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Thursday, 6 December 2012

83) Commemorating 150 years of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India: The Supreme Audit Institution of India (1860-2010):

83) Commemorating 150 years of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India: The Supreme Audit Institution of India (1860-2010):

Historical Development of the Comptroller and Audotor General (C&AG)'s Post:

·         Historically, the “Comptroller of the Household” was a position in the English Royal Household, the second ranking member of the “Lord Steward’s” department.

·         The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) role was first created in the U.K. by the “Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866” which combined the functions of the “Comptroller- General of the exchequer” (who authorised the issue of public money to departments since 1864) with that of the “Commissioners of Audit” (who presented the Government accounts to the Treasury).

·         Under the powers granted by the Act the CA&AG continued to authorise issuance of money to departments (the Comptroller function) and had the role of examining departmental accounts and reporting the results to the Parliament.

·    In British India:  The Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD) is one of the oldest departments in the Government of India. The role of C&AG evolved through practice and tradition in British India.

·         The Government Act 1858 introduced a system of an annual budget of Imperial Income and Expenditure in 1860. The budgeting system laid the foundation of the system of Imperial Audit.

·         The Department was set up in 1860 when the Government Accounting and Auditing functions were amalgamated and placed under the Auditor General of India.

·         Sir Edmund Drummond was the first Auditor General of India and took charge on 16.11.1860.

·         The term Comptroller & Auditor General was first used in 1884.

·         In 1919, the Auditor General was given statutory recognition.

·         In 1935, the status of the Auditor General was further enhanced and in 1950 when the Constitution of India came into force, the Auditor General was re-designated as the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.

·         In 1971, the CAG’s Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service (DPC) Act was enacted defining the duties and powers of the CAG and derives its authority from Article 149 of the Constitution of India.

·         In November 2010, the IA&AD has completed 150 years of Service to the Nation.

·         The Comptroller & Auditor General of India in 2010 held a competition its new logo/symbol/emblem for promote instant public recognition. The Logo reassures the common man that the Department is relentless in its efforts to ensure good governance and captures the quintessential characteristics and ethos of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.

·         The new emblem of the CA&AG reflects impartiality, alertness and skill in investigation, perception, judgment and communication which are the main functions of the IA &AD and the CAG. (The logo is carried on the reverse of the five rupee commemorative coin issued by the Reserve Bank of India/India Government Mints to commemorate 150 years of existence of the CAG given below on this Post under the “Commemorative coins issued by RBI section”).

 Appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG):

·         The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG or C&AG) is an authority established by the Constitution of India under Chapter V.

·         The Comptroller & Auditor General of India is appointed by the President of India under Article 148(1) of the Constitution of India. He heads a Department/Body which is the paramount/Supreme Auditing Authority of India.

·         So far there have been 11 CAGs of Post Independence India, including the present incumbent having assumed office in 2008.

·         By virtue of being the Supreme Auditing Authority of India, the CAG is also the Head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD) with personnel strength of around 60000.

·         The CAG is ranked ninth and enjoys the same status as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India in the order of precedence established in India. As such, the CAG draws a salary equal to that of a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

·         Since the Comptroller and Auditor General is appointed by the President of India, he can only be removed from office in a manner or procedure similar to that of a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

·         The tenure of the CAG in office is for a period of six years or attainment of 65 years of age or resignation in writing to the President, whichever is earlier.

·         After retirement from office, the CAG is not eligible for any further office in either State Governments or the Union Government as per the Rules/Articles governing his terms of Service.

Salient Features of the Mission of CAG:

As mandated by the Constitution of India, the Department promotes accountability, transparency and good governance through high quality auditing and accounting and provides independent assurance to its stakeholders, the Legislature, the Executive and the Public, that public funds are being used efficiently and for intended purposes.

Salient features of the Vision of CAG:

The C&AG strives to be a global leader and initiator of national and international best practices in public sector auditing and accounting and for being recognised for independent, credible, balanced and timely reporting on public finance and governance.

Duties and Powers and approach of the CAG:

1)   The Comptroller and Auditor General of India is an independent Constitutional Authority. He is the Auditor of all revenue and expenditure of the Central government as well as all the State governments and Local governments. He is also the Auditor of the Public Enterprises owned by the Central or state governments.

2)   The CAG has the responsibility of checking and maintaining the Accounts of the Central and State Governments. He has the responsibility of ensuring accountability of the executive to the Parliament/ State Legislatures and also providing assurance of true and fair presentation of the Union and State Accounts, compliance with laws, regulations and rules, besides performance of the Public Sector programmes for the desired outputs and outcomes.

3)   His Audit jurisdiction covers the entire range of the public sector, which includes the Union and State Governments, autonomous bodies under them and Government Companies and Corporations, as well as the Local Bodies. The C&AG’s Audit Reports of the Union and state Governments are submitted to the President/ Governor to be laid in Parliament/ Legislatures. The accounts of almost all the State Governments are also maintained by the Department. He advises the President of India as to how/in which form the various accounts should be maintained.

4)   The IA&AD conducts audits of thousands of offices every year. The C&AG of India presents about 100 Audit Reports to functionaries at various levels in Government and the Parliament (through the President) and the Legislative Assemblies (through the Governors) for  deliberation and corrective measures wherever warranted.

5)    The objective and professional approach has earned the IA&AD the confidence of all sections of political leadership and the bureaucracy as well as the common citizen of India. The Department is ever vigilant to point out errors and irregularities in receipts/payments and expenditure of moneys so as to examine the economy and efficiency/effectiveness in public expenditure.

6)   The Audit process consists of in-depth investigation of transactions, framing of independent judgment without fear, favour or ill will. In discharge of his constitutional mandate, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India is assisted by the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD).

7)   The IA&AD promotes good governance through its accounting and audit functions and has fulfilled the expectations of the law-makers, the executive and the general public. The external oversight of the C&AG over the public sector performance has contributed towards the improvement in design, implementation procedures and performance information of the public sector programmes and their outcome. The Revenue Audit by the IA&AD has brought about recovery of hundreds of crores of rupees of underassessment.

8)   With the growth in the revenue and public sector spending, the responsibility of the IA&AD has increased significantly over the years. New methods of Management and delivery of the public sector programmes like Public Private Partnership, Revenue sharing and licence agreements for exploitation and management of National resources, outsourcing, and the issue of sustainable developments and increasing use of Information Technology have made the audit more challenging.

9)   The Department has successfully adapted to changes in work environment brought about by automation, rise of public private partnership models, e-governance, and increase in regulatory responsibilities of the executive as well as new funding mechanism in major developmental schemes.

Some recent Studies carried out by C&AG and their impact:

 The C&AG has carried out several Study Reports in the recent past such as, Regulation of Unaided Recognised Private Schools in Delhi for the year ended 2010, Study Report on Environmental Audit, Study Report on preparedness of Commonwealth games, Study report on Implementation of Value added Tax in India etc.

These and similar reports keep the people even the highest offices alert and cautious towards any misdemeanours under their charge. Recently two Central Cabinet Ministers and several senior officials/bureaucrats etc. were kept in Preventive Jail custody by the Authorities for some time pending criminal trial for two cases of misappropriation of Public Funds infamously referred to as the “Commonwealth Games (CWG) Scam” and the “2G Spectrum Scam” as a result of C&AG reports, where even the Prime Minister was under media scrutiny for vicarious responsibility.

Another recent report which the Central Government is fighting hard to explain is termed the “Coal Mining Scam” involving huge losses to the Public Exchequer, which is said to have happened under the Prime Minister’s watch.

International Relations:

The C&AG has an International Relations division/External Affairs division which is the focal point for bilateral and multilateral interaction of the CAG with the Global Audit fraternity.

It handles all matters related to:

a) International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)

b)  Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI)

c)  Interaction with other Supreme Audit Institutions and Regional Groups of INTOSAI.

d)   Global Working Group (GWG)

e) External Audits of UN bodies and other International Organisations

f)  Bilateral Relations with other SAIs, including signing and follow-up of MoUs

g)   Organising seminars, meetings and workshops at the International level

h) The Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, its specialised Agencies and International Atomic Energy Agency. CAG has been appointed as external auditor of three major UN Organisations: the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Food Organisation (WFO).

Comptroller and Auditor Generals across the Globe:

The Comptroller and Auditor General is the title of a Government official in jurisdictions including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, States of Jersey, in addition to India.

This role has been replicated in the former Commonwealth States and also adopted by China in the 1960s. For example, in Australia, Canada, China, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka Wales and Scotland etc. the post is referred to as Auditor General.

Commemorative coins issued by RBI/India Government Mints:
5 (Five) Rupee coin issued for general circulation in 2012:

The reverse of this coin shows the image of the logo of the “Comptroller and Auditor General of India” (having a pair of scales and the Guidelines/Rules-book within a shield placed under the Lion Capitol of the Ashoka Pillar with the inscription “Satyameva Jayate” – Truth Always Prevails – enclosed within two laurel twigs) in the centre. The inscription on the left of the logo on the left periphery reads “Bharat Ke Niyantrak Evam Mahalekhaparikshak” (in Hindi) and “COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA” in English on the right periphery. The Commemorative years "1860-2010" (150 years of the CAG) are inscribed below the image of the logo. This coin has been issued by the Mumbai Mint. Notice the “Diamond Mint Mark” of the Mumbai Mint below the commemorative years.

The obverse of the five rupee coin issued on the occasion of 150 years of existence of the CAG shows the Lion Capitol of the Ashoka Pillar in the middle with the inscription “Satyamev Jayate” (Truth Always Prevails) in Hindi below it, with “Bharat” mentioned in Hindi on the left hand side and “India” in English on the right hand side. Below the Lion Capitol is the numeral “5” indicating the denominational value of this coin preceded by the Rupee symbol. The denominational value of this coin is not mentioned in words either in Hindi or English.

The specifications of this coin are:
Shape: Circular;
 Diameter: 23mm;
Number of serrations: 100
Weight: 6 gms;
Composition of Alloy: Nickel–Brass (Copper: 75%; Zinc: 20% and Nickel: 5%).

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