Govt should support enterprises, not entrepreneurs: CAG

CAG Vinod Rai

CAG Vinod Rai rebutted criticism that the official auditor was exceeding its mandate, saying it was treading a "new path in the belief that the final stakeholder is the public at large".

In a lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School, he referred to the CAG exceeding its mandate to say that since the Indian democracy is maturing and the urban middle class is becoming more involved in affairs of citizens, "we continue to tread the new path in the belief that the final stakeholder is the public at large".

Rai, whose reports on various scams had raised hackles of those in government, said the CAG 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.

Rai, who was been criticised by the Indian government for reports on various scams like in telecom, coal etc, said 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."

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 practices that we observe during audit".

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