Not Just an Accountant by Rai Vinod

Not Just an Accountant by Rai Vinod

Author:Rai, Vinod [Rai, Vinod]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9788129134509
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Published: 2014-10-09T18:30:00+00:00


Let it not be anyone’s case that there is no scope for discussion, or indeed dissent, in the department. As the CAG, I had followed an open door policy; officers did not even have to take prior appointment. They were at liberty to walk in and discuss all issues, official and personal. Consultation and consensus building was the hallmark of the department. Major issues were always discussed in the senior management meetings, which were religiously held every month. Opinions were freely aired. Hence, the question of a colleague not being able to voice an opinion is totally contrary to the position in the headquarters. I am not in the least suggesting that the CAG did not exercise his judgement or discretion. Yes, it was exercised, but invariably after reasons were recorded in writing. If an oral opinion was expressed by an officer and did not meet with support, the officer would be personally informed of the grounds for not accepting his viewpoint.

I should cite a couple of instances in support of my assertion. On 4 October 2011, I was aghast to see on the first page of The Indian Express the following headline: ‘CAG’s Latest Ambition: Let Us Audit the Padma Awards Now’.61 The report mentioned that the CAG had sought documents from the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to facilitate an audit of the Padma Awards. The MHA had declined to make these records available and had the backing in this decision of the highest law officers in the government; besides, the files had been seen by P. Chidambaram, the home minister, himself a legal luminary. The news item went on to mention that the ‘CAG’ had a copy of the rules governing conferment of the awards; that the ‘CAG’ sought a brief note on the procedures for selection; that the ‘CAG’ persisted with his request. The trend in the media in recent times is to label all draft reports, even at the state level, as CAG reports—though the poor CAG or his officers in the headquarters do not even have a whiff of such reports in the early stages! In this case too, the poor CAG was learning of the proposed audit for the first time from the newspapers. I was shocked. Besides holding the opinion that we were wasting our time on an issue such as this one, I was astonished that so much correspondence had taken place and that no one had brought this to my notice.

A word on the audit procedure. The field officer for auditing the government of India offices in Delhi is the director general of audit, central expenditure (DGACE), Delhi. He prepares his audit plan and, after discussions with the concerned deputy CAG, implements it. There are about 104 such field offices conducting audits round the year. It is thus only natural that the CAG will not have knowledge of all the audits in progress at any point of time, as about 3,000 audit parties are typically conducting audits in different locations of the country.



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