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Bring transparency in CAG appointment, demand former officials

New Delhi, March 23, 2013 (IANS):

A forum of former CAG officials has submitted a memorandum to the president and prime minister seeking a "transparent mechanism" for appointing the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the president and prime minister, and demanded the selection of next CAG should be done in a transparent manner," S. Krishnan, president of Forum of Retired Officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service, told IANS Saturday.

"At the moment, there is no institutionalised and transparent procedure for CAG's appointment," Krishnan added.

The former bureaucrat said the CAG was an important constitutional post, "so the most suitable person must be selected for this highly important office".

"We want a CAG who is fearless and not afraid to impart his duties. Of late, there has been a lot of criticism about the selection procedure," he added.

Krishnan also said that he did not favour the current system in effect to appoint the CAG.
"We don't know what selection procedure is applied. Only last moment selections are made. As of now, the president appoints the CAG on the advice of the government, which leaves the decision effectively in the hands of bureaucrats."

Krishnan said the government should ensure adoption of a procedure through a formally constituted committee. "The high-powered selection committee should be headed by the prime minister and should comprise leader of opposition, chairman public accounts committee, and possibly the chief justice of India or other eminent legal luminary."

The signatories to the memorandum include three former deputy CAG's -- J.N. Gupta, B.P. Mathur, R. Parameswar -- and former secretary of ministry of water resources Ramaswmy R. Iyer.

The present CAG, Vinod Rai, demits his office in May this year. Opposition parties and allies of the United Progressive Alliance government have also voiced a need to change the appointment process of the CAG. But the Congress-led government has not shown any willingness as off now.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in November last year ruled out any change in the appointment stating the process had "stood the test of time."


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