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New bill will empower CAG to audit accounts
April, 06th 2010

To bring in more transparency in the expenditure on its flagship schemes, the UPA government is likely to introduce a new CAG bill in the monsoon session of Parliament that will empower its official auditor to review accounts of panchayati raj institutions and NGOs.

A lot of funds directly transferred by the government to these institutions under its flagship schemes go beyond the checks of the statutory audit of the CAG. Many times it is not easily known how much expenditure has actually taken place.

"We expect it to be tabled in the coming (monsoon) session of Parliament," CAG Vinod Rai told reporters here on the sidelines of the 25th Accountants General Conference.

The new bill, which will replace the CAG Act, 1971, is being vetted by the law ministry and will go to the Cabinet for approval, Rai said, adding it was unlikely to be taken up in the current session of Parliament.

"We want to prepare a new Act which have the new models of administration, new delivery channels to bring them into the legal mandate," he said.

"While such access is stipulated in our current mandate, we often face difficulties in enforcing such access in a timely manner. We must have at least the same powers that the citizen has in enforcing his right to information under the RTI Act," he added.

The new bill is also likely to give the official auditor the much required authority to review accounts of public-private partnership projects on the same lines that it does for government departments.

Rai advocated "changing of mindset of government functionaries" as often there is indifference of the executive on audit findings.

He said the much-talked about shift to the accrual basis of accounting will take another 5-6 years. "A majority of the states have accorded their approval to shift to accrual basis of accounting. They are waiting for the government to take the leadership," he added.

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