The institution of the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) is critical to the smooth and efficient operation of the Indian government machinery.
The office of the CAG is intended to establish the rigour and uniformity of government accounts on the one hand, while also carrying out the responsibility of conducting independent audits on the other. It is based on the system of financial accountability that existed during the British era.
The CAG was given a prominent position in the constitution of independent India due to its critical role in ensuring the sanctity efficiency and effectiveness of the government accounts in the country, demonstrating its ancestry to the Indian audit and accounts department, which was established for the first time in 1753.
Appointment to the CAG
The president appoints the CAG by warrant under his hand and seal for a period of six years or until the age of 65, whichever comes first, according to Article 148 of the constitution. His removal from office is being considered in the same way and on the same grounds as that of a 'Judge' of the supreme court.
Prior to assuming office duties, the CAG is required to take an oath before the president or any other person appointed by him in accordance with the form set out in the 3rd schedule of the Constitution.
In other ways, the service conditions are largely equivalent to those of a secretary of the Government of India when placed on an equal footing with a judge of the Supreme Court in terms of office appointment, removal, and so on.
His terms of service, however, cannot be changed to his disadvantage during his tenure, and he will be ineligible for an appointment to any government or state office following his retirement from the CAG position.
What are the functions of 'CAG'?
The office's independence and function autonomy become a precondition due to the nature and significance of the CAG's function. As a result, the constitution contains numerous provisions ensuring the CAG's independence.
The most significant change in this regard is the length of his term and the procedure for removing him from office.
The requirements for the removal; House of parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of the house and minimum of two-thirds of those present and voting on the basis of roof misbehaviour or incapacity.
Following his appointment to the office, his service conditions, as well as his salary and other pension benefits, can be changed to his disadvantage.
He will also abstain from holding any office in the Government of India or any state government following his retirement to protect himself from any executive element of enticement that might tempt him to compromise on the performance of his duties.
Thus, the CAG is required to prescribe the manner in which the Union's and states' accounts are to be kept, with the president's approval, in addition to performing such other duties and exercising his powers in relation to the founders of the Union and states, as well as any bodies or authorities, as may be prescribed by a law passed by parliament, and to report to the president of the governors.
He is also responsible for determining and certifying the net proceeds of any tax or duty mentioned in Chapter 1 of Part 12 of the constitution, Article 279 (1) of the constitution.
In 1976, a significant shift in the CAG's function lumen occurred when the office's accounting function was hired out and transferred to various departments. As a result, the CAG has the primary responsibility of auditing the accounts kept by various departments and reporting to the president on its findings.
Recently the CAG under Vinod Raj has constantly been in the limelight for its reports exposing mega corruption, particularly in 2G Spectrum Case, Commonwealth Games scam, Coal mine allocation scam and others.
What are the duties that the 'CAG' performs?
The CAG (DPC) (Duties, Powers, and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was enacted in accordance with the constitution's provisions. The CAG's responsibilities, according to various provisions, include the audit of:
Receipts and expenditures from the Consolidated Fund of India, as well as the Consolidated Funds of States and Union Territories with legislative assemblies.
Companies Act of 2013, as amended, governs government corporations.
The Consolidated Funds of the Union and State Governments are used to fund a number of authorities and bodies. Anyone or any authority that is audited by the CAG, even if it is not primarily funded from the Consolidated Fund.
Trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets, as well as other subsidiary accounts, are kept in any Government department; store and stock accounts that are kept in Government offices or departments.
Corporations formed by or under legislation enacted by Parliament and operating in accordance with the provisions of the legislation.
Government grants and loans to organisations and authorities for specific purposes.
Under Technical Guidance and Support, entrusted audits, such as those of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies (TGS).
The 14th CAG of India is Girish Chandra Murmu.
Removal of CAG
Only proven misbehaviour or incapacity, as determined by both houses of parliament, can result in the CAG's removal. The CAG resigns from office when he or she reaches the age of 65, or when his or her six-year term ends, whichever comes first, or when impeachment proceedings are completed.