CAG gets limited access to Army canteens’ accounts
New Delhi: After a long stand-off over the issue, the armed forces have agreed to provide "limited access" to CAG to look into the accounts of the Unit Run Canteens (URCs) having an annual turnover of over Rs 8,500 crore.
The three Services had been "denying access" to CAG to the accounts of their over 3,600 URCs selling consumer goods to defence personnel at concessional rates claiming they were being run on non-public funds.
The three Services have agreed to "limited access" to CAG to examine the accounts of URCs which are run using money from the Consolidated Fund of India, Defence Ministry sources said here.
However, they said it was not immediately clear which part of URCs funds would be provided for audit to the CAG.
CAG has been seeking to audit the accounts of URCs on the grounds that Canteen Stores Department transfers money from the Consolidated Fund of India in the form of qualitative discounts.
The armed forces had also come in for heavy criticism by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for denying access to CAG despite the directions of the Defence Ministry to them to do so.
On the argument of the armed forces that audit of URCs will have an impact on the morale of troops, the PAC said "we fail to understand how auditing of URCs would be so intrusive as to have an adverse impact on the morale of troops.
PAC chief Murali Manohar Joshi had said the three Services had expressed reservations about the audit of URC accounts but have now agreed to it.