Question – Referring to the provisions mentioned in the constitution to ensure the independence of the CAG, state that the role of the CAG is important for the accountability of the executive to the Parliament in the field of financial administration. – 20 December 2021
Answer – In a parliamentary democracy, the executive is a part of the legislature and is accountable to the legislature for its actions. Financial accountability is an important aspect of this responsibility. To ensure this, provision has been made in the Constitution of India (Article 148) for an independent office for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The CAG is the custodian of public money and audits the entire financial system of the Center as well as the states. Its duty is to uphold the Constitution of India and the laws of the Parliament in the field of financial administration.
Financial Responsibility and CAG
- The Public Accounts Committee is one of the most important standing committees of the Parliament. The function of the committee is to examine the annual audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
- The CAG presents three types of audits to the President – Audit Report on Appropriation Accounts, Audit Report on Finance Accounts and Audit Report on Public Undertakings.
- Public Accounts Committee examines public expenditure not only from legal and formal point of view to reveal technical irregularities but also from the point of view of economy, prudence, rationality and authority so as to avoid wastage, loss, corruption, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure. be brought to the fore.
- In the discharge of its functions, the committee is assisted by the CAG. In fact, the CAG acts as a guide, friend and philosopher to the committee.
- The role of the CAG is to uphold the Constitution of India and the legislation of the Parliament in the field of financial administration. The accountability of the executive (ie, the Council of Ministers) to the Parliament in the area of financial administration is secured through audit reports of the CAG.
The Constitution has made the following provisions to ensure and protect the independence of the CAG:
- Security of tenure: These can be removed by the President only according to the procedure mentioned in the Constitution. Thus, he does not hold office during the pleasure of the President, although he must be appointed by the President.
- He cannot hold any other post in the Government of India or the State Government after he has left his post.
- Their salary and other conditions of service are determined by the Parliament. The salary is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
- No unfavorable changes can be made to the CAG’s rights in respect of pay and leave, pension or retirement age after his appointment.
- The conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the administrative powers of the CAG are determined by the President after consultation with the CAG.
- The administrative expenses of the CAG office including salaries, allowances and pension of all persons employed in the office are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Therefore, they cannot be voted on in the Parliament.