“Such unfettered power comes with equally big responsibility”

On the day the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the 2G spectrum allocation was tabled in Parliament, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said it was the “bounden duty” of the CAG to ensure that the power to criticise was exercised “in the best possible manner and in public interest alone.”

[The report talked of how the Union Communications and Information Technology Ministry, which was headed by A. Raja during 2007-2010, had ignored the advice of Prime Minister besides Law and Finance Ministries.]

Pointing out that the CAG had the valuable gift of power to criticise, Mr. Karunanidhi, whose speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin at the inauguration of the 150th anniversary celebration of the institution here on Tuesday, said, “Such unfettered power comes with equally big responsibility.”

Audit will be more useful if the institution is able to make necessary progress and to evaluate not only inputs and processes but also inputs and even outcomes, he said.

Praising the CAG, the Chief Minister said it had made significant contributions to the glorious democratic traditions that the country had nurtured . The CAG played a vital role in seeing to that the money was accounted for and spent in a proper manner.

In this context, he noted that the public had a right to demand most effective deployment of such resources as it was from whom resources were raised. Inaugurating the celebration, Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said the CAG's role in public financial accountability and probity was remarkable and deserved commendation.

There had been a paradigm shift in public audit – from the traditional boundaries of compliance and regularity audit of post-mortem nature to evaluating performance of government schemes/programmes and their effectiveness to society. Pointing out that since 1990s, the CAG had been involved in the prestigious audit of UN and its affiliated organisations, the Governor said the institution was looked upon by the international auditing community to provide leadership in evolving areas such as information technology audit and performance audit.

Assembly Speaker R. Avudaiappan and Principal Accountant Generals R.S. Rangarajan, Subhashini Srinivasan and Revathi Bedi, participated in the function.