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Question #

“The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise.

ChatGPT Answer #

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is an important constitutional position in many countries, including India. The role of the CAG is to ensure transparency, accountability, and financial integrity in the government's functioning. This is reflected in both the method and terms of their appointment, as well as the extensive powers they can exercise.

1. Method of appointment: The CAG is appointed by the President or the Governor, depending on whether it is at the national or state level. However, the appointment process involves consultation with the Prime Minister or Chief Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, and the Leader of the Opposition. This consultative process ensures that the CAG's appointment is independent and unbiased.

2. Tenure and removal: The CAG has a fixed tenure of six years or until they attain the age of 65, whichever is earlier. This long tenure ensures their independence from political influences. Further, the CAG can only be removed through impeachment by a special majority resolution passed by both houses of Parliament or State Legislature, ensuring protection against arbitrary removal.

3. Powers and functions: The CAG has extensive powers to audit both financial and non-financial aspects of the government's functioning. They can conduct financial and performance audits, including audits of government departments, autonomous bodies, corporations, and even private entities involved in government contracts. The CAG can examine the accounts, reports, and records related to the utilization of public funds. They can also scrutinize policies and programs to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. Additionally, the CAG has the power to summon witnesses, call for documents, and enforce attendance and production of necessary information.

4. Reporting and accountability: The CAG presents audit reports to the President or the Governor, who in turn present them to the Parliament or State Legislature, respectively. These reports highlight instances of financial irregularities, non-compliance, wasteful expenditure, or inefficiencies in the government's functioning. The reports are then taken up by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for examination and discussion. This ensures that the findings of the CAG are thoroughly scrutinized, and necessary actions can be taken based on their recommendations.

Overall, the method of appointment, tenure, and powers granted to the CAG reflect their vital role in maintaining financial integrity and accountability in the government's functioning. The CAG's independence, extensive audits, and reporting mechanisms serve as important checks and balances in ensuring transparency and efficiency in the use of public funds.

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