CAG will uncover instances of crony capitalism: Vinod Rai



Cambridge: Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, whose reports on various scams had raised hackles of those in government on Thursday said the public auditor would endeavour to uncover instances of crony capitalism and counselled the government to support enterprises per se and not entrepreneurs.

"We may not be able to wipe out corruption, but our endeavour is to uncover instances of crony capitalism. Government should be seen to support enterprise per se and not particular entrepreneurs," he said in a lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School here.

Rai, who was been criticised by the Indian government for reports on various scams like in telecom, coal etc, said adding the role of a public auditor cannot be confined to merely placing its report in Parliament.

He said: "Should we as public auditors limit our role to placing reports in Parliament or go beyond that and seek to sensitise public opinion on our audit observations especially so in social sector audits such as rural health, primary education, water pollution, environment, drinking water etc."

On the issue of the CAG exceeding its mandate, Rai observed that since the Indian democracy is maturing and the urban middle class is becoming more involved in citizen's affairs, "we continue to tread the new path in the belief that the final stakeholder is the public at large."

Maintaining that the auditing of government and public entities has a positive impact on trust in society, Rai said, "It focuses the minds of the custodians of the public purse to use resources effectively, as they know that after audit scrutiny, the public will be aware of their actions."

CAG's role, Rai said has evolved as from "being a bunch of fault finders who are often wiser by hindsight, we now recognise and report good practises that we observe during audit".

The public auditor, he said, was as much engaged in the business of upgrading public governance as any other agency in the administration.

"We do not subscribe to the We-They concept and hold ourselves to be on the same side of the table as the executive. Out audits have undergone a cultural change. We now engage in positive reporting", Rai said.

Observing that it was imperative for public auditor to appear objective and trustworthy, he said, "We can only deserve trust if we are judged as credible, competent and independent and can be held accountable for our operations".

PTI