CAG mulls outcome auditing of all govt welfare schemes

The national auditor gave the example of primary education.

New Delhi: In a move that has huge ramifications for the all the government schemes, especially in the social and the health sectors, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is mulling the possibility of extending its mandate to examining whether projects like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Namami Ganga, primary education schemes, vaccination drives etc are serving their purpose in letter and spirit and not just in achieving the target numbers.

“We are internally examining the possibility of measuring outcomes of the various government schemes. As a next step, we will call in experts and find out if such an effort is possible for various schemes and whether tools and parameters to measure outcomes can be built. After all, audit is a tool to assist governance”, said Rajiv Mehrishi, CAG, during an informal chat while underscoring the fact that better and effective governance is the ultimate aim.

If the policy passes muster, it will have a lot of ramifications for government spending, selection of welfare schemes, their planning, manner of execution and follow-ups.

The national auditor gave the example of primary education. While the target figures of the number of children availing the benefits of the state-sponsored primary education scheme may have been achieved, what the CAG wants to examine is the learning outcome. “In other words, we want to find out whether the children have learnt anything or not and whether the original objective has been achieved,” the CAG said.

While the CAG doesn’t question government policy and considers that realm forbidden, its auditing, after having moved from compliance audit to performance audit, the next progression being mulled is to introduce outcome audit.

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