Shimla: Under a fast changing economic environment where new modes of service delivery systems are coming about, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai has sought bringing some regulators, public private partnership contracts and devolution of direct funds, such as that to Panchayati Raj Institutions, National Rural Health Mission program and NGOâ€™s under purview of the state auditor.
As part of the diamond jubilee (1950-2010) celebrations of National Academy of Audit & Accounts, Rai interacting with the media at a meet the press program said that mandate of the CAG Duties and Powers, DPC Act, 1971 did not incorporate provisions for undertaking such audits. â€œCAG had drafted a new bill for consideration of Parliament, which has sought to increase the scope of undertaking other audits where public money was involved,â€ he said.
CAG pointed out that there were at least 15 different regulators who had been institutionalized but had no appellate body with quasi-judicial rights for redressal of accounts and disputes. As regulators were a creation of the government and as such they should be brought under the purview of CAG, he said.
He mentioned that part of the Rs 83,000 crores of planned expenditure in the current budget that was to be devolved to PRIâ€™s, NRHM and NGOâ€™s was outside the direct supervision of parliament. â€œEven the government has desired an audit of these accounts, for which a provision has been made in the draft of the new bill,â€ said Rai.
About future plans, Rai said that CAG was serious about undertaking various environment audits and a water audit of the country would be the first such one. For such an audit, we would be formally engaging with civil society groups not only to bring more involvement of stakeholders into the audit system but also to leverage their knowledge about local issues.
Speaking about shortages of staff, he said that CAG had an sanctioned strength of 63,000 personnel but there were only about 47,000 on the rolls. To fill the vacancies, we would be recruiting between 2 to 3 thousand new auditors each year, he added.
Oil Coâ€™s & 2G Spectrum audits to be completed in 6 months
Over the contentious issue of auditing the allotment of 2G spectrum and royalty sharing over the gas or oil contracts in allocated oil blocks for exploration, Rai said that at the government request such audits were be undertaken.
He said that capital expenditures of 3 oil companies which included Reliance Industries, Cairn India and British Gas was being audited for the 3 oil exploration blocks that were alloted by the government, sometime ago. Allotment of 2G spectrum bandwidth to telecom companies was also being audited. After some initial hiccups, all documents related to these issues had been submitted to CAG and audits reports would take about 6 months to be finalized, he said.