Former officials for greater transparency in CAG appointment

Former officials for greater transparency in CAG appointment

In the midst of controversies over reports of CAG, a body of former CAG officials today demanded setting up of a six-member committee including Prime Minister and leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha for choosing the Comptroller and Auditor General in an "open and transparent" manner.

"There is a need for open, transparent, institutionalised selection mechanism for the post of the CAG similar to the arrangements that exist for NHRC and CVC," the Forum of Retired Officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service said in a memorandum to the President, Prime Minister and others.

It has argued that when there are committees for selection of Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the same procedure should be followed in case of the CAG and the nominee should be from the audit services.

The Forum has proposed that Finance Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and possibly the Chief Justice of India or a legal expert should be the other members of the committee.

The incumbent CAG Vinod Rai, whose reports on 2G, CWG and other projects have created a political storm, will be demitting office in May.

The Forum opposed the current selection mechanism under which CAGs are chosen from among the serving Secretaries in the Government of India.

It recommended consideration for selection of "deserving" Deputy CAG's for the top auditing job.

"Most Secretaries are unlikely to have the in-depth knowledge needed for the position of CAG," the Forum said adding that a background as a Secretary to Government of India is very likely to lead to questions of "conflict of interest".

The statement further said it has been argued that the existing system has been working well and that no change is called for.

"However, there are no carefully formulated job specifications, no formally laid down criteria, no known procedures for preparing a long and short list and no selection committee.

"The system, if there is one, is entirely internal and unknown to anyone outside, except perhaps a very small group within the government," Forum President S Krishnan said in a statement.

Besides Krishnan, former Deputy CAGs -- J N Gupta, B P Mathur, R Parameswar and former Secretary Ministry of Water Resources, Ramaswmy R Iyer are among the signatories to the memorandum.

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