Comptroller and Auditor General of India


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) plays a crucial role in parliamentary financial control. The Indian Constitution provides for a unitary and independent audit by the C&AG. The audited Appropriation and Finance Accounts are submitted along with the audit reports of the C&AG to the President of India. These accounts and reports are then caused to be laid before the Parliament.
 
The primary function of the C&AG audit is to verify the accounts to ascertain-
 
1. Whether the moneys shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for and applicable to the service or purpose to which they have been applied or charged and whether the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it, and
 
2. Whether the assessment, collection and allocation of revenue have been properly done.
 
The Appropriation and Finance Accounts are accordingly examined under the directions of the
C&AG and certified as to their correctness subject to his observations in the Reports on the Accounts submitted under Article 151 of the Constitution. The jurisdiction of the C&AG extends to the audit of Government commercial enterprises, as well as to bodies and authorities substantially financed from Government revenues. The C&AG also examines the accounts relating to grants and loans given by the Government to other bodies. There is also an
enabling provision in the Act passed by the Union Parliament in 1971 to take up the audit of any other bodies or authorities with the approval of, or at the request of, the President.
 
The C&AG has the complete authority and discretion to make regulations on the scope of audit,
within the ambit of the act approved by the Parliament. Apart from the traditional forms of audit
referred to as appropriation and regularity audit, the discretionary forms of audit like the propriety audit and efficiency cum performance audit have assumed more significance of late from the viewpoint of ‘accountability’, as they look beyond the mere regularity of expenditure to its prudence and economy and a general examination of the efficiency and effectiveness with which an organization is discharging its financial responsibilities. The powers of C&AG to have access to documents and information in connection with audit of accounts have been enhanced under the Act of 1971, wherein the C&AG can call for any document as long as it is considered relevant to the transactions to which his auditing duties exist. Further, the Act specifically
enjoins that the administration shall afford all facilities for his inspection and comply with his request for information in as complete form as possible and with all reasonable expedition.
 
The audit reports of the CAG, other than those relating to commercial enterprises, are
considered by the Public Accounts Committee. The Committee on Public Undertakings considers the audit reports relating to commercial enterprises.
 
These Committees examine the audit reports on a selective basis, assisted by the C&AG or his Principal Audit Officers as follows:
 
• Assistance in the selection of subjects;
• Supply of background information and memorandum of important points;
· Briefing of the working groups/sub- Committees for a proper understanding of
the subject;
• Briefing of the chairmen of the Committees, as and when necessary;
• Attendance at the sittings of the Committees to assist in their examination of witnesses;
• Vetting of written submissions of the witnesses for ensuring factual accuracy;
• Factual verification of the reports of the Committees;
• Assistance at the sittings of the Committees devoted to deliberation on and adoption of
their reports;
• Vetting of the notes of government on action taken on the Committees’ recommendations;
• Factual verification of the follow-up reports of the committees; and
• Attendance to assist the Committees at the sittings for consideration and adoption of
their follow-up reports.
 
Informal assistance is also given to the individual members and the Secretariat of the
Committees so as to enable them to have a proper understanding of the issues dealt with in the relevant audit report. The audit reports as such are not generally discussed in the Parliament, but the recommendations of the Committees are by convention considered as the recommendations of the entire Parliament. Even in regard to those issues dealt with in the audit reports which have not been taken up by the Committees for detailed oral or other examination, notes on remedial action taken by individual departments of government are required to be submitted to the Committees, after their vetting by the Audit Department.
 
The Public Undertakings Committee of Parliament, besides considering some of the reports
of Comptroller and Auditor General, carries out its own examination of the working of the Public Sector Enterprises.
 
In the audit of the financial statements of commercial departments of the Government or the
public sector enterprises, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) as applicable to
comparable enterprises in private sector are observed. The C&AG has, however, the right to issue directions to the professional accountants who conduct the primary audit of public sector companies, indicating to them the manner in which the audit of such enterprises is to be conducted. The C&AG also review the performance of such auditors.


Sunday, 14th Feb 2016, 12:09:42 PM

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