Audit Diwas: Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue at CAG office

He said while institutions lose relevance after a few decades, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is a heritage and every generation should cherish it

FP Staff November 16, 2021 14:07:09 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in New Delhi on Tuesday to mark the first Audit Diwas. He then addressed the Audit Diwas event of the CAG.

Speaking on the occasion he said, 'data is information and it will dictate history in the future' as he exhorted for strong and scientific audits to make systems strong and transparent. He said that in the past information was transmitted in form of stories. "History was written through stories. But in the 21st century, data is information and in coming times, our history will be looked through and understood using data. In the future, data will be dictating the history," he said.

He said that while institutions lose relevance after a few decades, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is a heritage and every generation should cherish it.

Pointing out the lapses during previous regimes, Modi said the audit was earlier viewed with scepticism while it is now being considered as an important part of value addition.  "There was a time when auditing was seen with scepticism and fear. CAG versus government became the common mindset of our system. Sometimes officials used to think that CAG sees faults in everything. But today mindset has been changed. Today audit is considered an important part of value addition," he said.

"Earlier, due to the lack of transparency in the banking sector, various practices used to take place. As a result, the NPAs (Non-Performing Asset) of the banks kept increasing. You know very well the work done to brush the NPAs under the carpet earlier. But we presented the reality of the previous governments, the actual situation, honestly before the nation. We will be able to find out a solution only if we identify the problems," he stated.

He went on to list reforms such as contactless customs, automatic renewals, faceless assessments and online applications for service delivery, that have ended unnecessary government interventions. "When transparency is brought in the system, results are visible," he said adding India is the world's third-largest ecosystem for startups and already has 50 unicorns.

He said documents, data and files sought by the national auditor, CAG should be provided by government departments. Strong, scientific audits will make the system strong and transparent, he said adding his government has taken CAG's concerns on fiscal deficit and state expenditure in the right spirit.

Appreciating CAG's new practice of sharing preliminary findings with government departments before the beginning field audits, he said the combination of the two will give better results.

PTI report said Audit Diwas was being celebrated to mark the historic origin of the institution of CAG and the contribution it had made to the governance, transparency and accountability over the past several years. The institution was founded in 1858.

Earlier, CAG GC Murmu said the particular day was chosen as the first Audit Diwas due to its historical significance. “Under the Government of India Act 1858, after the merging of audit departments of Bengal, Madras & Bombay presidencies, on November 16, 1860, the first Auditor-General took charge,” Murmu said.

With input from agencies

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