The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is the head of the India Audit and Accounts department. He directly or indirectly advises all financial matters of the union government and the state governments. Let us understand his role and his importance in Indian democracy.
Shri Girish Chandra Murmu is the 14th and current CAG of India. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India guards the public purse and controls the country’s entire financial system. He also checks the financial accounts of the country both at the state and at the center level. The prime duty of CAG is to govern the laws of Parliament and the constitution of India, the financial administration.
Which Articles describe the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the Constitution of India?
The following articles of the Indian constitution describe the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India:
- Article 148: Article 148 tells about the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
- Article 149: Article 149 describes the duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
- Article 150: Article 150 gives details about the form of accounts of the union and the states.
- Article 151: Article 151 is about the audit reports.
CAG Appointment and Tenure
The President of India appoints the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. The CAG takes his office and signs an oath before the President. He holds offices for six years or until he turns 65. Whatever he attains first. He can’t be removed easily from his office. The same procedure removes him as the judge of the Supreme Court.
CAG Salary and Allowances
The expenses and salary of the LAG are charged upon the consolidated Fund of India.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India have the following powers and discharge functions. The duties of the “CAG of India are mentioned in Article 149 of the Constitution. Major duties of the CAG of India are as follows:
- The CAG audits the accounts related to the expenditure from the union funds, i.e., the Consolidated Fund of India, the Contingency Fund of India, and the Public Accounts of India.
- The CAG audits all expenditures of the state funds, i.e., the Consolidated funds of each state, the Contingency funds of each state, and the Public Accounts of each state.
- The CAG audits all accounts related to trading, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, and manufacturing kept by any department of the central and state governments.
- The CAG audits all transactions of the Central and the state. These transactions include debt, sinking funds, deposits, advances, suspense accounts, and remittance business.
- When requested by the President or the Governor, the CAG can audit accounts of any other authority. For example, the local bodies.
- The CAG advises the President concerning government accounts.
- The CAG submits annual audit reports related to the accounts of the center and the states to the President and the governors, respectively.
- The CAG certified the net proceeds of any tax or duty.
- The CAG guides the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.
The CAG is the foreguard of the Indian constitution. He upholds the Constitution of India and Parliament in financial administration.
The CAG conducts an audit of expenditure on behalf of the Parliament and guides the union government in all financial matters.
The CAG and Corruption
The CAG of India verifies the expenditure done from all national and regional funds. Thus, he is indirectly responsible for validating whether the funds are appropriately utilized or not. And for this reason, the CAG is the controller of unlawful financial activities by the union or the state governments.
A Way Forward
The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is an important office in India. But the powers of the CAG are quite limited. For example, his freedom is limited with regards to the audit of receipts, stores, and stock. Also, he can’t check or audit the secret service expenditure of the government. The propriety audit of the CAG is also discretionary in nature.
In simple terms, we can say that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is fulfilling the role of an Auditor General but lacks the role of a Comptroller. In practice, money is drawn from the funds without the authority of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. This issue needs improvement to develop the fiscal economy of India.