Comptroller and Auditor General
There are several provisions enshrined in the Constitution to safeguard his independent function. These are:
- He is appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal and his oath of office requires him to uphold the Constitution of India and laws made there under.
- He shall hold office for a term of six years from the date on which he assumes such office, provided that where he attains the age of 65 years before the expiry of the said term of six years, he shall vacate such office on the date on which he attains the said age and that he may, at any time, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.
- He can be removed from office only on grounds of proven misbehavior or incapacity after an address by both the Houses of Parliament supported by a two thirds majority.
- His salary and conditions of service can not be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.
- He shall not be eligible for further office under the Government of India or of any State after retirement.
- His administrative powers and the conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department shall be prescribed by rules made by the President only after consulting him.
- The administrative expenses of his office are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India and are not subject to being voted by Parliament.
The legal basis for the auditorial functions of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is provided by the Comptroller and Auditor General's ( Duties, Powers, and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971. Although India has a federal set up, the Constitution provides for a Unitary audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who conducts audit of the accounts of both the Union and the State Governments.
The organisations subject to audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India are:
- All the Union and State Government departments, including departmental commercial undertakings such as the Indian Railways, Posts and Telecommunications.
- Public commercial enterprises controlled by the Union and the State Governments- ie. Government companies and corporations.
- Non-commercial autonomous bodies and authorities owned or controlled by the Union or the States.
- Authorities and bodies substantially financed from Union or State Revenues.
- Companies where the equity participation by Government is 51 per cent or more.
- Any authority or body, not being a foreign state or international organisation, which get any grant or loan for any specific purpose from the Consolidated Fund of India or of any State or any Union territory having a Legislative Assembly.
- Audit of all receipts which are payable into the Consolidated Fund of India and each of State and each of Union territory having a Legislative Assembly.
- Audit of the Regulatory bodies such as Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) and Insurance Regulatory Authority and Development Authority. However, role of audit of the Regulatory Authorities are at present confined only to the extent of certifications of their accounts as audit scrutiny over regulatory functions is still somewhat nebulous.
Under the Comptroller and Auditor General's ( Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act 1971, he is empowered to :
- make rules for carrying out the provisions relating to the maintenance of accounts.
- make regulations for carrying out the provisions relating to the scope and extent of audit, including laying down for the guidance of the Government departments the general principles of Government accounting and the broad principles in regard to audit of receipts and expenditure.
- requisitioning of all records of the auditee departments/organisations.
- access the computer systems of the auditees and to download and use electronic data either in site or off site.
- review the development of computer systems of auditees and suggest/enforce controls
- the appointment of external auditors engaged by the auditees for meeting any statutory requirements but only with reference to Government companies.
- to supervise and regulate external auditors' work under the Indian Companies Act.
- dispense with, when circumstances so warrant, any part of detailed audit of any accounts or class of transactions and to apply such limited check in relation to such accounts or transactions as he may determine.
Audit Procedures And Functions
While fulfilling his constitutional obligations, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India conducts the following types of audit:
- Financial Audit
- Compliance Audit
- Performance Audit
- EDP Audit.
Further, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India undertakes Special Audit at the request of the Government.
The Comptroller and Auditor is required to follow specific standards, practices and guidelines in conducting auditing and reporting. He can engage consultants and/or obtain professional services in conducting audit. He can also consult and collaborate with other countries/SAIs and International Organisations on matters relating to audit.
Apart from the certificates of the Appropriation and Finance accounts of the Union and of various States and submission of separate Audit reports on Statutory Corporations and other autonomous bodies for which he is the sole auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India brings out a large number of reports relating to the Union Government and the State Governments. These reports incorporate important audit findings and performance reviews of systems, projects and programmes and comprehensive appraisals of public enterprises and other bodies and authorities.
He also reports on acts that infringe upon State economic interest like mass embezzlement of State assets, serious losses and wastes. These reports are laid before the Parliament and State Legislatures concerned, every year. He can share his audit reports with public and media only after laying them in the Parliament and the State Legislatures. Some of these reports are selected by the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament and State Legislatures for detailed discussions and recommendations. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India assists the Public Accounts Committee by vetting the Action Taken Notes on these selected Reports
SAI, India is constituted as an audit office with monocratic status with an a Comptroller and Auditor General. He discharges his multifarious duties through the Indian Audit and Accounts Department. The Department is functionally organised into over 100 specialised formations throughout the country. At the apex of the Department is the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General. This office directs, monitors and controls all activities concerned with audit, accounts, entitlement functions of the Department. It is responsible for development of organisational objectives and policies, audit standards and systems, management of the manpower and material resources of the department and final processing and approval of the Audit reports.
There are separate divisions dealing with Accounts and Entitlements, Civil Audit, Railway Audit, Commercial Audit, Revenue Audit, EDP Audit, etc. headed by the Deputy/Additional Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General and Principal Directors. Offices of the Accountants General (Audit) are responsible for audit of all receipts and expenditure of the State governments and audit of State Government companies, corporations and autonomous bodies. Offices of the Principal Directors of Audit are responsible for audit of the activities of the Union Government, including Civil
Ministries and departments, Overseas Establishments, Defence, Railways and Post and Telecommunications. There is a separate organisational set up for the audit of Union Public Undertakings. Another unique feature of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is the constitution of Audit Boards for conducting comprehensive audit appraisals of the working of Public Sector Enterprises engaged in diverse sectors of the economy.
Administrative Functions And Miscellaneous
The basic level of audit and accounts personnel are given rigorous induction training and equipped with the expertise for their work on passing a departmental examination. For their up-gradation, the department also organises higher level professional training and qualifying examinations in various branches of accounts and audit. Further, eight Regional Training Institutes located in various regions of the country conduct a large number of refreshers and specialisation courses.
The officers directly recruited through the Union Public service Commission or on promotion from within the department are exposed to a foundational course at the National Academy of Administration and imparted professional training- at the National Academy of Audit and Accounts and at the National Institute of Financial Management in the areas of accounting and auditing, financial management, personnel regulations, cost and management accounting, management concepts, quantitative techniques and electronic data processing.
In order to share the experience with other sister institutions, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has established an International Training Centre which organises a. number of training programmes for the Supreme Audit Institutions of the African, Asian, and Pacific regions on a variety of audit themes.
As the most important instrument of accountability, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has a dual role to perform as an agency to function on behalf of the Legislature to ensure that the executive complies with the various laws passed by the Legislature in letter and spirit, and secondly, on behalf of the Executive to ensure compliance by subordinate authorities with the rules and orders issued by it. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, as the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, is thus neither a part of the Legislature nor the Executive but is an officer created by the Constitution to see that diverse authorities act in regard to all financial matters in accordance with the Constitution and the laws and rules framed there under.