House views must prevail over CAG, says Montek

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday said CAG reports are useful inputs but it should be Parliament’s views that prevail as observed by apex court.

“They (two Supreme Court judges) have gone out of their way to say that CAG is a constitutional authority. Its report is a useful input. It should be considered by the PAC (Public Account Committee). It is the view of the PAC then that prevails and subsequently it is the view of Parliament that should come, “Ahluwalia said while addressing Ficci’s 86th Annual General Meeting here.

Elaborating further, he cited the Supreme Court judgment where two judges observed that “they seem to find a tendency in the press to view statements in a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report as if they are gospel truth.”

Ahluwalia said: “..What we have got is a huge desire to pick up anything which looks critical (in CAG report) and that gets build up”.

“The government decisions are getting publicised, politicised and mediaised well before the final position is taken. That has caused bureaucracy to step back...that is why Cabinet Committee on Investment has been set up,” he said.

Ahluwalia was of the view that had the government set up the CCI a year ago, it would have been much better off.

According to him, the CAG is a statutory body and has the right to put its criticism on the policy.

“What is not being realised is that a pronouncement by the CAG is not a pronouncement by Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court says this is the law, whether you like it or not, that is law. You have no alternative but to go and amend it” he said.

Ahluwalia suggested that there should be coordination among the various government wings, saying it works in silos. The Cabinet Committee on Investment is an effort to enhance that coordination to clear infrastructure projects that have been stuck up for want of regulatory approvals from the various ministries.

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