Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?



In a democracy, those holding power and positions of responsibility must be answerable for their actions. For this purpose the Constitution has mandated several institutional     mechanisms like the Judiciary, Vigilance bodies and an independent Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IAAD) functioning under him, constitute the Supreme Audit Institution of India. The Constitution of India has mandated us as the auditors to the nation. We are thus an instrument for ensuring accountability. Articles 149-151 of the Constitution prescribe the unique role of the CAG.

How is the independence of the CAG ensured?



The Constitution enables the independent and unbiased nature of audit by the CAG by providing for: 

  • His appointment by the President of India 
  • Special procedure for removal (like a Supreme Court Judge) 
  • Salary and expenses Charged (not Voted) to the Consolidated Fund of India 
  • Disallowing his holding any other Government office after his term expires

What are the duties of the CAG?



As envisaged in Article 149 of the Constitution, the Parliament enacted a detailed legislation called the CAG’s Duties, Powers and Conditions Act in 1971 which describes his mandate and puts almost every spending, revenue collecting or aid/grant receiving unit of the Government (the Centre and the States) under his audit domain. His duties are to audit and report upon:

  • All receipts into and spending from the coffers (called the Consolidated Fund) of the Union and State Governments. 
  • All transactions relating to the Emergency expenses (called Contingency Funds) and relating to the monies of the public held by the Government e.g. Postal savings, Vikas Patras (called Public Accounts) at Central as well as State levels.
  • All trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept in any Government department. 
  • All stores and stock accounts of all Government offices and departments. 
  • Accounts of all Government companies and Corporations e.g. ONGC, SAIL etc. 
  • Accounts of all autonomous bodies and authorities receiving Government money e.g. municipal bodies, IIM's, IIT's, State Health societies. 
  • Accounts of any body or authority on request of the President/Governor or on his own initiative.

The Act also provides for compilation of accounts of the State Governments from the subsidiary accounts maintained by the State Governments.

What powers does the CAG have to perform his role?



In order to carry out his wide audit mandate in an unfettered manner the Act provides for:

  • Power to inspect any office or organisation subject to his audit.
  • Power to examine all transactions and question the executive.
  • Power to call for any records, papers, documents from any audited entity.
  • Power to decide the extent and manner of audit.

Whom do we audit?



The organisations subject to the audit of the CAG are:-

  • All the Union and State Government departments including the Indian Railways,Defence and Posts and Telecommunications. 
  • About 1500 public commercial enterprises controlled by the Union and State governments, i.e. government companies and corporations. 
  • Around 400 non-commercial autonomous bodies and authorities owned or controlled by the Union or the States. 
  • Bodies and authorities substantially financed from Union some of the local bodies and Panchayati Raj  Institutions which are critical grass root agencies for implementation of developmental programmes and delivery of services.

What are the types of audit we do?



Depending upon the objective of audit, we classify audits by CAG into:

  • Compliance Audit (to be explained separately in a collapsible link) 
  • Financial Attest Audit (to be explained separately in a collapsible link) 
  • Performance Audit (to be explained separately in a collapsible link) 
  • Apart from these traditional audits, we have successfully done a number of audits of Information Technology (IT) Systems and on Environmental issues.

What types of Reports does the CAG bring out?



The Audit Reports of the CAG submitted to the Parliament and State Legislatures consist of compliance and performance audit reports covering revenue collection and expenditure of Government, separate audit reports on the functioning of certain autonomous bodies as provided by legislation, reports on the Financial position of Central and State Governments and reports on the adherence to the Appropriation Acts passed by Parliament and Legislatures. The CAG also submits the certified annual accounts of the States, known as the Finance and Appropriation Accounts, to the State Legislatures.

What do our Reports focus on?



An Audit Report contains the final, fully corroborated audit findings. These may have been accepted by the department and/ or are proved factually and are material enough to be placed before the Legislature. The objective of our audit is to bring about improvement in the management and conduct of government's activities and programmes. We seek to determine the nature of the inadequacies identified, whether they are isolated or recurring. We want not only to stimulate corrective action but to ensure that the lapse does not occur again. We make appropriate, informed and implementable recommendations to improve systems, procedure and processes.

What happens to the Audit Reports?



The reports of the CAG are submitted to the President in case of the Union and to the Governor in case of the State who in turn cause them to be tabled before the House. Once tabled in the House, the Reports stand permanently referred to the Central and State Standing Committees on Public Accounts (PAC)/Committees on Public Undertakings (COPU). These specialised committees have been constituted to facilitate timely and intensive scrutiny of the Annual Accounts and the Audit Reports thereon. The Committees select those findings and recommendations from our reports that they judge to be the most critical to the public interest and arrange for hearings on them. We provide technical assistance to the Committees in this task. At the hearings of the Committees, the executive can be called to account for their actions/inactions. Based on their Examination, the Committees prepare and submit their reports to the Legislature that summarise the     Committee's hearings, the action taken by the executive and include recommendations to improve administrative practices and procedures.

How does CAG perform his role?



The CAG is assisted by the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD) to discharge his constitutional role. 
At the top and middle managerial level of the IA&AD there are around 600 Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) officers. They are either directly recruited through the Civil Services examination conducted by the UPSC or inducted by promotion from Group B (supervisory staff).
There are subordinate cadres whose strength is approximately 47000. They consist of gazetted supervisory cadre (Group B) of Senior Audit/Accounts Officers, Audit Officers and Assistant Audit Officers and a support staff cadre (Group C).

 

How is the IA&AD organised?



The office of the CAG in New Delhi directs, monitors and controls all activities connected with audit, accounts and entitlement functions of the IA&AD. At the field level there are 133 offices:

  • Offices of the Accountants General (Audit) in every State responsible for audit, 
  • Offices of the Accountants General (A&E) for compilation of State accounts and carrying out the entitlement functions, 
  • Principal Directors of Audit responsible for audit of the Union activities including all Civil Ministries and Departments, Defence, Railways, Posts and Communications, 
  • Offices of the Member Audit Board entrusted with audit of Central Public Sector undertakings. 
  • Overseas offices for auditing the Indian Missions abroad.

 

What are the Types of audit we do?

Depending upon the objective of audit, we classify audits by CAG into:

Compliance Audit

focuses on whether a particular subject matter is in compliance with the criteria. Compliance auditing is performed by assessing whether activities, financial transactions and information are, in all material aspects, in compliance with the applicable authorities which include the Constitution, Acts, Laws, rules and regulations, budgetary resolutions, policy, contracts, agreements, established codes, sanctions, supply orders, agreed terms or the general principles governing sound public sector financial management and the conduct of public officials.

Financial Attest Audit

focuses on determining whether an entity’s financial information is presented in accordance with the applicable financial reporting and regulatory framework. This is accomplished by obtaining sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to enable the auditor to express an opinion as to whether the financial information is free from material misstatement due to fraud or error.

Performance Audit

focuses on whether interventions, programmes and institutions are performing in accordance with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness and whether there is room for improvement. Performance is examined against suitable criteria and the causes of deviations from those criteria or other problems are analysed. The aim is to answer key audit questions and to provide recommendations for improvement.

Apart from these traditional audits, we have successfully done a number of audits of Information Technology (IT) Systems and on Environmental issues

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