audit department. He controls financial administration of centre and states.

He is appointed by the president and hold office for 6 years or till age of 65. He can be removed by president on same grounds and manner as SC judge.

He can resign by writing to president. He is responsible only to parliament. He enjoys power to frame rules and decide scope for audit of expenditure but audits related to other sectors need approval of executive government.

Functions:

Legal and regulatory audit is mandatorily conducted by CAG but propriety [determines ‘wisdom, faithfulness and economy’ of expense] is discretionary.

With regard to expense of secret service the CAG can’t call for particulars of expenditure but has to accept the certification from the competent administrative authority that expense has been incurred under him.

Though the constitution visualises him as a comptroller but in practice he is just the auditor general.


Independence:

He has security of tenure, his salary and conditions of service are determined by parliament. He is ineligible for appointment under Govt of India or state after ceasing to hold office. All expense of office is charged on the consolidated fund of India.

No minister can represent CAG in parliament nor can any minister be called to take responsibility for his actions.


Powers and duties:

These are mentioned in the act of parliament and constitution.

1.      He audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated fund of each state and consolidated fund of each union territory having a Legislative Assembly.

2. He audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the contingency fund of each state and the public account of each state.

3. He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and state governments.

4. He audits the receipts and expenditure of the Centre and each state to satisfy himself that the Rules and procedures in that behalf are designed to secure an effective check on the Assessment, collection and proper allocation of revenue.

5. He audits the receipts and expenditure of the following:

(a) All bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or state revenues;

(b) Government companies; and

(c) Other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.

6. He audits all transactions of the Central and state governments related to debt, sinking funds, Deposits, advances, suspense accounts and remittance business. He also audits receipts, stock accounts and others, with approval of the President, or when required by the President.

7. He audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governor. For example, the audit of local bodies.

8. He advises the President with regard to prescription of the form in which the accounts of the Centre and the states shall be kept (Article 150).

9. He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to President, who shall, in turn; place them before both the Houses of Parliament (Article 151).

10. He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of a state to governor, who shall, in turn, place them before the state legislature (Article 151).

11. He ascertains and certifies the net proceeds of any tax or duty (Article 279). His certificate is final. The ‘net proceeds’ means the proceeds of a tax or a duty minus the cost of collection.

12. He acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

13. He compiles and maintains the accounts of state governments. In 1976, he was relieved of his responsibilities with regard to the compilation and maintenance of accounts of the Central Government due to the separation of accounts from audit, that is, departmentalisation of Accounts.

CAG submits three audit reports to the president who tables them to the house – appropriation account, finance account and public undertaking. The public accounts committee examines them and submits a report to the house. The report of audit of public undertakings is submitted to the public undertakings committee.

With regards to auditing of accounts of Government companies and corporations CAG has limited role they are fully audited by it OR government appoints private auditors for them in consultation with CAG, here CAG conducts supplementary audit OR the private auditors audit the accounts and no role of CAG is there.

 

Criticisms:

All private-public partnerships (PPPs), Panchayti Raj Institutions and societies getting government funds outside the ambit of the CAG.

The amendment further proposes to enhance CAG’s powers to access information under the Audit Act. Documents demanded by CAG officials have often been denied to them.

65 percent of government spending does not come under the scrutiny of the CAG

CAG needs to be a multi member body elected by a collegiums consisting of judiciary and opposition too.

CAG audits often lead to slow decision making as they create fear of persecution among bureaucrats. Also CAG mostly does post mortem work.


Quiz

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