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Annual CAG Reports
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) keeps track of government spending and scrutinize all expenditures. A sound internal financial reporting with relevant and reliable information significantly contributes to efficient and effective governance by state governments. If private or public limited companies are expected to follow diligent book keeping procedures then much more is expected from the government which is the custodian of public funds. Hence governments are expected to comply with financial rules, procedures and directives and to report on the spending incurred with supporting documents. Any deviance from such established accounting rules and procedures would result in corruption and/or favouritism where rules are bent to favour one or the other recipient of funds instead of looking at the merit of the organization/individual who has applied for such funds.
In the latest CAG report the Arts and Culture Department has drawn much flak due to its inability to strictly adhere to laid down procedures and for allowing those who have been beneficiaries of grants from the Department to get away without submitting Utilisation Certificates (UCs). Funds were sought by various organizations for sundry activities. It is the duty of the Department to keep track and ensure that the funds were utilised for the purpose meant. No matter how high profile the recipient of funds are procedures cannot be dispensed with.
But the Art and Culture Department is not the only defaulter. Out of 6,764 Utilisation Certificates (UCs) involving Rs 95.76 crore pending as on March 31, 2015, three UCs pertaining to the North Eastern Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) amounting to Rs 37.51 crore were pending for over three years. This would mean that NERCORMP has not kept its books in order or is unable to reconcile the spending with the vouchers available, which in turn could mean misappropriation of funds by the Institution. It was the CAG that detected the 1.76 lakh crore 3-G scam and later the Coalgate scam during the UPA government’s tenure. It is important therefore for the government and its functionaries to take the CAG reports seriously.