15/1089-90, VASUNDHARA, VASUNDHARA (P.O.), Dt. GHAZIABAD (U.P), PIN-201012
Reference: AIA/Circular-23/2012 Dated: 2nd Sept 2012
Members & Spl. Invitees – NE &
Members of Women's Committee
DEFEND THE INSTIUTION OF CAG
Hold demonstration on 6th Sept 2012
Summing up the discussion in Constituent Assembly on the role of CAG of India, Dr BR Ambedkar stated:
"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"
But what followed was, in effect, undermining the spirit that Dr Ambedkar did envision.
The institution of CAG has not been provided complete independence in its functioning. The jurisdiction of the CAG to encompass under the purview of audit by him the entirety of public money dealing has also been curtailed considerably.
The Executive had all along been engaged in devising ways and means to keep out much of its financial transactions out of the purview of the audit of CAG as was possible for them. Institutions practically financed from the Public exchequer were declared as grant-in-aid institutions to exempt them from audit by CAG, except a perfunctory audit to certify the utilisation of those funds. Many autonomous bodies were carved out though totally financed from the Public Funds and thus exempted from CAG's Audit. Government companies were constituted through Parliament legislation with a provision that audit of such companies would be entrusted to Chartered Accountants approved by the CAG. In this manner, the Nationalised Banks were kept out of CAG's audit, despite many a Parliamentary Committees recommending bringing it under CAG's audit.
Over and above all these, the CAG himself is withdrawing from the noble cause that has been mandated under the Constitution. International practices are given precedence over the national interest. The transaction audit – the mainstay of public accountability – is drastically reduced, to the level of only 20%. New criteria for audit of PSUs have been issued where-by the quantum and reach of audit would be minimal. The priority is on performance audit and thematic (or dramatic?) audit.
Even after all these restrictions and curtailments, audit reports create news. The fault is not with audit – it lies somewhere. The audit reports get noticed as never before because of the corruption that has been indulged in by the executive.
The Indian Audit & Accounts Department does discharge the constitutional obligation. If it hurts some wrong doer then why the department and its head should be blamed or abused.
In the recent/latest audit report (on allocation of coal mines) the debate could have been on whether auction of coal mines would be beneficial for the common man. The exchequer would benefit, no doubt. At the same time when the price of coal would also go up – thus affecting escalation in transportation cost as also the cost of electricity produced from coal. The end user would have to pay more.
Instead of engaging on such a healthy debate, the ruling party leaders, including ministers, are trying to question the very foundation of audit ie public accountability.
The fact is this: nobody likes audit – somebody is in power somewhere and there they will abuse and shower insults on audit when the audit findings point out loss to exchequer. When they are in opposition they would hail the audit reports.
The attempt to use the audit reports as a pawn in the political game is reprehensible. The commitment of CAG and IA&AD is only to the Constitution and to the people of the country. It is not CAG who speaks through the reports; it is the files that speak. In the audit reports that only get reflected.
We deplore the tendency to politicise the audit reports by vested interests. We hold no brief for any officer. But CAG is the head of our department. Any abuse or insults hurled at him tantamount to insult to the entire institution.
The All India Audit & Accounts Association has been championing for the cause of independence of CAG. It would continue to do so.
In defence of independence of audit, in defence of our right to be the 'watch dog of Indian finances' (however limited manner we are able to discharge it) we are duty bound to defend our department.
The CHQ therefore call upon every unit to hold lunch hour demonstration on 6th Sept 2012 jointly with All India Audit & Accounts Officers Association. Proper permission for holding demonstration may please be obtained before the programme.
The enclosed resolution may be adopted and forwarded to The President of India, Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001 through proper channel with copy to Secretary General.
Press Statement issued jointly by All India Audit & Accounts Association and All India Audit & Accounts Officers Association is also given below. Units may translate the same to vernacular language and give it to local press.
R E S O L U T I O N
The General Body meeting of ……………………….Association affiliated to ……… (All India Audit & Accounts Association/All India Audit & Accounts Officers' Association) representing Gr C and Gr B personnel of Indian Audit & Accounts Department under the Comptroller & Auditor General of India would like to bring to the notice of Your Excellency the President of India about the vituperative attacks on the institution of CAG in the aftermath of the audit report by Comptroller & Auditor General of India on allotment of coal mines. Many a ruling party leaders, including Ministers in the Union Cabinet, are attacking the audit report as well as the CAG by name, attributing motives.
The Constitution of India confers the status of 'watchdog of Indian finances' to the CAG. Dr BR 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 is an unfortunate and undesirable situation that it has become a fashion for the ruling parties – of Centre as well as States - to run down the CAG seeing politics in every audit report which is very detrimental to the cause of public accountability that has been mandated to CAG by the Constitution.
This General Body meeting requests Your Excellency to intervene and restrain the members of the Union Cabinet as also of the ruling combination from questioning the independence of CAG of India, thus creating impediments in the discharge of constitutionally mandated responsibilities.