Government examining CAG demand on auditing schemes (Lead)

August 3rd, 2010 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The government is examining the Comptroller and Auditor General’s demand to keep telecom and petroleum sector regulators within its audit ambit and arm it with more powers to probe the centre’s various flagship schemes.
Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena informed the Rajya Sabha Tuesday in separate written replies to questions by AIADMK member A. Elavarasan and Shiv Sena member Sanajy Raut.

In reply to Elavarasan’s query, Meena said the government is examining CAG’s demand that various regulators, including those of the telecom and petroleum sectors, must not be kept outside its audit jurisdiction.

“CAG has asked government to ensure that statute of the regulatory bodies do not have the restrictive provisions for CAG audit,” said Meena.

The CAG had made the demand pointing out that “the provisions of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1971 and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006 keep the decisions taken by these regulatory authorities outside the audit jurisdiction.”

It has also sought scrapping of the provisions which have restricted its audit jurisdiction over the two regulators.

“The government has sought views of the concerned ministries on this demand made by CAG,” said Meena.

Responding to Raut’s query as to whether the government’s statutory auditor has favoured more accountability on the government’s flagship schemes, Meena said the CAG has sought replacement of the 1971 statute governing it by a new one.

“The CAG office has forwarded in June this year to the government a revised draft bill seeking to replace the existing Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act 1971 by a new law titled ‘Audit of Public Money and the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act 2010,” said the minister.

As the proposals in the draft bill impacts various areas of governance, the government has launched a consultation process with various ministries, departments and the state governments, said Meena.

He added that after due consultation, a bill may be introduced in parliament.

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