PM Narendra Modi, addressing a gathering of about 200 of the government’s top auditors on Saturday, said that he was all for an increased and enhanced role for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG
PM Narendra Modi, addressing a gathering of about 200 of the government’s top auditors on Saturday, said that he was all for an increased and enhanced role for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), sources who attended the Mr Modi’s address told this newspaper. The event was not open to the media.
The Prime Minister’s position is important in the backdrop of the government’s intentions to widen the CAG’s jurisdiction by including local self-government bodies, PPP projects and even government-aided NGOs within the ambit of its audit.
PPPs are now the preferred mode for executing infrastructure projects in airports, highways and ports, and the role of NGOs is getting more and more important. On the other hand, many, including corporate entities, have questioned the mandate and jurisdiction of the constitutional body.
Mr Modi was speaking on the theme “public auditing and accounting, a catalyst for good governance”. Besides the auditors, the event was attended, among others, by CEO of NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanium, Sebi chairperson U.K. Sinha, and a host of top bankers and bureaucrats.
On Thursday, Public Accounts Committee chairperson K.V. Thomas, addressing the 28th conference of the CAG, had declared his support for bringing all PPP project under the purview of the national auditor, besides seeking penal powers for the CAG. “With the larger public interest in mind, it is time that the CAG is bestowed with penal powers in discharge of duties It is time that all PPP projects irrespective of funding, are brought under the purview of the CAG,” Mr Thomas had said.
During the previous UPA rule, the CAG’s explosive audit reports had been damning for many politicians and important bureaucrats, and the networks they were involved in, be it the omissions and commissions for the Commonwealth Games or the issue of allotments of 2G spectrum or coal blocks.