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.
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.
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
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.