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Issue Debate #6: Should CAG be made a part of the Legislature?

edited September 2015 in Issue Debates
Issue Debates Archives


Should CAG made an office of the Parliament? Discuss the issue in the light of recent demands to do so. How different is the Office of CAG in India different from like offices in Parliamentary Democracies? Suggest Measures to bring synergy in the working of Public Accounts Committees and the CAG.

Reading List:-

1. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/amend-cag-act-to-make-it-part-of-legislature-pacs-conference-suggests/articleshow/48888840.cms

2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/make-cag-accountable-to-parliament-pac/article7634207.ece

3. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/minorityview/public-account-committees-should-pay-more-attention-to-cag-reports-rather-than-infringe-on-its-autonomy/

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Comments

  • In the opinion of the legislators, the parliament is supreme and cag should be accountable to it.
    In the opinion of an ex- cag, it is not the parliament, but the Constitution of India which is supreme.
    The choice must be clear.
    In God, we trust.
  • CAG is an executive officer from services Who already has to supervise the work of his own office and perform it as duty to make and submit the report to parliament ....he is not an elected one hence no way of him being part of parliament...and if question of his presence is their it is already being excercised well enough on reporting to parliament and answering PAC ...
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  • i think, making CAG a part of parliament will harm the true nature or objective of CAG. Since presently CAG is an autonomous institution created by our Constitution. Without this autonomy CAG could not function independently in the political dynamics of our country. Taking decisions will become hard and office of CAG could be pressured. Making it accountable to PAC means PAC will become supreme body regarding Auditing function which is the core function of CAG. Sometimes CAG will have to bend before PAC unlikely. True spirit of constitution will be hampered, since CAG's main function is to bring governmental organisations discrepancies in financial matters to public light through audit report, making government accountable to public. Therefore CAG should be independent accountable only to public through constitution.
    In USA auditing function has been vested in Government Accountability office(GAO). GAO has power to examine government programs, to do analysis of government policies, legal opinions, decisions on broad range of government programs. But in India CAG's role is to prescribe the form in which the accounts of union and state governments should be kept, auditing accounts of union and state governments. CAG doesn't analyses the policy decisions of the government or evaluates programs. CAGs role is only to check whether the funds prescribed for specific activity has legal authority or are properly disbursed.
    Measures to bring synergy between CAG and PAC:
    1- cooperative attitude between CAG and PAC.
    2- respecting each others values and position.


  • CAG is part of Union with an autonomy given to it by the Constitution itself. This is to serve the purpose of ensuring fiscal accountability of the eleceted representatives,as it audits the expenditure of the governments and highlights misappropriation if any.Moreover,though not directly but indirectly CAG is accountable to Parliament through PAC as CAG's assessment has to be neutral and shall be based on strong accounting formulas because the report is tabled in the Parliament and is discussed thoroughly.

  • edited September 2015
    Issues in making CAG accountable to Parliament :

    -> Parlaiment, or at least Lok Sabha, is controlled by majority party i.e. executive. Making CAG accoutable to it will in effect subjugate CAG to executive.

    -> This will curtail the independence of CAG and s/he may not be able to give independent and frank opinion.

    -> Currently Parliament exercise ultimate control over CAG by having the powers to remove him. Changing from this ultimate control to immediate control is not warranted as PAC neither have expertise nor time to exercise this immediate control.

    Demand of consulting PAC before appointment of CAG is not feasible due to following reasons :

    a) Problem in building consensus if all the 22 members are consulted before appointing CAG.

    b) Chairman of PAC is appointed from opposition only by virtue of established conventions and not under any statute. Hence only invovling Chairman of PAC in appointment will also not guarantee a voice to major opposition party in selection.

    Hence the appointment process should be through multi member committee including PM, CJI, Union Law Minister and Leader of Opposition.
    The creative adult is the child who has survived.
  • Also, oath of CAG is same as SC judge, in this respect, constitutional makers wanted to keep CAG as the a constitutional body accountable to the Constitution and guardian of public purse. Making CAG accountable to parliament may be a desire of parliamentarian as they think parliament as supreme, however in a democracy, public is the supreme and even Constitution drives its power from "the people". In my opinion, constitutional bodies should not be distributed till there is public demand or crisis of functioning. CAG must remain as it is and its still not used powers as a comptroller should be explored.
    It's a battle only you have to fight. Others may assist,drag, leave or join. However, ultimately it's about absolute commitment that defines You, Your self, and impart a sense of satisfaction.
  • CAG is a powerful constitutional body of India.from time to time it has reveled the misconduct of the governments and its institutions in financial matters and thus brought them under scrutiny before the law and the masses.this role of CAG has forced the governments to maintain a sound and proper financial responsibility and respect the hard earned money of the public. making CAG a body of parliament will kill the very purpose of the existence of such institution.because it has been seen that many a times working of parliamentary standing committee like PAC has been questioned or politically motivated .if CAG is made a part of parliament it is probable that the activism of the CAG will lost which till date it has maintained very firmly.
  • The constitution of India is based on the principle of Separation of power supplemented by various checks and balances. The responsibility of the executive towards the legislature is a part of this system. The legislature has to make sure that the executive is functioning properly by scrutinising the work of the executive. But every work of the executive cannot be assessed by laymen, specially the financial and accounting part. For this specific purpose the office of CAG was created in the constitution itself. The similarity in appointment and dismissal of CAG and a judge of supreme court itself speaks of the high constitutional regard this body enjoys.

    As per the provisions of the constitution the CAGs Act 1971 was enforced which enlisted the duties, Powers and conditions of service of the CAG.These terms of conditions were so drafted as to make this body independent of any political interference. It is the CAG’s audit reports which helps ensure executive’s accountability to the Parliament in the sphere of financial administration. Thus neutrality is of utmost importance when we talk of such an important function of scrutiny.

    In past the Audit reports by CAG have been very useful in bringing to light a number of irregularities in public spending and thereby helping in proper functioning of the democracy. Recently the PAC made a recommendation to make CAG accountable to the parliament. Making CAG responsible to the parliament might lead to politically motivated reports , defeating the whole purpose behind the office. Also the conditions of service ensure the independence of the office. If the advice of PAC is taken before appointing the CAG, the so appointed CAG might be motivated to release reports which are not true to the fact,in return of political favours.

    The office of CAG is a constitutional body,any change in its structure must be well pondered upon before making any decision as agreeing to these recommendations might convert the office of CAG into another political deadweight from the current level of high prestige and trust it holds.
  • While it's inadvisable to make the office of CAG subordinate to the parliament/PAC the office can be restructured to create 1-2 posts of Deputy CAG on the lines of Election Commissioners in ECI. This will provide appropriate checks and balances on the working of the currently single official body of CAG.
  • Before reaching onto the conclusions that whether CAG sholud be made an office of the Parliament or accountable to it we would have understand the role it plays in functioning of our Democratic govt. CAG enshrined role in our constitution and in CAG act of 1971 is to audit the records of the government expenditures to view whether they are in line with commitments made during the time of the appropriation made and matters incidental there to. It also initiates the process of accountability Of executive to Parliament by providing the report to PAC which further scrutnizes the report.
    Now the recent demands made are reasoned on the basis of delays in tabling of reports to PAC and effective functioning of the body when it would act coherently with the parliament. But the demands made and corrective action thereby recommended doesn't fall in line due to:
    1) The independent nature of the body has kept its functioning fair. Delays in my would view would increase with the intrusion on the part of PAC or the parliament. PAC itself has most of the time delays tabling of reports made on CAG report in Parliament.
    2)CAG doesn't scrutinizes the policies of gov. rather just its records. And auditing doesn't require different perspectives.
    3) PACs participation in its appointment may lead returning of favours.

    Suggestions to improve:
    1)increase in the no. Of members in the office to tackle delays
    2) tech upgradation
    3) coordination meetings b/w PAC and CAG for better functioning
    In a nutshell the office of CAG is the cornerstone for accountability enshrined in our constitution and moving away with its independence or making it a subordinate body to the parliament may hamper the whole fabric of principle of accountability established in our constitution.

    Plz review
  • -Constitution is supreme.
    -President is the highest authority under the constitution.
    -CAG reports to the the Prez.
    -CAG is infact accountable to the parl.( as she can be removed by a resolution from th parliament)
    -The parliament's only role is to legislate, to apply those legislations is the work of the executive.
    -The work of CAG is not related to passing legislation, so there is no case for it being a subordinate to the legislature.
    -Now the committee threw very little light on this issue,and most of its recommendations (as reported by TOI) revolve around how to speed up the process.
    -To speed up the process, better qualified and more hard working persons need to be elected in the PAC as well.
    -The CAG alone is insufficient to handle all accounts of all the public money.we had a budget of 20lakh crores, too much for one office to keep track of. So better internal auditing, cross auditing , social auditing, making records public and faster conclusion of corruption cases in order to create effective deterrence.

    -Augmenting CAG staff.

    -Better oversight over parliamentary committees...committee members party all year round and put all expense on committee accounts..every one knows this and i have conformation from internal sources as well.
  • This argument itself would have raised due the exposures CAG has done in the previous govt. era.PAC recommendations are very silly in the sense that it only indicates the need to increase the staff and expand the organisation. they have never mentioned any thing else which directs to the lack of capacity or efficiency of CAG. Just saying it should be accountable to the parliament, holds no water as CAG is answerable to the president and has in fact the powers equated the supreme court judge.There is no question on superiority of the parliament as CAG reports are never a binding document and too they simplify the functions of PAC! Also comparing to UK and AUS to suit our preferences is too easy without seeing the fact that our constitution although borrowed many ideas from various constitutions, but moulded it to suit our society and political structure,ie sui generis.We need to also remember that CAG is only an auditor and not also a comptroller!
  • na bhi na ...kam karta hu CAG mei..janta hu kaise setting ho jati hai ab bhi....iske baad to na jane kya ho jayega
  • Brothers n sisters the only reason that upsc aspirant tick IAAS service after irs,is no control of the executive body( IAS) over them.if they come under legislature IAAS officers is suffered by stagnation of promotion,pay desparity et al,and finally no one will prefer it.save IAAS from IAS.
    "revision is just like a paan leaves
    if it wudn't be turned continously it wud have rotten

    similarly... if the revision has n't been done repeatedly it wud have forgotten".

  • In case of CAG whichn is an constitutional body in my point of view :-
    1. it should not only auditor but comptroller also.
    2. its member should be increased.
    3. there is also cross checking system that the reports which are made by CAG office are upto how much true .
    4, Some constitutional bodies maintaing the faith of people , if CAG changed under executive it will become a majority party office
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