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From watchdog to guide–CAG to help state governments follow best auditing practices

CAG GC Murmu

The Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG) is now aggressively trying to rebuild its image from being the quintessential watchdog finding loopholes in the country’s public expenditure books to a “friend, philosopher and guide,” especially to the state governments.

The CAG has also reached out to all state governments and even the district level administrative bodies seeking cooperation in its audit work.

“We are not in any fault finding mission..we are here to help the state governments so that they can reset and regulate their programmes which in turn will help them use their resources more efficiently,” CAG GC Murmu said, adding that in case audit throws up discrepancies and lacunae, course correction can be done on a timely basis. “This will only help the state governments saving their own resources,” he said.

“We want to be a “friend, philosopher and guide and now just a watchdog,” Murmu said.

Interacting with a select group of media persons, Murmu said that the state governments have come on board. “We have opened communication with the state governments and we had to explain that this will help policymakers straighten up things, once you know the problem, you can fix it,” he said.

Earlier, concerns had risen after Rajasthan said it was looking to set up its own Pay and Accounts Office independently and discard the existing system.

“Any creation of PAO (Pay and Accounts Office) by one State will derail the time tested treasury system where huge human and digital resources have evolved along with corresponding treasury rules and with its inherent system of checks and balances and the linkage of entire IT infrastructure…”, Deputy CAG K R Sriram in a letter to the Chief Secretary, Rajasthan government said.

Meanwhile, Murmu also said that state-of-the-art technology including drones and other data analytical tools are being used by the CAG to ensure efficient and accurate auditing.

With India assuming the presidency of G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) the CAG is now chairing SAI20 (Supreme Audit Institutions) as well as SAI SCO.

In line with the Indian theme of the G20 Presidency- “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, the CAG has selected two priority areas — ‘Blue Economy’ and ‘Responsible AI’ for deliberations.

Also read: Auditing of local bodies key as India aims to touch $5 trillion economy: CAG

CAG wants G-20 auditors on the same page to foster a blue economy