People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 37

September 16, 2012

Associations Deplore Motivated Attacks on CAG


THE All India Audit & Accounts Association and the All India Audit & Accounts Officers' Association, representing the Grade C and Grade B personnel respectively of Indian Audit & Accounts Department under the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), have taken strong exception to the vituperative attacks on the institution of the CAG in the aftermath of the CAG’s audit report on the allocation of coal blocks and augmentation of coal production (under the Ministry of Coal) in the parliament. They noted that many a ruling party leader are attacking the audit report as well as the CAG by name, attributing him motives.  


According to a statement issued from New Delhi on August 4, the All India Audit & Accounts Officers Association said that any audit report by the CAG is by no means a single person's effort; it is the end product of collective effort that goes through many stages – discussion with the concerned department, and the entry and exit conferences with the appropriate authorities in the ministry, which are laid-down norms to be followed scrupulously. There is a laid-down norm which is religiously observed. It starts with an 'audit party' comprising of audit officer, assistant audit officer(s) and auditor. No audit report is finalised on hearsays; it is strictly on the basis of the findings from the files of the auditee department, and each draft para (the initial remarks) has to be supported by key documents (KD). Before the report reaches the CAG, the report is discussed with the officials of the concerned department or ministry at three levels at least. The reply of the concerned ministry is considered carefully and incorporated in the audit report with suitable rebuttal at appropriate places.


The statement further said the whole discussion in the media by the political class is without proper understanding of the processes involved in the finalisation of an audit report and how meticulously it is finalised. The final reports that see the light of the day are very few compared to the paragraphs that are raised at the initial stage on account of strict adherence to the quasi judicial norms and to well laid-down and time-tested guidelines.


The constitution of India confers the status of a 'watchdog of Indian finances' upon the CAG. Dr B R Ambedkar had stated in the Constituent Assembly: "I am of opinion that this dignitary or officer (CAG) is probably the most important officer of the constitution of India.  He is the person who is going to see that the expenses voted by the parliament are not exceeded or varied from what has been laid down by the parliament in what has been called the appropriation act. If this functionary is to carry out the duties --- and his duties, I submit, are far more important than the duties even of Judiciary --- he should have been as independent as judiciary."


It has become a fashion for the ruling parties --- at the centre as well as in states --- to run down the CAG, seeing politics in every audit report. This, the statement said, is quite detrimental to the cause of public accountability that has been mandated to CAG by the constitution.


The observations and conclusion in the audit report on allocation of 2G spectrum now stands vindicated by the government’s own action on deciding the minimum prices to be quoted for auction.


The All India Audit & Accounts Association and the All India Audit & Accounts Officers' Association have deplored the politically motivated attacks on the CAG by leaders of the ruling parties at the centre as well as in states, and urged them to refrain from attributing motives to the audit reports that the members of this audit body produce through their effort --- in the interest of the people at large and for the sake of ensuring public accountability --- and instead devote time on the policy that has been critically viewed in the audit report by the CAG of India.


The two associations and their field formations also held joint protest demonstrations in front of every audit office on September 6, 2012 against the unwarranted and uncalled for attacks on the institution of the CAG and the attributing of political motives to the audit reports produced by thus body.