New Delhi: The CAG is an authority established by the constitution of India. It was constituted with the powers to audit all receipts and expenditures of the government of India. The sanctity of the post of CAG can be determined from the fact that his/her removal process is similar to that of Judge of Supreme Court of India.

With the power to audit government of India, the CAG is looked up as an authority to bring transparency in the country. It also carries a reputation of following world’s best practices. It is also affiliated by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). INTOSAI is affiliated by the United Nations.

Since the independence, the nation has seen eleven CAGs. The present incumbent is Vinod Rai. The authority first came to the limelight when it exposed Fodder scam in Bihar. The reports of CAG were taken as a base in framing corruption charges. Afterwards, it has made various corruption expose. The CAG Vinod Rai has been vocal about his concerns on rising corruption in India and has said in the past that India cannot achieve and sustain high growth rate without transparency and accountability.

Recently, the CAG has attracted attention like never before. The corruption expose has increased many times under the regime of Vinod Rai. Its prominent audit reports include 2G spectrum allocation, Coal Mine allocation and Fodder scam.

Re-auction of Spectrum

But the reports on 2G spectrum and coal mine allocation have dragged the authority into political arena. The CAG said in its report that the telecom licenses were sold much below the estimated price that the government could have got and estimated the loss to be at Rs 1,76,645 crore. The lower price at which the spectrum was sold raised eyebrows over corruption. Later on the Supreme Court cancelled the 2G licences and the government recently auctioned these licenses again and yielded only Rs.9,407 crore.

Sanctity of CAG questioned

When the re-auction ended in a damp squib, the government found a reason to defend themselves against the allegations of CAG and questioned the sanctity of the CAG. It accused of lacunae in the process of auditing. The latest political uproar over CAG included who’s who of Indian politics. Right from the Prime Minister and the leader of opposition everyone has been associated in the war of words. The opposition has even said that the ruling party may have deliberately manipulated the spectrum auction in order to mock the CAG reports.

The government has also recommended making CAG a multi-member body which further generated lots of ruckus and questions were raised on the intent of the government. Whether it will be a single member body or a multi-member body, much will depend on the person who will be holding the positions.
Suggestions to overhaul CAG.

It is not certain when the verbal exchanges will come to an end but the current situation has brought us to a point where another look is required into the processes and appointment of CAG. The leader of opposition has already suggested in the past that CAG's appointment should be made by a bipartisan collegiums consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, the Law Minister and the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. He also said that the current system is open to manipulation and partisanship.

However, whatever be the reality, the present CAG is doing its duties and continuing to publish the reports as per the constitution of India.

Ashish Ranjan/JPN

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