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CAG seeks power to plug serious gaps in flagship audits
July, 06th 2010

The governments statutory auditor has sought greater powers to audit the spending of the flagship schemes, joining the call for more accountability in the administration of such programmes.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had, in some earlier reports, criticised the effectiveness of schemes such as NREGA in several parts of the country. The CAG has a limited mandate to audit the functioning of these schemes.

This is a serious impairment in the role of legislative oversight over government spending and needs to be revisited, said Vinod Rai, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The present structure forced implementing agencies of such schemes outside legislative oversight, as they go without any report of their performance placed in the legislature, he said at a function in New Delhi.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday also aired similar views, saying there were serious gaps in the accountability framework of the flagship programmes implemented through private agencies, which are beyond the audit scope of the CAG.

Most of these schemes are implemented by panchayats and municipal bodies or by direct transfer of funds from central ministries to registered government societies at various levels. she said.

Referring to the public-private partnership (PPP) model used by central and state governments in the infrastructure sector, the Lok Sabha speaker said it was essential for the government to ensure that services being delivered through such arrangements met time, cost and quality standards.

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