Government to make CAG more effective: Pranab

“The government is working on proposals for amendments to CAG (DPC) Act, 1971 that will make the institution of the CAG more effective in dealing with the new mechanisms of administration,” Mukherjee said in his address on the 150th anniversary of the institution.

The CAG is a constitutional entity governed by the Comptroller and Auditor General's (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971.  The finance minister's comment assumes significance as a section of government officials and several ministers have criticised the CAG saying the auditor was crossing its limits, especially in regard to its report on 2G spectrum allocation.

Mukherjee advocated the need for expanding the role of the auditor, saying it would help curb corruption and bring transparency in the system.  "Given CAG's audit mandate, extending across all agencies at the centre, state and local levels I urge you to become catalysts of process re-engineering. Identify processes that need to be extinguished and guide the departments in adopting best practices from India and abroad," he said.

"We appreciate the CAG's audit efforts in highlighting instances of leakage of revenue and systemic deficiencies in revenue assessment and collection," the finance minister added.

The finance minister said a fearless, competent and independent auditor was the cornerstone of financial accountability.  "Your role in providing assurance to multiple stakeholders - the legislature, the executive and the public at large - that taxpayers' funds are well spent is a critical element of the processes laid down by the constitution for public accountability," Mukherjee told the auditors in his address.

Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai has pegged the presumptive loss due to the 2G scam at Rs.1.76 lakh crore, which has been contested by one of the key auditors of the report, R.P. Singh, who said the figure was only Rs.2,645 crore.

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