The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) will come out with its first digital audit report, a complete paperless exercise, with its performance appraisal of the Goods and Services Tax, expected to come out sometime towards the end of this calendar year.
Digital audit is an exercise where the federal auditor has made it mandatory for all government departments to provide only digital copies of documents to be audited, no paper documents will be accepted, former CAG S K Sharma told TOI. Sharma retired last month after a fouryear tenure.
Sharma said he had recently inaugurated a Centre of Excellence in Digital Audit at Bengaluru for capacity building of its officials to adopt to technology and use of data analytics. "The GST from an auditor's perspective will require a change in revenue auditing structure on account of merger of multiple taxes," he said on the need for the auditor to adopt to digital auditing in future.
The auditor is also focusing on Big Data and cloud sourcing of information from various public domain to widen the scope of its audit. Already CAG has taken up 24 pilot projects covering almost every state where data analytics has been incorporated in its various ongoing audits of government schemes. It is intended to analyse the impact of such central programmes at the grassroot level.
"Recognising its (big data) immense potential, we came out with a 'big data' policy for our department," Sharma said and explained how the auditor has set up a `big data' centre at its headquarters in Delhi for the purpose of data analytics. The officers are being trained in data analytics and its use in auditing central schemes.
The federal auditor has also tied up with the Harvard Kennedy School and IIM Bangalore besides some leading private auditing firms for the training of its officials.