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.
The Constitution enables the independent and unbiased nature of audit by the CAG by providing for:
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:
The Act also provides for compilation of accounts of the State Governments from the subsidiary accounts maintained by the State Governments.
In order to carry out his wide audit mandate in an unfettered manner the Act provides for:
The organisations subject to the audit of the CAG are:-
Depending upon the objective of audit, we classify audits by CAG into:
Apart from these traditional audits, we have successfully done a number of audits of Information Technology (IT) Systems and on Environmental issues
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.
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.
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.
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).
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: