Arun Jaitley counsels CAG

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses the concuding session of the CAG conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty   | Photo Credit: SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

Close on the heels of senior Congress leader and Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chairman K.V. Thomas’ remark that the Comptroller and Auditor General should restrict audits to financial impropriety rather than putting out astronomical figures for notional losses, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too asked the CAG to refrain from sensationalising its findings. An auditor has to be active, but activism and restraint are the two sides of the same coin, Mr. Jaitley said.

“Distinguish between wrong and corrupt decision”

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said an auditor should remain conscious of the fact that he was reviewing a decision that had already been taken and must check if fair procedures had been followed.

Mr. Jaitley was addressing the annual conference of the CAG.

“He has to scrutinise the decision making process thoroughly… necessarily eliminate the possibility of any form of nepotism.”

The Minister also said that an auditor must be able to distinguish between a wrong decision and a corrupt one — a stand the UPA government had taken at the time the CAG reports on 2G telecom spectrum allocation alleged its decision had caused notional losses of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Referring to 2G spectrum and coal block allocations, Mr. Jaitley said the country had paid a very heavy price as the Supreme Court had cancelled those contracts.

“Both in the spectrum and coal cases, we have learnt that natural resources and their allotment are not the prerogative of the State to choose methodology... valuable resources cannot be allocated without value being realised,” he said.

The Modi government has announced it will conduct e-auctions for allocating the cancelled coal mines afresh.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:31:02 AM |

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