ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Meaning of the Attack on the CAG

The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General is an essential instrument for enforcing the accountability of the executive to Parliament. It is wrong, as in the coal blocks and other recent cases, to cast aspersions on the CAG for pointing out the omissions and commissions of the government. The office of the CAG has done what it is expected to do as a guardian of national finance. Unfortunately the issue has got politicised with the leading opposition party upping the ante. The recent CAG's reports will have served their purpose if attention is drawn to some critical policy issues on the role and conduct of private sector in infrastructure development.

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on allocation of coal blocks has become a subject of acrimonious debate all over the country. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has stalled the working of Parliament and has demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The ruling Congress has been defending its action and the prime minster has taken the unprecedented step of making a statement in the House and has observed that the report is flawed and disputable. Charges have been made that the CAG has overstepped his mandate. The controversy raises a vital issue about the role and function of the CAG. Let us first look at the main contents of three reports submitted in the monsoon session of Parliament relating to allocation of coal blocks, mega power projects and private participation in the Indira Gandhi Airport.1

Allocation of Coal Blocks

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