“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) has a crucial role to play in ensuring that public funds are used effectively and transparently. As outlined in Article 148 of the Indian Constitution, the CAG is responsible for auditing the government’s finances and overseeing government-owned businesses. The method and terms of the CAG’s appointment, as well as the range of powers he can exercise, reflect the importance of his job.
The CAG’s appointment is a rigorous process that ensures his independence from any political party. The President of India appoints the CAG by placing his hand on the appointment letter. The CAG’s position is secure, as he cannot be removed from office due to bias. The President is the only authority who can remove the CAG, and his term of office is set for five years or until he turns 65. The CAG’s salary and pension are funded from the Consolidated Fund of India, which is not subject to a vote.
The CAG’s powers are extensive, enabling him to scrutinize the government’s finances and activities thoroughly. He can review the government’s annual budget, expenditures, and the allocation of funds. Additionally, the CAG is empowered to help the Public Accounts Committee conduct audits and provide valuable advice. The CAG has the authority to review the finances of government companies, companies in which the government holds a majority stake, and state government institutions and companies.
Furthermore, the CAG can audit local government entities such as panchayats, district councils, and zonal councils. If requested, he can also audit other institutions outside of the local government. However, it is worth noting that the CAG’s approach to auditing in India differs from that of other countries. In India, the CAG audits how money has been spent after it has already been spent, while in other countries, the CAG can control how money is spent.
To ensure that the CAG’s office remains impartial, he cannot work for the government again after retiring. His powers and appointment process are designed to demonstrate the importance of his role in holding the government accountable and ensuring transparency.
In conclusion, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) plays a crucial role in ensuring that public funds are used effectively and transparently. His appointment and powers reflect the significance of his job, which is critical in a parliamentary democracy. The CAG’s independence, coupled with his extensive powers, ensures that the government’s finances are audited, and people are held accountable for their actions.