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ICAI to help states audit welfare plans
October, 10th 2008

State governments have started taking active interest in ensuring the money they spend through various schemes deliver the intended outcome.

Steps in this regard have been initiated by Karnataka, Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Delhi, which have roped in the services of accounting regulator ICAI to keep a track on their public finances allocated towards various projects.

The idea is to bring in more transparency in the way their money is used for welfare measures by keeping a close eye on the outcome of their budgetary outlay.

The states that are in regular consultations with experts from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India are also stressing on bringing more transparency in the way local authorities or municipal bodies prepare their financial statements.

The overall objective behind getting the services of the regulator is to usher in international best practices in the way state finances are handled.

ICAI president Ved Jain said the institutes public finance committee is in talks with various chief ministers and state authorities to chalk out a scheme to regularly analyse and review public finance. The initiative would include analysing the budgetary expenditure of states as also to track the end use of their funds, Mr Jain told ET.

Government officials indicated the move was in consonance with the larger objective of ensuring the states are made more accountable in completion of various social welfare schemes.

It is understood that much of the consultations undertaken by ICAI is free of cost for the states. One of the recent projects initiated by ICAI was on behalf of the Kerala government on insurance and risk management within the state territory. Officials point out there are many other states which would benefit out of the services of the ICAI in the recent future.

Mr Jain said the aim behind the initiative was to ensure better corporate governance standards in states and their agencies. It is indeed gratifying to observe that this Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) initiative has made head-way over the past few months, he said.

The institute is joining hands with central and state governments in implementing economic policies and assisting them to ensure greater accountability and improve the quality of deployment of public money.

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