“The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (150 words)

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India plays a crucial role as the supreme audit institution, ensuring fiscal accountability and governance. Established under Article 148 of the Indian Constitution, the CAG’s responsibilities and powers reflect the institution’s significance in Indian democracy, particularly in the context of recent developments.

Method and Terms of CAG’s Appointment:

  • Appointment Process: The CAG is appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal.
  • Tenure: The CAG holds office for a term of 6 years or until the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Resignation: The CAG can resign at any time by addressing a resignation letter to the President.

Range of Powers:

  • Audit Scope: The CAG audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and State Governments, including autonomous bodies and corporations substantially financed by the government.
  • Statutory Auditor: Acts as the statutory auditor of government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audits of government companies.
  • Reports to Parliament: The CAG’s reports are laid before the Parliament and state legislatures for discussion by Public Accounts Committees and Committees on Public Undertakings.
  • Broad Auditing Powers: Audits include government accounts, transactions related to public accounts, and contingency funds of the Union and states.
  • Independence Ensured: The salary and other conditions of service of the CAG are determined by Parliament and cannot be varied to their disadvantage after appointment.

To enhance the effectiveness of the CAG, a transparent and merit-based appointment process, coupled with advanced audit techniques and greater public engagement in audit processes, would further strengthen this vital institution.

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