For contribution to ensuring that governance systems are transparent, accountable.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office had made a significant contribution to ensuring that governance systems were transparent and accountable.

The President’s comments come at a time when the government has expressed disagreement with some of the CAG’s more recent findings on telecom, coal blocks, airports and the power sector.

Mr. Mukherjee also cautioned that attempts by any organ of the state to overreach itself could lead to “dissonance” in the system. “I am glad that during the past years, CAG’s audit has shifted from routine compliance audit to a more macro perspective. I must, however, stress that while redefining organisational roles and boundaries, all constitutional authorities need to adhere to the fine and calibrated system of checks and balances which forms the bedrock of our governance structures,” Mr. Mukherjee said, speaking at the inauguration of the 26th Conference of Accountants General here.

Referring to the contribution of the audit bodies, he said: “Audit reports are essentially a feedback on the many programmes undertaken by the government. The tone and timeliness of such feedback is, therefore, important. The Central Government releases funds to State Governments and even to the local bodies at district levels. The utilisation of these funds is known to the Central Government only through the mechanism of utilisation certificates. By the time these utilisation certificates are received, the programme has already been implemented. It is thus important that CAG’s reports are presented in time so as to enable mid-course corrections, if required.”

On the Public Accounts Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings, he said that through these panels Parliament and the State Assemblies exercised the oversight functions expected of them. “These institutions have always functioned in a bipartisan manner and have contributed a great deal to the cause of transparency and good governance.”

Mr. Mukherjee said a major paradigm shift was taking place in the country and that there was realisation that governments alone could not do everything.

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