Auditor General

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Date Submitted: 08/30/2011 08:27 AM

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(‘The law more readily tolerates a private loss than a public evil’)

‘COMPTROLLER’ is “one who observes and examines the accounts of collectors of public money” and ‘AUDITOR’ is “one who examines accounts and evidences of expenditure”.

The COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA (CAG) of India is one single authority on whom vests the combined responsibility to safeguard public money through observation and examination of the accounting system and a strict vigil over government receipts and expenditure as the auditor. As we all have heard and experienced several times that “finance is the lifeblood of any organization”, similarly its checking i.e a strict watch over where the money goes and for what it is spent is equally important. This is the very role that the CAG plays with respect to the receipts and expenditure of the government.

Public audit is an important link in enforcing the accountability of the executive. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, had observed, “CAG should have the power to call to account any officer however highly placed, so far as the state money is concerned and it is essential that every rupee that we spend for is properly accounted for”.[1]speaking in the same vein , the then president , R.Venkataraman said, “audit is the watchdog of the nation against executive extravaganza and inefficiency”.[2]

Kautilya in his famous treatise, Arthashastra, written 2500 years ago during Mauryan era, underlined the importance of audit in controlling national finances. Without audit there would be no accountability, without accountability control cannot be established and if there is no control where is the seat of power.

Hence we can fairly well decipher that the CAG plays a very important role in the functioning of the nation, but before delving further as to how it can help in good governance we need to understand what the CAG can or cannot do.


The constitution of India assigns...