CAG can't play the role of cheer leaders: Rai
20 January 2013Press Trust of India
BHUBANESWAR, 20 JAN: Maintaining that auditors cannot simply be “cheer leaders”, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai today said their mandate is to hold the government financially accountable to the legislature.“Our role is not merely to audit the expenditure of government. Our mandate is not merely to prepare Audit Report and place them in Parliament. Our mandate is to hold the government financially accountable to the legislature. We cannot don the role of cheer leaders,” Mr Rai said delivering Harekrushna Mahatab memorial lecture here.
Obviously referring to statements of certain politicians in power on the role of CAG in recent years, Mr Rai said CAG's professional specialisation is to point out sub-optimality in policy formulation, lacuna in policy implementation and to provide constructive suggestions for overcoming inadequacies.
Since young citizenry will seek a voice in administration and policy formulation, Mr Rai said it becomes incumbent upon to audit and to sensitise public opinion on its findings in the course of audit. “We have also taken steps to disseminate our major audit findings in schemes implemented in the social sector through small pamphlets,” he said.
Though elected executives is supreme in parliamentary democracy, Mr Rai said the bureaucracy need to be bold and loyal to the Constitution and not to any “individual”.
“They (bureaucracy) have to keep the nation in focus and not hold to their 'kursi'. The Indian Bureaucracy has all the muscles - at times these turn to fat and get lodged in the wrong places!” Mr Rai said.
Stating that elected representatives were agents of the will of the people, Rai said, “They do not need to be advised to reform. They can put in place measures of self reform. No election commission or other agency can restrict muscle or money power in elections. Participants in this exercise only can.”
Activating of RTI, whistle-blowers and Lokayuktas will have to be made permanent, he suggested, adding the basic quality of accountability will have to be ingrained in every government functionary. “The political executive, bureaucracy and lower judiciary cannot assume that they are immune to accountability,” the CAG said.
On the role of probity and accountability in good governance, Mr Rai said a new code of morality and ethics will not only have to be put in place, but overseen by citizens groups.
Lamenting mediocre attitude among Indians, Mr Rai at a seminar on “Pursuit of Excellence: Role of Governance”, said, “A reason for our lack of excellence in performance is because we do not choose the best. There is no transparency in our procedure. No integrity in our professionalism. Lack of such ethical practice leads to lack of good governance.”
Stating that governance must be founded on impeccable standard of ethics, transparency and accountability, Mr Rai said the East India Company founded centuries ago has gone into oblivion due to its dishonest activities. The country is poised at a critical juncture, he said, adding that society desires participative governance and “our leaders must recognise that the outcome of such participation will lead to excellence.”