Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said that the ongoing controversy over the losses incurred in the 2G spectrum allocation scam had raised serious questions about the auditing done by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
“I have had an occasion to interact with those in Delhi and there is a need to ask, whether, is it a scientific way of doing it or are we playing to the gallery?” said Chavan, who was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the 150th anniversary of the institution of CAG in India held in Mumbai. “How can presumptive loss vary from Rs 2,800 crore to Rs 4 lakh?”
In response to public accounts committee (PAC) chairman Girish Bapat’s call for greater powers and reforms for the institution of CAG, Chavan said he was not sure about ushering in reforms since we seemed to be in a hurry to change everything, even the Constitution.
Bapat also called for Maharashtrian or Marathi speaking auditors, saying there was often serious communication problem between CAG auditors and legislators of PAC. Chavan agreed that auditors should have basic knowledge of the language to communicate with legislators from rural areas.
In an oblique reference to Team Anna’s demands, Chavan said, “We want laws to be passed soon, even if they can cause greater harm if passed without adequate deliberation.”
Chavan spoke about the need for reforms in the way the budget is presented. He said we present a separate railway budget because it’s a colonial legacy. “Is there any reason to have a separate railway budget," he asked. He also said there was discussion over the time of the budget, with suggestions that it should be presented post monsoon to take into account agriculture scenario.
Chavan pointed out that as a nation we were clearly in a transition mode where a wide range of issues were being debated because people were demanding more transparency and cleaner governance and as such “all of us (in the government)” have to meet their expectation.
He said there was discussion in the government over bringing the whistleblowers law, the Foreign Corruption Act, regulations to curb corruption in private sector and whether CBI should function under the Lokpal.