What is the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)?
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is the highest auditing authority in the Indian government. It is an independent constitutional body tasked with auditing the financial statements of the central and state governments, as well as their undertakings and other prescribed authorities or bodies. Additionally, the CAG audits all receipts and expenditures of the Union and State Governments, including those related to defense services. The office of the CAG was established under Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
The CAG is appointed by the President of India based on the Prime Minister's advice. The tenure of the CAG is six years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. Removal from office can only occur through a presidential order passed after an address in both Houses of Parliament, supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting.
The primary objective of the CAG is to ensure the efficient, effective, and economical utilization of public funds. Additionally, the CAG acts as a check on executive excesses and maladministration.
The functions of the CAG can be broadly classified into three categories: financial audit, compliance audit, and performance audit.
Financial audit involves scrutinizing whether public funds have been utilized in accordance with laws, rules, and regulations.
Compliance audit verifies whether government departments and agencies have adhered to prescribed procedures, rules, and regulations.
Performance audit assesses whether government departments and agencies have achieved economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in their operations.
The Advantages of the CAG
The CAG offers several advantages:
Independence: As an independent body, the CAG is not subject to the control of either the Executive or the Legislature, allowing it to operate impartially.
Wide Mandate: The CAG has a broad mandate and can audit any government functionary or authority, ensuring accountability across various levels of governance.
Impactful Reports: The reports submitted by the CAG are given serious consideration by both Parliament and State Legislatures. These reports often lead to corrective actions being taken by the concerned authorities.
Check on Governmental Excesses: The CAG serves as a crucial check on governmental excesses and helps maintain financial integrity in public administration.
The role of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is pivotal in the Indian government. As the supreme audit authority, the CAG plays a vital role in auditing the accounts of the Government of India and its entities. The CAG's independence, wide mandate, impactful reports, and role in ensuring financial integrity make it an essential institution in the Indian governance framework. Moreover, the CAG has the power to audit any person or body, whether public or private, entrusted with the custody, control, or management of public funds