Does CAG Vinod Rai intend to become PM, asks Digvijay Singh

Digvijay Singh
Taking potshots at Vinod Rai over his comment that placing reports in Parliament can't be the Comptroller and Auditor General's only role, Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Friday asked whether the former intended to become the country's prime minister, if not an accountant.

Singh said the CAG's working is defined in the Constitution and everyone should do his or her work according to those definitions.

"If the judiciary will do the executive's work, the CAG will formulate policies and the civil society will formulate laws, then how will democracy run? What does the CAG want to become if not an accountant? Does he intend to become the Prime Minister?" he added.

Rai, whose reports on losses from 2G spectrum and coal block allocations sparked allegations of massive corruption in the government, in his lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts yesterday said that the role of a public auditor cannot be confined to merely placing reports in Parliament.

"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 in the social sector such as rural health, primary education, water pollution, environment, drinking water etc?" he said.

It may be recalled here that the Congress-led UPA II Government has debunked the CAG's reports and accused it of exceeding its mandate.

In the CAG's defence, Rai said that Indian democracy is maturing and the urban middle class is getting 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. The CAG''s audits ensure judicious use of public money," Rai said.

"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 added.

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 an audit scrutiny, the public will be aware of their actions."

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