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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

4-September-2023

Q1. What are the duties and power of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India? Mention about the constitutional provisions for their independent working?

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is an independent authority (under Article 148 to 151) that audits and reports on the use of public funds by the government of India and its agencies. The CAG is the guardian of the public purse and ensures that public funds are used effectively and efficiently, and that public accounts are properly maintained.

Duties and powers of CAG:

The Constitution and CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 prescribes the following duties and powers of CAG:

  • Audit of accounts: The CAG is responsible for auditing the accounts of the Union government, State governments and other public sector entities. This includes the audit of receipts and expenditures of the government, revenue and expenditure audits of departments, statutory corporations, and public sector undertakings.
  • Audit of government accounts: CAG audits all expenditure from Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated Fund of states, Contingency fund of India, Public Account of India and states.
  • Scrutiny of financial transactions: The CAG scrutinizes financial transactions and examines whether the expenditure incurred by the government and its agencies was in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and applicable laws.
  • Report to Parliament: The CAG submits its audit reports to the President and Governor related to the accounts of centre and states respectively that are laid in the Parliament and State legislatures. (Article 151)
  • Special audit: The CAG can conduct a special audit if there is suspicion of financial mismanagement or fraud.
  • Advisory role: The CAG advises the government and its agencies on financial matters and helps in the formulation of accounting and auditing standards.
  • Performance audit: The CAG conducts performance audits of government schemes and programs to assess their effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Public Account Committee: CAG acts as a friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
  • Accounts of States: CAG compiles and maintains the accounts of the state governments.

Constitutional provisions for independent working:

  • Appointment and removal: The CAG is appointed by the President of India, and the Constitution provides that they can only be removed from office through an impeachment process similar to that of judges of the Supreme Court.
  • Tenure: The CAG’s term is six years, or until they reach the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
  • Salary and conditions of service: The CAG’s salary and conditions of service are determined by the Parliament, and cannot be altered to their disadvantage during their term in office.
  • Financial autonomy: The CAG’s office is financially autonomous, and their expenses are charged to the Consolidated Fund of India. This ensures that the CAG is not dependent on the government for their functioning.
  • Jurisdiction: The CAG has the power to audit all receipts and expenditures of the government of India and its agencies, as well as the accounts of the State governments and local bodies.
  • Reporting: The CAG submits its reports directly to the President or Governor, who in turn submits them to the Parliament or State legislature. This ensures that the CAG is not accountable to the government, but to the Parliament or State legislature.
  • Non-eligibility for further office: As per Article 148(3), the CAG is not eligible for any further office under the Government of India or the government of any State after demitting office.
  • No representation by a Minister in Parliament: As per Article 148(4), the CAG cannot be represented by a Minister in Parliament or in the Legislature of any State and no minister can be called upon to take any responsibility for any actions done by him.

Conclusion:

Thus, the CAG is a constitutional authority ensuring transparency in public funds use. CAG upholds the Constitution of India and laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration and is one of the bulwarks of the democratic system of government in India.

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