CAG will uncover instances of crony capitalism, says Rai

Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, whose reports on various scams had raised hackles of those in government, said on Thursday 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. The government should be seen to support enterprise per se and not particular entrepreneurs," he said in a lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Rai, who was been criticised by the Indian government for reports on various scams, such as in telecom, coal etc., said the role of a public auditor cannot be confined to merely placing a 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 citizens' 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, he added: "It focuses the minds of the custodians of the public purse to use resources effectively, as they know that after an audit scrutiny, the public will be aware of their actions."

The CAG's role, Rai said, has evolved ó 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".

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