At a time when the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is embroiled in a controversy over its purported ‘overreaching’ role in its recent audit reports, President Pranab Mukherjee has said constitutionally-appointed bodies need to adhere to the fine and calibrated system of checks and balances.
“An attempt by any organ of the state to overreach will lead to dissonance within the system. It is, therefore, necessary that all constitutional authorities their respective roles,” Mukherjee has said in his address during the 26th Conference of Accountants General.
The CAG’s address, however, stood out in contrast with what the President had to say.
“Public audit is as much a partner in upgrading governance as any other government department. We cannot don the role of cheerleaders,” said Vinod Rai, CAG.
Underscoring the fact that the state’s action cannot solely be quantified in monetary terms, Rai said, “We are conscious that many of the actions of government cannot be measured solely in terms of money. Social objectives, in many cases, cannot be quantified.”
“It has been our endeavour to look beyond the financials and judge the results.”
Variant stands was also obvious in what the chairpersons of two key financial committees of Parliament — Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU) — had to say.
Jagambika Pal, Congress leader and COPU chairman, asked the CAG to refrain from verifying the rationale behind public policies.
On the other hand, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who heads the PAC, lamented erosion in respect for constitutional provisions, institutions, procedures and rules of parliamentary conduct.