The C&AG is the authority which discharges the function of Government Audit in India. Let us look deep into what is C&AG and its powers.
In order to understand about C&AG, we need to know what is Government Audit. Government auditing is the objective, systematic, professional and independent examination of financial, administrative and other operations of a public entity, in order to express an appropriate professional opinion regarding to the fairness of the presentation of Financial Statements. Government audit serves as a mechanism or process for public accounting of government funds. It also provides public accounting of the operational. management, programme and policy aspects of public administration as well as accountability of the officials administering them.
ROLE AND APPOINTMENT OF C&AG -
The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), in the discharge of his functions, watches that the various authorities act in regard to financial matters in accordance with the Constitution and the laws made by the parliament, and conform to the rules or orders made thereunder. The constitution guarantees the independence of the C&AG of India by prescribing that he shall be appointed by the President of India and shall not be removed from office except on the ground of proven misbehavior or incapacity. As in the case of a Judge of the Supreme Court, he can be removed only when each House of Parliament decides to do so by a majority of not less than 2/3rd of the members of the House present and voting. The Parliament is competent to make laws to determine salary and other conditions of service and they cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. The Constitution further provides that the conditions of service of person serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the administrative powers of the C&AG shall be determined by the President after consultation with him.
POWERS OF C&AG -
The C&AG Act gives the following powers to the C&AG in connection with the performance of his duties.
(a) To inspect any office of accounts under the control of the Union or a State Government including office responsible for the creation of the initial or subsidiary accounts.
(b) To require that any accounts, books, papers and other documents which deal with or are otherwise relevant to the transactions under audit, be sent to specified places.
(c) To put such questions or make such observations as he may consider necessary to the person in charge of the office and to call for such information as he may require for the preparation of any account or report which is his duty to prepare.
In carrying out the audit, the C&AG has the power to dispense with any part of detailed audit of any accounts or class of transactions and to apply such limited checks in relation to such accounts or transactions as he may determine.
DUTIES OF C&AG -
(1) Compile and submit Accounts of Union and States - The Comptroller and Auditor General shall be responsible for compiling the accounts of the Union and of each State from the initial and subsidiary accounts rendered to the audit and accounts offices under his control by treasuries, offices or departments responsible for the keeping of such account.
(2) General Provisions Relating to Audit - It shall be the duty of the Comptroller and Auditor General:
(a) to audit and report on all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of each State and of each Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly and to ascertain whether the moneys shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for and applicable to the service or purpose to which they have been applied or charged and whether the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it.
(b) to audit and report all transactions of the Union and of the States relating to Contingency Funds and Public Accounts;
(c) to audit and report on all trading, manufacturing and profit and loss accounts and balance-sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept in any department of the Union or of a State.
(3) Audit of Receipts and Expenditure - Where anybody or authority is substantially financed by grants or loans from the Consolidated Fund of India or of any State or of any Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly, the Comptroller and Auditor General shall, subject to the provisions of any law for the time being in force applicable to the body or authority, as the case may be, audit all receipts and expenditure of that body or authority and to report on the receipts and expenditure audited by him.
(4) Audit of Grants or Loans - Where any grant or loan is given for any specific purpose from the Consolidated Fund of India or of any State or of any Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly to any authority or body, not being a foreign State or international organization, the Comptroller and Auditor General shall scrutinize the procedures by which the sanctioning authority satisfies itself as to the fulfillment of the conditions subject to which such grants or loans were given and shall for this purpose have right of access, after giving reasonable previous notice, to the books and accounts of that authority or body.
(5) Audit of Receipts of Union or States - It shall be the duty of the Comptroller and Auditor General to audit all receipts which are payable into the Consolidated Fund of India and of each State and of each Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly and to satisfy himself that the rules and procedures in that behalf are designed to secure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of revenue and are being duly observed and to make for this purpose such examination of the accounts as he thinks fit and report thereon.
(6) Audit of Accounts of Stores and Inventory - The Comptroller and Auditor General shall have authority to audit and report on the accounts of stores and inventory kept in any office or department of the Union or of a State.
(7) Audit of Government Companies and Corporations - The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India shall appoint the auditor and direct such auditor the manner in which the accounts of the Government company are required to be audited and thereupon the auditor so appointed shall submit a copy of the audit report to the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India which, among other things, include the directions, if any, issued by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, the action taken thereon and its impact on the accounts and financial statement of the company.
Thus it is evident that the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is the apex body empowered to Audit all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the State Governments, including those of autonomous bodies and corporations substantially financed by the Government. Also it acts as the statutory auditor of all government-owned corporations.