Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday asked the government auditor CAG to distinguish between wrongdoing and genuine errors, and to appreciate the context and circumstances of official decisions.
On a day the CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation indicting Telecom Minister A Raja was made public, Singh said a heavy responsibility has been cast on the institution of CAG to ensure that its reports are accurate, balanced and fair.
"This requires a very high degree of professional skill and competence," he said at the inauguration of 150 years celebration of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Stating that CAG reports are taken very seriously by the media, public and Parliament, he said, "This casts a huge responsibility on the institution to ensure that its reports are accurate, balanced and fair.
"Very often there is a very thin line between fair criticism and fault finding, between hazarding a guess and making a reasonable estimate, between a bonafide error and a deliberate mistake."
Though stating that benefits of detailed propriety audit cannot be under-estimated, the Prime Minister said, "There is a case for allocating limited time and resources in a manner that big and systemic issues get due attention and we get much greater value for money.
Singh said that there has been a feeling that benefits would be more if the focus of audit was not so much on minute, individual transactions, but on big ticket items on which large sums of money are expended.
The Prime Minister said that CAG would have to further enhance its capability and its skills and reorient itself to deliver results that the nation expects of it in the years ahead.
"As an important watchdog in our democracy it falls upon this institution to separate the wheat from the chaff, to distinguish wrongdoing and errors, to appreciate the context and circumstances of decision," he said while complimenting CAG for its role in the last 150 years.